Saturday, December 11, 2010
Stars-Hurricanes thoughts & observations
By Mark Stepneski
Some thoughts and observations after the Dallas Stars beat the Carolina Hurricanes 2-1 in a shootout at American Airlines Center.
- After a tough shootout loss in Columbus on Monday and then the 5-3 loss in Chicago on Wednesday, the Stars bounced back nicely in this one. They got off a good start and played a good first period. Carolina, which hadn’t played in almost a week, appeared to shake off the rust and got going in the second period and overall it was a tight game. Both goalies were very good, made great saves in the overtime and it came down to the skills competition.
- Quote from Stars coach Marc Crawford: “We stuck with it. We got some great penalty kills in the third period and those were pivotal. In the shootout, Andrew Raycroft was just outstanding and what can you say about Brad Richards? He just finds a way to score. It’s such an important element in today’s National Hockey League, that you've got the shootout.”
- They are 3-2 in shootouts and 2-0 in overtime. That’s 5-2 in games that have gone beyond regulation. Those are critical points when everything gets added up at the end of the season.
- Andrew Raycroft had an excellent game. The save on Joe Corvo with 42.4 left in overtime was spectacular. A game-saver or a point saver in the NHL. When I saw the puck on Corvo’s stick I thought that was it. Great save.
- Productive night for Richards. It always seems to be. He had the primary assist on James Neal’s goal in the first period and then scored the lone goal of the shootout.
- Neal’s been on a roll lately. He has points in six straight games, registering four goals and four assists during the streak.
- On the other side of the puck, the penalty kill was superb. It went 5-5 and is now 27-30 over the last ten games. According to the official stats, the Hurricanes got one shot on those five power plays. Of course, Carolina’s power play hasn’t exactly been lighting it up lately. It’s now 0-18 over the last five games.
- The Stars power play didn’t have a great night either, going 0-4. It had some pretty good chances on the first opportunity but wasn’t quite as effective after that. Give Carolina some credit. It’s PK has been trending up lately.
- A very nice moment when the Jere Lehtinen tribute was run in the building and then Lehtinen received a standing ovation as he was shown watching the game on the scoreboard. Lehtinen was obviously touched by the ovation. It was nice to see.