Saturday, February 12, 2011
By Mark Stepneski
Some thoughts and observations after the Dallas Stars rallied for a 4-3 shootout win over the Chicago Blackhawks Friday night at American Airlines Center.
Quite a turnaround. Early on this had all the makings of being a disappointing night, especially when you consider the Stars’ recent slide. They were down 3-0 just under 13 minutes into the game and were really on their heels. But they found a way to turn around, were clearly the better over the last two periods, got it tied up and came up with the extra point in the shootout. Who knows how things play out over the rest of the way, but to date this is the biggest win of the season.
Turning point: Lehtonen’s save on Seabrook: It wouldn’t become evident until much later in the evening, but Kari Lehtonen’s glove save on Brent Seabrook with Chicago on a five-on-three power play late in the first period turned out to be a key turning point in the game. Chicago scores there and it’s 4-0 and the mountain is probably too high for the Stars to climb. But Lehtonen makes the save, it survives a video review and the Stars kill the rest of the five-on-three. That opened the door for the rally. Was it a goal? It was close.
Said Lehtonen : “It was right there, they might have said it was a goal. Instead, it went this way. It was a huge change. I think 4-0 would have been too much for us.”
The PK : The Stars’ penalty kill came up big two other times, once early in the second period when it was still a 3-0 game and Mark Fistric was in the box for a hit that knocked Fernando Pisani out of the game and then in the final four minutes of regulation with the game tied 3-3. The PK ended up having a good night, killing off four of five against a very, very good Chicago power play.
The shootout: I am not a big fan of the shootout, but this one was intriguing since it pitted the Stars against Marty Turco. Interesting choice by Marc Crawford to go with Brenden Morrow as the first shooter, since Morrow isn’t used all that often shootouts and hasn’t been used at all this year. Morrow scores, and then so does Brad Richards and Mike Ribeiro. The Stars get the win, which ended the post All-Star break winless streak.
Moving forward: The Stars need to build on this big win in Sunday’s game with Columbus. They can make this a very successful homestand with a victory, which would give them five out of six points and give them some momentum as they head out to Western Canada for a road trip.