Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Breaking the ice: Four points better than none
By Mark Stepneski
Here are some thoughts and observations after the Dallas Stars defeated the Phoenix Coyotes 3-2 in a shootout Tuesday night.
*These two games against the Coyotes have turned out to be pretty big, especially when you consider the Stars were a minute to less than a minute from getting no points and they ended up with four. 7-2-0 looks a lot better than 5-4-0.
*Tuesday’s game was pretty much what you’d expect. Coming in the last five games between the two teams had been decided by one goal and this one made six. We’re probably going to see a lot of games like this with the Stars. With their goaltending and the way they play team defense, they should do alright in games like these.
*I am not a big fan of shootouts deciding games, but that’s the way they do it and the extra point you get is huge. The Stars were 5-7 in shootouts last season and, well, it hurt them when the points were added up at the end of the season.
*Trevor Daley gets the headlines for the shootout winner, but lets not forget Michael Ryder. His goal in the fifth round kept the Stars alive after Patrick O'Sullivan had scored for Phoenix.
*Another strong effort from Kari Lehtonen, who is now 7-0-0 with a 1.54 goals against average and a .955 save percentage. He’d probably like to have that Raffi Torres goal back, but he was outstanding and he still has not allowed more than two goals in game. He’s 9-11 in the shootout this season as well.
*Glen Gulutzan juggled the lines in the third, moving Adam Burish to a line with Brenden Morrow and Mike Ribeiro, and Michael Ryder played with Vernon Fiddler. It worked since Ribeiro set up Burish for the game-tying goal with 1:01 remaining.
“Things were kind of flowing and time was time was ticking so I thought I would put [Ryder] with Fiddler and [Burish] with those other two and see if we could cause a little chemistry,” said Stars coach Glen Gulutzan. “[Burish] happened to be there and got one in the net, so it was perfect.”
Burish played with Morrow and Ribeiro last season, so that’s a trio that had some familiarity. Burish seems to be coming around and getting up to speed after missing time in camp/preseason due to that groin issue.
*Sheldon Souray scored a nice power play goal, moving along the blue line to get into a shooting position and then beating Mike Smith with a blast from the left point. Can’t say enough about the impact Souray has had at both ends for the Stars so far this season.
*Eric Nystrom is playing well, too. He had a couple of nice chances Tuesday night. His ice time has increased with each game and he played 14:23 in Tuesday’s game.
*The Stars won 36 of 59 (61%) of faceoffs. Steve Ott won 14 of 23 and Burish won 7 of 9.