Dallas Stars: Alex Ovechkin

Stars-Capitals thoughts & observations

December, 3, 2010
Some thoughts and observations after the Dallas Stars ran their winning streak to five games with a 2-1 victory over the Washington Capitals Thursday night.
  • A big win on many levels. It ran the winning streak to five games and gave the Stars a record of 7-1-1 in their last nine games. It pushed the home points to streak to eight games (7-0-1). And, of course, it’s another two points in the standings. And it came against the Washington Capitals.
  • A quote from Stars coach Marc Crawford: “When you knock off the top team in the East, it says a lot about our group. We bent a few times, but I liked our resolve. We had outstanding performances from a lot of people. … We didn’t have any passengers in our group, we knew we were going to need everybody and I think we can be better the next time we play them, too, because that’s a confidence booster for us.”
  • What a game for Andrew Raycroft, who stopped 37 of 38 shots in the game. He was excellent throughout, but he was really big in the first period when the Capitals dictated play and outshot the Stars 14-7. The Stars could have been in a hole early, but Raycroft got them to the second period tied at 0-0.
  • Raycroft’s numbers on the season are impressive: 3-1-0, 1.65 goals against average and .951 save percentage. You can’t ask for much more from your backup than that.
  • The second period was a lot of special teams. The Stars were on the power play four times and that seemed to change the game, taking a lot of the steam out of the Capitals and giving some life to the Stars. They scored on one – thanks to Mike Ribeiro knocking home the rebound of a Brad Richards shot - to get the lead.
  • Big goal of the night goes to Brandon Segal, who scored just 20 seconds after the Capitals had tied the game with a power play goal in the third period. Not sure if it was simply a great shot or caught a little of the defender’s stick. Either way, it was well-timed and big.
  • Adam Burish, Steve Ott and Toby Petersen did a nice job – along with Stephane Robidas and Nicklas Grossman – on Alex Ovechkin in the game. Ovechkin’s goal scoring drought is now at nine games.
  • The call on Ovechkin being in the crease and interfering with Raycroft was a tough one. It was a bang-bang play. It’s easy to sit there and analyze replays, but it’s not a reviewable play and the ref has to make that call based on what he sees in real time. Based on where the ref was and what happened, it’s not hard to see why the call was made. Not sure if it was the right one.

Stars top Capitals, winning streak at five

December, 2, 2010

The Dallas Stars made it five straight wins with a 2-1 win over the league-leading Washington Capitals Thursday night at American Airlines Center. Andrew Raycroft stopped 37 shots for the Stars, who were outshot 38-21 in the game. Mike Ribeiro and Brandon Segal scored the goals. Segal’s goal with 9:22 remaining snapped a 1-1 tie and held up as the game-winner. Washington appeared to tie the game with 7.6 seconds left, but the goal was waved off due to a Capitals player in the crease, interfering with Raycroft. The Stars, who are 7-0-1 in their last eight home games, are now 15-8-1 on the season.

First period

The Caps outshot the Stars 14-7, but Andrew Raycroft was solid in goal for the Stars.

The highlight of the period came just as time expired. Adam Burish caught a little of Alex Ovechkin on an open ice hit, triggering a major scrum in the middle of the ice.

Some notes from the first.
  • There were no power play chances for either team.
  • The Stars won 11 of 19 faceoffs in the period.
  • Brian Sutherby was the lone healthy scratch for the Stars.
Second period

The Stars cashed in on their fourth power play chance of the period to take a 1-0 lead with 6:31 left in the second. Brad Richards put a shot net from the right side and Mike Ribeiro knocked home the rebound.

Andrew Raycroft made10 saves in the period and has stopped 24 of 24 for the game.

Washington had one power play in the period and had some good chances, but Raycroft stopped all four Washington power play shots. His best stop was a glove save on Caps defenseman Mike Green.

Some notes after two periods.
  • The Capitals outshot the Stars 10-8 in the second period and have a 24-15 advantage for the game.
  • The Stars are 1-4 on the power play in the game and the Capitals are 0-1.
  • Washington has won 19 of 35 faceoffs in the game.
Third period

The Capitals tied the game by cashing in on their third power play chance of the game. Mike Green got the puck at the left point, skated across the blue line, down the right wall and sent a cross-ice pass to Mike Knuble, who scored off a one-timer from the right circle at the 10:18 mark.

But the Stars got the lead back just 20 seconds later. After taking a pass from Brenden Morrow, Brandon Segal came down the right wing and beat Caps goalie Michael Neuvirth with a shot from the top of the right circle at the 10:38 mark.

The Capitals appeared to the tie the game with 7.6 seconds left, but the goal was waived off because a Washington player was ruled to be in the crease, interfering with Raycroft.
The Dallas Stars are feeling good about themselves these days, and they should be. They’ve won four straight overall and are 6-1-1 in their last eight games. That has them sitting at the top of the Pacific Division and third in the Western Conference a little more than a quarter way through the season.

Nice time to be on a roll, especially with the top team in the Eastern Conference – the Washington Capitals – coming to town.

“It’s a great challenge and it comes at the right time for us. We’re playing well,” said Stars coach Marc Crawford. “We really want to challenge ourselves to be at the right form and the right style of play that will allow us to win the game. At the end of the day we don’t care how we win, but we’d like to win correctly.”

The Caps are on a roll as well. They won 4-1 at St. Louis Wednesday night to run their winning streak to four games. They lead the league in points (38) and in wins (18). And, of course, there’s the high end offensive talent on their roster. They have three players – Alex Ovechkin, Alexander Semin and Nicklas Backstrom – who are the in the top six in NHL scoring. As a team they are among the top ten in almost every key statistical category.

For the Stars, it’s what some would call a measuring stick game.

“For us, every game is important. Points on any given night are big. Obviously it’s one of the top teams in the league and any time you play a team like that it’s a good measuring stick,” said Stars defenseman Stephane Robidas. “We’ve got to approach it the same way we’ve approached the last four, which is go in there, do the little things and execute what we are supposed to do.”

Stars forward Adam Burish said it's an opportunity to do more than increase their points total by two. It’s a chance to make some points in other ways.

“When you get a chance to play against the best team in the league, whether it’s a Washington, Pittsburgh or Detroit, you get up for it,” said Burish. “It’s almost a statement game. When we were in Carolina, we were on national TV and that was kind of like, ‘Let’s make a statement here.’ You don’t get a lot of chances to play on national TV and you don’t get a lot of chances to play the top teams in the other conference. It’s as much of a statement game as it is a measuring stick.”

While Thursday’s game is against one of the top teams and can be view as a statement game or measuring stick game, it is also a chance for the Stars to continue their current roll. Besides being a team that has won four straight and six of eight, they are also a team that is 6-0-1 in their last seven home games. Burish said the Stars are a team playing with a lot of confidence right now and they need to take advantage of that.

“When you have it you need to run with it as long as you can and right now we have it,” Burish said. “It would be important for us to put as much as many games together as we can. Put the hay in the barn now and get as many points as we can now while we have this high and this confidence. You’re going to lose a game here and there, but keep it running as long you can.”


“A very good rush team. They are so dangerous on the attack and have a really good, active defense. I know they’ve added Scott Hannan, so maybe they are looking at becoming more of a playoff style team, a team that will able to compete in the playoffs. But when we do prepare for them, we prepare for their high energy skill. Their top line is just terrific. I really like their checkers, [David] Steckel, [Jason] Chimera and those kind of guys. They make them more complete. They are at that point in their careers where they are looking to take the steps to make the final push. They are an elite team in the league. They can beat you with skill, but they are forging an identity of being a more well-rounded, more complete team that will play any style.”

Stars coach Marc Crawford on the Washington Capitals

Brad Richards ranked 28th in THN's Top 50

August, 13, 2010
The Hockey News 2010-11 Yearbook has been released, and that means the THN’s list of the top 50 players is out as well.

Brad Richards is the only Dallas player on the list, coming in at No. 28. He wasn’t ranked last year. In fact, no Dallas Star was on last year’s list.

Here’s what THN had to say about Richards, who had 91 points (24 goals, 67 assists) in 80 games last season:
Where ya been, big guy? After a couple of miserable, injury-plagued seasons, Richards re-emerged as one of the NHL’s top setup men and a 90-point scorer. He has a great ability to pass the puck, but he also shoots the well enough to play the point on the power play. The combination makes him dangerous with the extra man.

Richards ranked 11th among players THN listed at center. Ahead of him were Sidney Crosby, Pavel Datsyuk, Jonathan Toews, Henrik Sedin, Evgeni Malkin, Nicklas Backstrom, Steve Stamkos, Anze Kopitar, Mike Richards and Joe Thornton. Seven of those centers were ranked in the top ten players overall.

The top ten players on The Hockey News’ list are:
  1. Sidney Crosby, C, Pittsburgh
  2. Alex Ovechkin, LW, Washington
  3. Ryan Miller, G, Buffalo
  4. Pavel Datsyuk, C, Detroit
  5. Jonathan Toews, C, Chicago
  6. Henrik Sedin, C, Vancouver
  7. Duncan Keith, D, Chicago
  8. Evgeni Malkin, C, Pittsburgh
  9. Nicklas Backstrom, C, Washington
  10. Steven Stamkos, C, Tampa Bay