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Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Postgame thoughts

By Mark Stepneski

Some thoughts after the Dallas Stars beat the Edmonton Oilers 3-2 at American Airlines Center Tuesday night.

Hockey’s a strange game. The Stars snap a five-game winless streak at home, but they played better in those five games they didn’t win. Sometimes that’s the way it goes in hockey.  One team controls a lot of the play, has a wide margin in shots and the other team wins because of some great goaltending and being able to get one more goal in the net than the other guys. That’s what the Stars did. They got some great goaltending from Kari Lehtonen and finished some offensive chances.  Give them credit. They were on their heels early in the third when the Oilers scored two quick goals to tie the game, but they bounced back and made a play to win it.

The Neal goal. I’ll have to be honest, I thought the James Neal hit the post and bounced out when I first saw it live. It was pretty obvious that it was goal when you got to see the overhead camera angle. Still, it was strange to see a shot go in the net like that and then bounce out all the way to center ice.

Line juggling pays off. With the Stars off to a sluggish start in the game, Stars coach Marc Crawford did a little line juggling. He moved Jamie Langenbrunner onto the right side of the line with Brenden Morrow and Mike Ribeiro and moved Jamie Benn to Langenbrunner’s spot on the line with Steve Ott and Adam Burish. It paid off when the Ott-Burish-Benn trio put together a really pretty goal that gave the Stars a 2-0 lead. They almost made it a 3-0 game, but a goal got waved off because it was ruled Burish interfered with the goaltender.

Important points. The home winless streak and ending it was a focus Tuesday, but with the win the Stars ran their overall points streak to five games (4-0-1). That’s nine of a possible ten points and with some of their division foes struggling recently, the Stars have put some distance between themselves and the rest of the Pacific. There’s a lot of hockey to be played, but these are important points in the bank as they say.

Impressive showing by Edmonton’s Ryan Jones. This guy is worth a mention. He had a real strong game. He was really noticeable and was probably the best player in the game. Scored a goal, had six shots and was flying around out there.