Jan 7, 2012; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Stars center Jake Dowell (11) screens Edmonton Oilers goalie Nikolai Khabibulin (35) during their game at the American Airlines Center. The Stars defeated the Oilers 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-US PRESSWIRE

Rapid Reaction: Stars Sail Past Oilers 3-1

What Happened:

There really isn’t much to say about the first period of the tilt between the Dallas Stars and Edmonton Oilers. Frankly, it was a stinker, and it ebbed and flowed with no real consistency. Dallas had a power play opportunity, but failed to find any consistency there as well. The period predictably ended with a 0-0 tie. For a while into the second period, it looked like the Oilers were finding consistency, threatening to strike first, but the Stars turned the table 8:35 into the middle frame.  The REV line crashed the net and Radek Dvorak buried the puck for his 4th goal of the year, giving the Stars a 1-0 lead. The Stars built on the momentum and just over four minutes later the Stars added yet another tally, with Tomas Vincour taking advantage of Edmonton netminder Nikolai Khabibulin’s slip up behind the net with a teammate to put the puck in an empty net, putting the Stars up 2-0. The Stars took the two goal advantage into the final period and kept Edmonton at bay, and Michael Ryder added an empty net goal. Sam Gagner ruined the shutout for Kari Lehtonen with :29 on the clock, but the Stars held on for the 3-1 victory.

What It Means:

Obviously, there’s really no such thing as an easy game in the NHL. But the Stars sure made it look like a real thing tonight. There was the messy first period, and the Oilers hot start to the second, but after the Stars busted out for the two goal second period, it was smooth sailing from there. Sure, it wasn’t a pretty win, but the Stars prevented the Oilers from ever getting their game moving. The Stars played defensively, locked down the game, and had it not been for a bit of laziness at the end, Lehtonen would have coasted to his third shutout of the year. But we can move past all that. The Stars are now 5-0-1 in their last six, and have become one of the NHL’s hottest teams, suddenly threatening to take the Pacific Division. No one wants to get overconfident, but things are looking extremely bright for the Stars. Things shift towards Calgary and with Morrow hopefully ready to return sometime in the next couple weeks, the Stars have their sights set on something much bigger than squeaking in as the 8th seed. It’s going to be an exciting ride.

  • Eric Nystrom tallied his 4th assist of the year on Dvorak’s goal. He has now set a career high in points with 20.
  • Michael Ryder continues to score. He’s got 27 on the year now.
  • The Stars have tied the San Jose Sharks in the standings, and sit two points behind the Phoenix Coyotes for the Pacific Division lead.
  • Sheldon Souray said during pregame that they had to keep the Edmonton power play off the ice. Well, they succeeded, no penalties for the Stars tonight.

What’s Next:

The Stars continue their Western Canada road swing with a stop in Calgary on Sunday evening. This game has been labelled a “must win” for the Flames, who are sitting behind the Stars in the standings. If the Stars can pick up two points, it could be a nail in the coffin of Calgary’s playoff hopes. Those are the kind of games this team needs to win to be a viable playoff team. Either way, it’s sure to be exciting match up, especially after the way their last game ended.

 

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Tags: Dallas Stars Edmonton Oilers Jamie Benn Jordan Eberle Kair Lehtonen Michael Ryder Mike Ribeiro Nikolai Khabibulin Ryan Nugent-Hopkins Taylor Hall

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