Saturday, October 15, 2011
Stars roll out solid effort in 4-2 win over Blue Jackets
By Mark Stepneski
DALLAS -- After leaning heavily on goaltender Kari Lehtonen in their last two victories, the Dallas Stars gave their netminder kind of a break Saturday night. The Stars allowed just 15 shots on goal and put 33 on net in a 4-2 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets at American Airlines Center.
"We relied on our goaltender a lot the last few wins. Tonight we finally outshot a team, outchanced a team,” said Stars captain Brenden Morrow, who had a one goal and one assist. “I think you look up and down the lineup, everybody had quality games. We'll be a tough team to beat when we play like that."
It was a solid performance for the Stars, who won their third straight game and improved to 4-1-0 on the season and are now 4-0-0 at home this season.
“We talked about trying to get as many points as we could early on,” said Stars forward Adam Burish. “Every year you talk about that because teams are still finding themselves and trying to figure out how they want to play. If you can put some hay away early, steal a few early, even though we weren’t playing our best, it feels good. We’re a confident bunch. We like the way we’re going.”
The Stars got a big offensive night from the line of Morrow (1 goal, 1 assist), Mike Ribeiro (3 assists) and Michael Ryder (1 goal, 1 assist). The three had combined for three points in the first four games.
“We do feel like a lot of that (scoring) is up to us,” said Morrow. “We toe the company line about scoring by committee, but in the real world you know who your guys are and a lot of that load is going to fall on our line. It was nice to get a few tonight and stop gripping the sticks so tight.>
The Stars also got goals from Loui Eriksson, who scored a goal for the third straight game, and Sheldon Souray, who now has points in four of five games this season.
Columbus came into the game 0-20 on the power play, but score on its first chance of the game to take a 1-0 lead. Fedor Tyutin’s shot from the left point was redirected into the net at 6:46 of the first period.
The Stars pulled even at the 11:25 mark of the game when Ribeiro sent a pass across the crease to Morrow, who put the puck into the open side of the net.
The Blue Jacket regained the lead 1:13 into the second when R.J. Umberger got the puck after a Stephane Robidas shot went wide of the net and set up Alexandre Giroux, who got a step on the Stars’ defense and beat Lehtonen with a snap shot.
The Stars drew even at the 9:21 of the second on a goal by Eriksson. Steve Ott centered the puck from the corner and it bounced off Eriksson’s stick, a Columbus defender and past Columbus goalie Steve Mason.
Souray put the Stars up 3-2 early in the third, beating Mason with a blast from the left point at the 1:36 mark.
The Stars extended the lead to 4-2 with 6:08 remaining on a power play goal from Ryder, who took a cross-crease pass from Morrow and scored on a one-timer.
“I think today shows our players that we have the ability to play a certain way and if we play that way we're going to put ourselves in position to have success every night,” said Stars coach Glen Gulutzan. “I think that's what we took a little step towards that today."
*Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen took a hard shot up high late in the game, but Stars coach Glen Gulutzan said Lehtonen was fine.
*Stars captain Brenden Morrow missed some shifts in the second period, but returned to the game. It was a combination of an injury concern and a an equipment issue.
“He was a little worried about that old injury with his knee, but it was fine when he tested it,” said Gulutzan. “I think he got a skate done there too, which is why it took so long.”
*Mike Ribeiro picked up his 500th NHL point in the game.
*Jamie Benn picked up his 100th NHL point.
*Saturday’s announced attendance was 8,305.