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Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Thoughts on a 3-2 win over Columbus

By Mark Stepneski

Some thoughts and observations after the Dallas Stars ran their winning streak to four games with a 3-2 victory at Columbus Tuesday night.

*The shots were 40-18, but it didn’t look that bad. At least to me. The first period was what it was. The Blue Jackets were desperate; the Stars weathered the storm and got out of it scoreless. That was a victory of sorts. The last part of the second period was pretty bad, and Kari Lehtonen was really good. The shots were 16-7 I the third, but the Stars were playing with a two-goal lead for most of hit and I didn’t really feel like they were on their heels. Columbus was just shooting a lot of rubber on net.

*Kari Lehtonen was outstanding again. He had 38 saves and was the difference in the game. He’s just playing at a high level right now. I thought this quote from Sheldon Souray was classic: "If Kari was a baseball player he would probably be Nelson Cruz right now.”

*The line of Steve Ott, Jamie Benn and Loui Eriksson had another strong game. They are the team’s best and most consistent line right now. They produced a couple of goals tonight – the first two of the game – and were a combined plus-six.

*The Ott goal looked like a stoppable goal on Steve Mason’s part, but Ott won a defensive zone draw to start off the play and then finished off the rush. The Benn goal was a classic. He skated through four Columbus defenders and then roofed a shot over Mason.

Benn, who doesn’t like to talk about himself, offered this take on the goal: “I kind of got pretty luck. I made two little turns there, the goalie poked and I guess it was just luck.”

There was a little more to it than luck. It was classic Benn.

*Another game where Sheldon Souray is all over the stats sheet. Another big assist. His point shot was tipped in by Michael Ryder to put the Stars up 3-1 just 1:11 after the Blue Jackets made it 2-1. That’s five points (one goal, four assists) in six games for Souray. He was a plus-two and is now a team-best plus-six on the season. He also had two more minor penalties, giving him 19 penalty minutes for the season.

*The penalty kill gave up a goal, but it came up big in the game, especially in the second when it killed off back-to-back chances, including some five-on-three time. It’s a key part of the Stars’ early season success.

*Glen Gulutzan did a little line juggling in the third period with the lower lines, but it was nothing major. He moved some different guys in on the wing with Vernon Fiddler and Adam Burish.

*Overall, another big two points and a good way to start off this stretch of four straight on the road. Big test this weekend with a back-to-back in Anaheim and Los Angeles. Two good teams. Two divisional opponents. Looking forward to see how they stack up in those two games.