A few notes from Friday night’s game, a 7-6 overtime win for the Dallas Stars over the Colorado Avalanche.
Scoring late to tie: This was the third time this season the Stars have scored a late goal to tie a game and then gone on to win in either overtime or the shootout. The other two games they did that were against Phoenix. The Coyote games tied with about one minute to go and with 27 seconds remaining. This time there was 4:10 left. Friday night it was a late enough goal that coach Glen Gulutzan said he was already starting to contemplate when he would pull the goalie for the extra attacker. These late goals in the three games are pretty big when you think about it. It’s the difference between being 9-3-0 and 6-6-0. It just goes to show how fine a line there is between being a team at the top of the conference and a team in the middle of the pack.
Sluggish start: As much as the Stars talked about avoiding a slow start after five days between games, they were sluggish to start Friday’s game. They were outshot 13-3 in the first period and were outscored 2-0. Colorado’s speed had something to do with that.
“I think that up tempo caught us a little bit in the first. We were all talking about that layoff and their up tempo caught us a little bit,” said Gulutzan. “I don’t think we got caught up in it. We made some mistakes, some individual errors. I think they played well and caused us to make some individual errors, but I didn’t mind us structurally. I might change my mind when I watch the video, I just thought that individual errors cost us.”
The power play: The Stars scored multiple times on the power play in a game for the first time this season. They were 3-6 in the game and all the goals came in the second period, when they went 3-4 with the man advantage. Gulutzan said it was pretty simple – pucks and people to the net.
Stars score seven: The seven goals were the season-high for the Stars. Seven players had multi-point games. Four players had three points: Loui Eriksson (2 g, 1 a), Stephane Robidas (1 g, 2 a), Jamie Benn (3a), Michael Ryder (3a). There was a late scoring change which gave the game-tying goal (the one that made it 6-6) to Stephane Robidas instead of Jamie Benn, who said he never touched the puck. The adjusted point totals, which should be updated at some point soon, are at the bottom of this post.
Stars give up six: The six goals against were the most for the Stars this season and the most against for Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen, who has allowed two or fewer in eight of his nine starts. It wasn’t a night for goaltenders, but Gulutzan said Lehtonen is allowed an “average” night every now and then.
“Today is I think the first night that I think Kari’s been average,” Gulutzan said. “Some huge saves and some things I think he’d like to have back. But you look at the great goalies, they all have an off night, but it’s like once every eight games. I’ll take that any day of the week, and I think Kari is trending towards being one of those elite goalies. Yeah, tonight wasn’t his best night, but I’ll take the eight that he’s already saved us this year.”
The no-call involving Burish: There were some questions about the lack of a high sticking penalty when Daniel Winnick’s stick caught Adam Burish in the face late in the first period. The Stars sent out a clarification from the league on the no-call, which was simply the rule on high-sticking (Rule 60) with the relevant portion in bold print. Here’s what was sent out.
A “high stick” is one which is carried above the height of the opponent’s shoulders. Players must be in control and responsible for their stick. However, a player is permitted accidental contact on an opponent if the act is committed as a normal windup or follow through of a shooting motion, or accidental contact on the opposing center who is bent over during the course of a face-off. A wild swing at a bouncing puck would not be considered a normal windup or follow through and any contact to an opponent above the height of the shoulders shall be penalized accordingly.
Since Winnik was following through on a shooting motion when his stick hit Burish, there was no penalty.
Up next: The Stars head out on a four-game road trip. They play at Carolina (Sunday), Washington (Tuesday), Pittsburgh (Friday) and Detroit (Saturday).