Dallas Stars: Marian Hossa
DALLAS -- As far as starts to a game go, Friday was not good for the Dallas Stars. The Stars surrendered two early goals, including one just 10 seconds into the game, in a 4-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks at American Airlines Center.
“You don’t want to start a game like that,” said Stars forward Jamie Benn. “We put ourselves in a hole and you never want to do that against a good team like Chicago.”
Blackhawks center Dave Bolland beat Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen with a shot from the slot ten seconds into the game, ending Lehtonen’s shutout streak at 128:42, and giving Chicago a 1-0 lead.
Just 1:32 later the Blackhawks made it 2-0 when Patrick Sharp beat Lehtonen with a shot from the left faceoff circle.
“It wasn’t our best game, but for 56 minutes we were OK playing against a good hockey club,” said Stars coach Glen Gulutzan. “Two minutes in the first and two minutes in the third put us to bed.”
The Blackhawks put the game away with two goals in the first 1:45 of the third period. Marian Hossa scored 33 seconds into the period and then Sharp notched his second goal of the night 1:12 later.
“What we talked about was having a better start to the game,” said Sharp. “To score two quick ones in the first like that, it seems like we started every period pretty quick. You’re not always going to score like we did but as long as you do the right things, the game turns out in your favor.”
Lehtonen, who came into the game with consecutive shutouts under his belt, gave up four goals on 31 shots.
“Not his best game, but he didn’t have a chance on a couple of those either,” said Gulutzan. “That’s the way it goes. He’ll be back.”
Said Chicago’s Bolland: “He’s a great goalie. He uses his angles pretty well, but I think once we got to him pretty quick, we started to break out. We kept getting more shots and were getting some bodies in front of him. Goalies get rattled when that happens.”
The loss was the second straight for the Stars following a six-game winning streak and an 11-game points streak.
“I think we’ve shied away from our game a bit,” said Benn, who scored Dallas’ lone goal of the game with 5:50 remaining. “We need to get pucks deep, we need to play a simple game and win the blue lines. We can’t shootout ourselves in the foot with bad starts.”
The Stars don’t play again until Tuesday, when take on Phoenix, a team they currently lead by two points in the race for first place in the Pacific Division.
“Rest up, and refocus,” Benn said of the Stars break between games. “We have a big one Tuesday. It’s going to be huge for our team.”
*Until Dave Bolland’s goal ten seconds into the game Friday night, the fastest goal allowed by the Stars to begin a game was 11 seconds. That was scored by Rick Martin of Buffalo on October 14, 1979.
*The Stars have scored six goals over their last four games.
*The Stars did not have a power play for the second straight game and for the fourth time this season.
*The Stars were 4-4 on the penalty kill and are now 40-42 (95.2%) on the PK over the last 13 games.
*Jamie Benn’s goal was his 22nd of the season, tying his career-high.
*Friday’s attendance was 19,099, an overflow sellout and the highest announced attendance ever for a Stars game in Dallas.
The Dallas Stars opened a key four-game homestand with a 4-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks at American Airlines Center on Friday night. The Blackhawks scored 10 seconds into the game and never looked back, scoring another goal 1:42 into the game to build an early 2-0 lead.
Jamie Benn scored the lone goal for Dallas, which lost its second straight game and saw a four-game winnings streak at home come to an end.
Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen allowed four goals on 31 shots.
The Stars did not have a power play for the second straight game.
Patrick Sharp scored two goals for Blackhawks, who pulled three points ahead of the Stars.
The Blackhawks struck just 10 seconds into the game as Dave Bolland beat Kari Lehtonen with a shot from the slot.
The Blackhawks made it a 2-0 game at the 1:42 mark when Patrick Shark ripped a shot by Lehtonen from the left circle.
The Blackhawks had the first power play of the game, but failed to cash in on it. They got a four minute power play after Michael Ryder was given a double minor for high sticking Marian Hossa, but that one lasted only 90 seconds after Chicago defenseman Duncan Keith was called for interference.
Chicago had a 12-5 shots advantage through the first period.
The Stars outshot the Blackhawks 11-6 in the second period and had some good offensive pressure at times, but couldn’t get a puck past Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford, who had some nice saves, including a couple of saves on close range bids by Loui Eriksson with just under four minutes left in the period.
Chicago blew the game open with two goals in the first 1:45 of the third period. The Blackhawks made it a 3-0 game when Marian Hossa’s shot from the right point deflected off the stick of Stars defenseman Adam Pardy and past Lehtonen 33 seconds into the period.
Just 1:12 later the Stars coughed up the puck and Sharp scored his second of the night, putting home a shot from the slot to put the Blackhawks up 4-0.
The Stars got on the board with 5:50 remaining when Jamie Benn slipped a puck past Crawford to make it a 4-1 game.
Injured: Souray (charley horse), Dvorak (ankle)
Scratched: Petersen, Garbutt, Jordie Benn
It’s funny how a couple of wins can change things. After going 2-0-0 on their road trip, the Dallas Stars find themselves holding down the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference standings. They pushed themselves into that position with a brilliant third period effort Thursday night, scoring three goals to rally past the Chicago Blackhawks, 3-1 at the United Center.
“It was two real big points,” said Stars forward Loui Eriksson. “We’ve got to keep building here.”
The Stars are now tied with Los Angeles and Calgary at 66 points but they own the first tiebreaker, which is regulation/overtime wins and that is what has them in eighth place.
The Stars got a big performance Thursday from goaltender Richard Bachman, who was making his first start in three weeks. He stopped 26 shots, including some huge ones in the second period when Chicago dominated play.
“It was nice to get back in there and see some action,” Bachman said. “I felt pretty calm there for a crazy environment. It was a great game and felt solid.”
The Stars trailed 1-0 going into the third period in Chicago, but dominated the third period. The Stars, who had just 10 shots entering the third period, outshot the Blackhawks 15-5 over the final 20 minutes and got goals from Steve Ott, Eriksson and Michael Ryder to secure the victory.
“Our leadership group took a stand between the second and third, and we got going,” said Stars coach Glen Gulutzan.
Gulutzan juggled lines in the third period, putting Ott on a line with Ryan Garbutt and Adam Burish and that trio paid dividends. After the Blackhawks won a draw in their own zone, the Stars kept them pinned in and Ott deflected a Trevor Daley shot past Chicago goalie Corey Crawford to tie the game with 10:35 left in regulation.
The Stars took the lead with 5:02 left when Mike Ribeiro put a shot on net from near the right point and Ryder tipped it into the net forward what would turn out to be the game-winner.
“We know that we didn’t have many shots generated going into the third. We were still in the game, we just had to make sure that we got more pucks to the net and stepped our game up,” said Ryder. “We knew we had to play a hard 20 and we did that. We threw pucks at the net and got some traffic.”
Just 1:14 after he scored to give the Stars the lead, Ryder put a shot on net from the right circle that hit traffic, went up in the air and Eriksson put it into the net.
The Blackhawks dominated the second period, outshooting the Stars 16-5 but getting only one puck past Bachman. After Michael Frolik came out from behind the goal line and tried to put a puck on net, Marian Hossa scored during the ensuing scramble.
Hossa came close to making a 2-0 score in the final seconds of the second period, but Bachman got a piece of his shot from the slot and the puck hit the outside of the post. Earlier in the period, Bachman made a diving save on Jimmy Hayes when the game was still scoreless.
The Stars return home Friday to take on the Minnesota Wild. The Stars will be looking for their first three-game winning streak since the middle of December, and possibly the beginning of that run that has been eluding them.
“We’re all looking for that run at this time of the year, but the reality is it is very tough,” said Gulutzan. “But picking up two points whenever you can get them, especially in a tough building like this, is good. Now we’ve got to win at home.”
*The Stars did not have a power play in a game for the second time this season. The Stars have had just two power plays over the last three games.
*Stars center Jamie Benn (leg) missed his fourth straight game. He is doubtful for Friday.
*Stars forward Jake Dowell (broken finger) and left wing Brenden Morrow (neck/shoulder) were both out as well.
*D Adam Pardy and LW Matt Fraser were healthy scratches for Dallas.
*Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews missed his second straight game with an upper body injury. Toews was involved in a minor car accident Thursday, but was not injured.
*The Stars are now 6-4-2 in the first game of back-to-backs this season. They are 0-9-2 in second games.
Steve Ott, Michael Ryder and Loui Eriksson scored for the Stars. Richard Bachman was superb in net for the Stars, stopping 26 of 27 shots to improve to 7-3-1 on the season. Chicago had a four-game winning streak come to an end.
The Blackhawks outshot the Stars 6-5 in the period and both goaltenders had sharp saves.
Stars goalie Richard Bachman stopped a point blank bid by Jimmy Hayes with Chicago on the power play early in the period and then stopped defenseman Nick Leddy’s bid from the left circle late in the period.
Chicago’s Corey Crawford stopped a shorthanded bid by Adam Burish and a good look by Tomas Vincour from the slot.
The Blackhawks had the only power play of the period.
The Blackhawks outshot the Stars 16-5 in the second period and scored the only goal of the period to take a 1-0 lead into the second intermission.
The goal came at the 9:32 mark. Michael Frolik came out from behind the goal line, tried to put a puck on net and Marian Hossa scored in the ensuing scramble.
Hossa came close to scoring in the final seconds of the period, but Bachman got a piece of his shot from the slot and it hit the outside of the post.
There were no power plays in the second period. The Blackhawks had a 22-10 shots advantage through the first 40 minutes.
The Stars brought a strong push in the third period and scored three goals to surge past the Blackhawks.
Glen Gulutzan juggled his lines, moving Steve Ott to a line with Ryan Garbutt and Burish and the trio paid dividends. Ott tipped a Trevor Daley shot past Crawford at the 9:28 mark to tie the game at 1-1.
A little more than five minutes later, the Stars took a 2-1 lead when Mike Ribeiro put a shot on net from near the right point and Michael Ryder tipped it into the net at the 14:58 mark.
Just 1:14 later the Stars struck again when Ryder put a shot on net that deflected off traffic, up into the air and Loui Eriksson knocked it into the net.
The Stars had a 15-5 shots advantage in the third period.
Injured: Benn (leg), Morrow (neck/shoulder), Dowell (finger)
Scratched: Pardy, Fraser
The Blackhawks topped Detroit 3-2 in overtime at Joe Louis Arena. Marian Hossa scored on the power play in the extra period for the Blackhawks. Chicago, which is in eighth place, is four points ahead of the Stars, who have one game in hand.
The Ducks overcame an early 2-0 deficit and beat Colorado 5-4 at Honda Center. Teemu Selanne had three goals and two assists for the Ducks. Anaheim holds onto the seventh place spot and is five points ahead of Dallas, which has played two fewer games.
That just sets the stage for the Stars’ next biggest game of the season. They need two points in Phoenix to keep pace in the race and keep the deficit manageable.
The Coyotes should be a desperate team as well. They are battling to hold off the Kings, Predators and others for that fourth place spot and home ice in the first round.
Chicago is playing again Tuesday, taking on the Bruins in Boston.
Nashville is hosting Vancouver and Los Angeles is Edmonton.
Special teams. It was pretty easy to pinpoint where this game was won. The Stars were 3-3 on the power play and 4-4 on the penalty kill. Put up those numbers in a game and you’ll usually win the game. The Stars got pucks and people to the net on the power play. They got some good bounces, but they did the work to create those bounces. The Stars were shorthanded four times and Chicago got a total of six shots on goal. It was some good work on the PK.
Goaltending. It was another strong showing from Kari Lehtonen, who stopped 35 of 37 shots. He’d probably love to have that Fernando Pisani goal back that made it a 2-1 game, but he had a lot of big stops in this one. The save on Marian Hossa early in the first period was huge. He had a couple of nice saves on Jonathan Toews when Chicago was trying to climb back into the game. Great stop late in the game on Patrick Kane with Chicago on the power play in the final two minutes and the Stars protecting a one-goal lead. Of course, he also got some help from both posts and the crossbar on that Viktor Stalberg penalty shot.
A bounce here, a bounce there. Sometimes the bounces go your way and sometimes they don’t. On this night the big bounces went the Stars’ way. Just 1:10 after Chicago had tied the game in the second period, Blackhawks forward Viktor Stalberg was awarded a penalty shot. He got off a great shot but it hit the right post, the crossbar and then the left post before bouncing out. Mike Ribeiro’s game-winning goal was attempted pass to Brenden Morrow that bounced off Chicago defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson and by Chicago goalie Corey Crawford.
Ott’s goal. Steve Ott’s empty net shorthanded goal that made it a 4-2 game had an interesting twist to it. Ott should have never been on the ice. He should have been in the penalty box because it was his high stick that caught Jordan Hendry with 2:02 left in the game that gave Chicago the power play. But the ref nailed Jamie Benn with the infraction and he ended up sitting in the penalty box instead, leaving Ott available for the penalty kill and the shot at the empty net.
A calamity of errors. That’s what Stars coach Marc Crawford called the situation that led the Stars to playing with just four defensemen in the third period. Karlis Skrastins and Matt Niskanen collided in the third period warm ups, leaving both players out for the rest of the game. Niskanen has a broken nose, chipped teeth and a cut on his hand. Skrastins was dazed after the collision. They’ll get evaluated on Thursday and we’ll see where things stand heading into Friday’s game against the Rangers.
What a difference a year makes. So, the Stars hit the midway point with a 24-13-4 record for 52 points. They are first in the Pacific Division with a five point lead over second place San Jose. And they are third in the Western Conference, five points behind first place Vancouver. At this point last season they were 18-12-11 for 47 points. They were fourth in the division, 14 points behind first place San Jose. They were 10th in the conference, four points out of the final playoff spot and 14 points out of the conference lead, which was held by San Jose at the time.
Mike Ribeiro scored two power-play goals, including the game-winner with 9:46 remaining. The Stars were 3-3 on the power play in the game and were 4-4 on the penalty kill against the top ranked Chicago power play.
Brenden Morrow also scored on the power play, and Steve Ott scored an empty net shorthanded goal to seal the win. Brad Richards and Loui Eriksson each had two assists. Kari Lehtonen made 35 saves for the Stars, who hit the halfway point of the season with a 24-13-4 record for 52 points.
Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen came up with a big save early, stopping a wide open Marian Hossa from the bottom of the right faceoff circle just 1:19 into the game.
The Stars struck early in the game, cashing in on their first two power plays -- both drawn by Tom Wandell -- to build their lead.
The Stars went on the first power play at the 2:00 mark and it took them 40 seconds to take advantage. After a Matt Niskanen blast from the point, Loui Eriksson’s rebound attempt bounced off Brenden Morrow and Morrow gathered up the puck and it put past Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford.
The Stars went on power play number two at the 6:34 mark and they scored when Brad Richards’ shot from the point bounced off Mike Ribeiro and into the net at the 7:26 mark.
Lehtonen, who had 12 saves in the period, had another big stop on Jonathan Toews later in the period to keep it a 2-0 game.
Toby Petersen was out for the Stars due to lower body soreness. Mark Fistric was a healthy scratch on defense.
The second period belonged to the Chicago Blackhawks, who outshot the Stars 15-5 and scored twice to tie the game at 2-2.
After the Stars killed off a Chicago power play early in the period and Kari Lehtonen made a big stop on Jonathan Toews, the Blackhawks finally broke through at the 9:35 mark. Fernando Pisani scored off the rush, firing a shot from the high slot that bounced off Lehtonen’s glove and into the net.
Chicago tied the game just 2:08 later when Tomas Kopecky took a pass from Patrick Kane, put a shot on net and then scored off his own rebound.
The Blackhawks had a chance to take the lead when Viktor Stalberg was awarded a penalty shot 1:10 after the Kopecky goal, but Stalberg’s backhand shot rang off all three posts.
The Stars killed off two Chicago power plays in the third period before going on their third of the game and scoring for the third time to take a 3-2 lead.
Mike Ribeiro’s attempted centering pass hit Chicago defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson and went past Corey Crawford at the 10:46 mark.
Chicago had some chances late in the game. A Patrick Sharp shot trickled near the goal line, but Kari Lehtonen swatted it away.
The Blackhawks got a power play with 2:02 remaining, pulled Crawford to make it a 6-4 advantage. Lehtonen made a big glove stop on Patrick Kane and then with just over one minute left Steve Ott scored a shorthanded empty net goal to make it a 4-2 game and seal the win.
The Stars played the third period without defensemen Matt Niskanen and Karlis Skrastins, who both left the game after colliding during warmups for the third period.
That's what Stars coach Marc Crawford thinks. He said at the postgame news conference on Tuesday that he has "a feeling" that Marty Turco is going to start putting together some solid games now. That's what he told general manager Joe Nieuwendyk after Tuesday's big 5-4 win.
Turco was a big reason the Stars won the game. He gave up four goals, but he stopped all 11 shots he faced in the third, including a shorthanded attempt from Marian Hossa on a breakaway.
"He played great in the first period and great in the third," said Crawford, referring to the fact that it was just a 3-2 Chicago lead after the first despite the Blackhawks outshooting the Stars, 17-2 in the first 10 minutes. "I've got a feeling he's getting ready to get hot. He's got that look."
I asked Crawford how good his "feelings" usually are when it comes to these things.
"They are usually pretty good, on all things but love," Crawford jokes. "That's pretty much it."
It's funny, but I agree with him. Turco is looking more confident and this is the part of the schedule where they need him. They've got Anaheim and Vancouver coming up before a trip to New Jersey and New York (to play the Rangers). For the Stars to make a playoff push, they have to put together some streaks. Starting now sure wouldn't hurt.