Tuesday, November 8, 2011
By Mark Stepneski
Some notes on Tuesday’s game that saw the Dallas Stars defeat the Washington Capitals 5-2.
Measuring stick: There are wins and then there are quality wins. This was a measuring stick game for the Stars, taking on the Capitals at home, where they hadn’t lost in six games this season. Although the game was tied after two, the Stars were probably the better team. They were clearly the better team in the third period, outscoring the Capitals 3-0. “This was against an elite team and I am sure there were a lot of people watching to see how we did against a great team like Washington,” said Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen. “It was nice to get a good victory.”
Turning point: The Adam Burish goal just 24 seconds into the third period was the big moment of the game. It came just as a Dallas power play was expiring and gave the Stars a 3-2 lead. “As much as it gave us a spark, I think it took a little bit out of them, too,” said Stars coach Glen Gulutzan. “You’re just looking for inches out there and we needed that.”
The record: The Stars, who have now won four straight, are 11-3-0. They lead the NHL in wins, points (22) and points percentage (.786). The Stars have tied the franchise mark for most points after the first 14 games of the season. The 2006-07 team was 11-3-0 and the 1971-72 Minnesota North Stars were 10-2-2.
Road warriors: The Stars are 2-0-0 on this current road trip and have outscored their opposition 10-4. They have won five of their last six road games, and have allowed only 10 goals during those six games. Kari Lehtonen is 5-0-0 with a 1.77 goals against average and .949 save percentage on the road this season.
The goals: The Stars have scored 17 goals over their last three games. They now rank third in the NHL in scoring at 3.07 goals per game and are the top scoring team in the Western Conference.
Specials teams: Although Adam Burish’s goal wasn’t technically a power play goal, it was basically a five-on-four goal. The Stars’ next goal, scored by Jamie Benn off the rebound of a shot by – who else – Sheldon Souray was a power play goal. The Stars have now scored on the power play in five of the last six games. The Stars were 3-4 on the penalty kill. They did a good job staying out of penalty trouble. They were only shorthanded twice through the first 40 minutes. Staying out of the box was a key coming into the game.
The scoring streaks: Some of the Stars continue to roll when it comes to producing goals and points, especially the trio of Eriksson, Benn and Ryder.
Jamie Benn had one goal and two assists. His points streak is now six games (three goals, eight assists).
Loui Eriksson picked up an assist to run his points streak to five games (three goals, six assists).
Michael Ryder, who scored two goals, now has a three-game points streak (three goals, four assists).
Eric Nystrom, who scored a goal, now has four goals in the last five games.
The number 11: The Stars lead the league with 11 wins. Kari Lehtonen leads NHL goaltenders with 11 wins. Sheldon Souray and Loui Eriksson are tied for the league lead with plus-11 ratings.
Day off: The Stars are going to take Wednesday off. “We’re going to take tomorrow off and regroup a little bit,” Gulutzan said. “We’re going to do some team-building tomorrow here in Washington and then we’ll fly on Thursday morning to Pittsburgh and get a good skate in and get ready for another really good team.”