Dallas Stars: Tomas Holmstrom
DALLAS -- For the second straight night the Dallas Stars rolled out a strong effort against a top team, but came up just short. This time though they at least picked up a point, falling 3-2 in a shootout to the Detroit Red Wings at American Airlines Center Tuesday night.
“You don’t want to give up points in your own building, but I have to judge everything by work ethic and if you look at these last two nights, we put in the work,” said Stars coach Glen Gulutzan. “Did we get the result? No. Did we put in the effort? Yes, both nights. That’s the positive for our group. When you put in that effort you’ve got to get points and we did tonight.”
The Stars' winless streak hit three games (0-2-1), but they played back-to-back nights against two of the top teams in the league – St. Louis and Detroit – and played well enough to win both.
“It’s a challenge to win against those teams; they have been playing really well. Too bad we didn’t win, but at least we got one point today,” said Stars forward Loui Eriksson. “I thought we played really well again today. It was probably the best back-to-back game we’ve had this season. We just have to keep working.”
The Stars got a solid performance from Richard Bachman, who stopped 30 of 32 shots and made some great stops over the second half of the game.
“I thought he was real good tonight,” said Gulutzan. “He came up huge in the third period, especially on the penalty kill.”
The Stars played a strong first period, outshooting the Red Wings 11-5 and building a 2-1 lead. Tomas Holmstrom gave Detroit the early lead, scoring off a blast from the slot 6:41 into the game.
The Stars bounced back to tie, scoring on their first power play chance of the game. Brenden Morrow tipped in an Alex Goligoski shot from the point at the 10:59 mark.
The Stars took a 2-1 lead with 3:32 left in the period when Sheldon Souray put a shot on net from the left point and Loui Eriksson put the rebound past Red Wings goaltender Ty Conklin.
“Those are the type of goals we need to score right now,” said Eriksson. “We need to get people in front and tonight we scored two of those goals.”
Detroit tied the game 1:43 into the second when Jiri Hudler center the puck from the right circle and it deflected of Goligoski’s skate and into the net.
Bachman came up big in the third period, stopping 11 shots including quality saves on Valtteri Filppula, Niklas Kronwall and Pavel Datsyuk.
“I felt good out there,” Bachman said. “We knew it was going to be a tight third out there, and I wanted to do whatever I could to give the team a chance to win. I would have liked to have seen things go the other, but the guys worked hard out there tonight.”
In the shootout, Hudler scored the only goal, beating Bachman with the Peter Forsberg move. Eriksson, Michael Ryder and Trevor Daley failed to beat Conklin.
The win was the fourth straight for the Red Wings, who became the first NHL team to hit 30 wins this season and took over the top spot in the Western Conference.
“I knew in general the kind of game it was going to be,” said Detroit coach Mike Babcock. “You have to give them a lot of credit, two nights in a row they really checked and battled hard. Gully had them organized and competing. Any time you’re missing your two best centers, that’s what you’ve got to do. They got good saves in the second half of the game out of their goaltender. Both teams played last night and traveling in late, that’s what you get. “
*The Stars are now 0-6-1 in the second game of back-to-backs this season.
*The Stars won 34 of 61 (56%) faceoffs.
*Stars forward Steve Ott won 9 of 12 faceoffs and Jake Dowell won 7 of 10.
*Adam Pardy was the lone healthy scratch for the Stars.
*Tuesday’s attendance was 15,148.
The Red Wings opened the scoring 6:41 into the game. After the Stars had a good scoring chance in the Detroit zone, the Red Wings headed the other way, Stars goaltender Richard Bachman went behind the net to play the puck and was still trying to get back into position as Tomas Holmstrom scored off a blast from the slot.
The Stars drew even at 10:59 by cashing in on their first power play game of the game. Alex Goligoski’s blast from the point was tipped into the net by Brenden Morrow.
The Stars went up 2-1 with 3:32 left in the period when Sheldon Souray’s shot from the left point was knocked into the net by Loui Eriksson.
The Stars outshot the Red Wings 11-5 over the first 20 minutes.
The Red Wings tied the game at 1:43 of the second when Jiri Hudler’s centering pass hit the skate of Stars defenseman Alex Goligoski and went into the net.
The Red Wings outshot the Stars 12-6 in the second and shots were even at 17 apiece through 40 minutes.
Bachman came up with some big stops in their to keep it a 2-2 game. He stopped Valtteri Filppula with the Red Wings on a power play and then denied a Pavel Datsyuk backhand bid following a Dallas turnover. He stopped Niklas Kronwall from close range with just over three minutes left in regulation.
The Red Wings got a power play with 17.3 seconds left in overtime, but the Stars won the faceoff and cleared the puck, leaving Detroit with no time to set anything up.
Hudler scored the lone goal of the shootout. Eriksson, Michael Ryder and Trevor Daley were all stopped by Conklin.
Injured: Benn (appendectomy), Ribeiro (knee), Larsen (concussion)
The Dallas Stars got a boost from two returning players, a stellar performance from goaltender Kari Lehtonen, a solid 60-minute team performance and a much-needed win, topping the Detroit Red Wings 4-1 at Joe Louis Arena on Thursday night.
“It was a big win for us,” said center Mike Ribeiro. “It’s a boost of confidence, especially when you lose a lot lately.”
The victory snapped a five-game losing streak for the Stars and the much-needed two points put them back into the top eight in the tight Western Conference playoff race.
“We know the urgency of each and every game and there’s going to be a lot more like this. It was a real solid effort for us,” said Stars coach Marc Crawford, whose team also snapped a seven-game road losing streak. “We had good spirit in the group. I think the return of [Adam] Burish and [Krys] Barch helped pick up the enthusiasm of our guys. We got [Jamie] Benn back the last game. Any time you add three significant bodies like that back into your lineup it gives your team a boost.”
The Stars got a big boost from Lehtonen, as well. The Stars netminder was outstanding, stopping 38 shots in the game, including 31 over the final two periods as the Red Wings tried to climb back into the game.
“He had to make several saves throughout the game,” said Crawford. “He was sharp throughout. It’s unfortunate he lost the shutout late.”
The Stars got off to a strong start in the game, creating some good chances and then scoring two goals late in the first period to take a 2-0 lead.
Ribeiro opened the scoring when Brenden Morrow put a shot on net, had it deflect off a Detroit stick and go right to Ribeiro, who put the puck into wide open net from point-blank range with 3:18 left in the first period.
“I’ve been looking for those,” said Ribeiro. “They don’t come often.”
The Stars made it 2-0 when Loui Eriksson scored on a shorthanded breakaway with 23 seconds left in the period.
“We got off to a real good start. That was huge and it carried on the whole game," said Stars defenseman Alex Goligoski. "I think they got a little frustrated."
After Detroit had a power play goal waved off for goaltender interference, the Stars extended their lead to 3-0 midway through the second period. Krys Barch scored off a slow developing play where he got the rebound of his own shot off a Detroit player and lofted a shot on net that eluded Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard.
“A goal by Barchy, a slow-motion goal was a big one for us,” said Ribeiro. “I thought he was skating backwards there for a minute. We’ll take those goals.”
Said Barch: “I was a buck-thirty into my shift and my shifts usually run 30 seconds. I was looking for an oxygen tank. Everything just happened subconsciously. I think I always dump the puck at the blue line. It was a lucky bounce, ended up on my stick, got a second opportunity and it found the back of the net.”
After that the Stars and Lehtonen came up big on the penalty kill, stopping a couple of Detroit power plays in the second to keep it a 3-0 game and then shutting down Detroit until Tomas Holmstrom scored on the Red Wings’ sixth power play with 3:31 left in the game.
Jamie Langenbrunner scored into an empty net with 1:43 remaining to make it a 4-1 victory for the Stars, who won for only the second time in February (2-8-1).
“It was such a desperate win for us,” said Crawford. “It puts us back in a playoff position, and we’ve got to keep rolling out performances like this.”
The Stars started the period strong, getting a couple of early chances, and then finished the period by burying two chances to take the lead in the game.
Jamie Benn and Brenden Morrow set up Mike Ribeiro, who put the puck into a wide-open net with 3:18 left in the period.
The Stars made it a 2-0 game when Loui Eriksson scored on a short-handed breakaway with 25 seconds left in the period.
Kari Lehtonen made eight saves in the period, including a nice one on Darren Helm when the game was still scoreless.
Both Adam Burish and Krys Barch returned the lineup after missing eight games with injury.
Brian Sutherby was the lone healthy scratch for Dallas.
The Red Wings went on their third power play of the game early in the second and appeared to score to make it a 2-1 game, but the goal was waved off because Tomas Holmstrom interfered with Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen. The Red Wings had some good chances on the rest of the power play, but Lehtonen made some sharp saves to keep Detroit off the board.
The Stars extended the lead at the 8:54 mark. After a nice play by Jason Williams at the Dallas blue line to start the Stars on the rush, Krys Barch scored off a slow developing play from the slot with Jamie Benn driving the net.
There was a major scrum a short time later after Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard made a save on Mike Ribeiro and Detroit defenseman Ruslan Salei pushed Ribeiro into Howard.
The Stars had to kill two more Detroit power plays, and Lehtonen came up with several more sharp saves.
The Stars goalie made a total of 14 saves in the period and had 22 through the first two periods.
Lehtonen came up with another big save with just more than four minutes to go, stopping Henrik Zetterberg's breakaway bid to keep it a 3-0 game.
The Red Wings ended Lehtonen’s bid for a shutout with 3:31 left in the game by cashing in on their sixth power play of the game. After taking a pass from Pavel Datsyuk, Holmstrom roofed a backhand shot while driving the net to cut Dallas' lead to 3-1.
The Red Wings kept up the pressure, but with Howard out of the Detroit net, Jamie Langenbrunner sealed the win with an empty-net goal with 1:43 remaining.
- The three wins in a row is an accomplishment. They were unable to do that once last season and hadn’t done it since January of 2009. It’s early, but it’s some early season moment and six of out of six points are big.
- The Stars made the most of their opportunities in the game, scoring four goals on just 15 shots. They scored on their first shot of the game, which came on their first power play of the game to take a 1-0 lead 41 seconds into the game. They scored 44 seconds into the second period to make it 2-0.
- Kari Lehtonen was excellent in goal. Again. He stopped 25 of 26 shots and looked very comfortable and very much in control doing it.
- The Stars’ special teams were big in this game. The power play gave them the early lead and the penalty kill, which struggled in the first two games, was very good. It came up with two big stops late in the first period when it was still a 1-0 game and ended up 4-5 on the night. The only goal it gave up came late when it was already a 4-0 game. Lehtonen was a big part of hit, making some nice stops but it was a pretty good effort overall among the penalty killers as a whole.
- Overall, I thought the Stars did a nice job of defending the Red Wings. Not a lot of great opportunities and what Detroit did get, Lehtonen cleaned up.
- Goal of the night went to James Neal, who won a puck battle with Brad Stuart in the slot and then beat Chris Osgood with a backhand shot to make it a 4-0 game. “James was strong on the goal he scored,” said coach Marc Crawford. “He stayed on it and kept banging away. Maybe that’s a part of his increased strength, better conditioning this year to be able to stay in those fights.”
- The Neal-Richards-Eriksson line has been impressive so far. Those three players have combined for 14 points (6 goals, 8 assists) in the first three games. Add in that Brenden Morrow has chipped in four – all assisted by Mike Ribeiro – and the Stars are rolling out two lines that are producing every game.
- I really didn’t notice Mike Modano much. He played 15:14, so he was out there quite a bit but he really didn’t do a lot. But neither did a lot of the Red Wings. I thought Nick Lidstrom had a rough game. So did Stuart. Pavel Datsyuk and Tomas Holmstrom both were minus-3.
- Bottom line, the Stars were the better team on this night. It’s the best game they’ve played of the three in my opinion, even though they got outshot again. They were outshot 26-15 Thursday and have been outshot 103-65 through three games, but have six points. Lehtonen’s doing a good job of keeping pucks out of the net and the Stars are doing a good job of taking advantage of their chances.
Michael Petrella, from the Red Wings blog WingingitinMotown.com, was kind enough to answer a few Stars questions in preparation for tonight's game. Here goes:
Q: Give us a status report on the Red Wings' start to the season. What are some highlights and lowlights of the season so far?
A: Well, it's no secret that the Wings started out slow, going 0-2 in Sweden (games that were viewed by many as "home games"), ultimately going 3-4-2 in their first nine games. That's the worst start in twenty years in Detroit, so -- as I'm sure you could guess -- lots of fans were slamming their fists against the panic button. But, things have begun to turn around. They're 7-1-1 in their last nine and are showing quite a bit more offense than most thought they would (after losing Samuelsson, Hudler, and Hossa in July). Last week, the Wings were 3-0-0, and outscored their opponents 19-6.
Q: Henrik Zetterberg is certainly playing at a high level. What makes him so effective? Is this the best he's played in his career?
A: Henrik Zetterberg is a special player. Not only is he incredibly talented offensively, he's one of the more responsible two-way forwards in the game. His defense might be overshadowed by teammate Pavel Datsyuk, who is the resident Selke winner of the bunch, but it is clear to everyone who watches Wings games that he's respected enough to play in all scenarios.
He's smart, he's fast, he has an unbelievably accurate shot and he always seems to make the right play: whether its taking the shot or dishing to create a better scoring play, and I think that's what makes him so effective. It's fair to say that last week was the best week of Z's career, culminating in the NHL First Star selection. 4 goals and 5 assists in three games works for me.
Q: How has the top line played? Give us a scouting report on them.
A: The thing about the Red Wings is that it can be tricky to define a "top line." In theory, the top line is Todd Bertuzzi, Pavel Datsyuk, and Tomas Holmstrom. Obviously, Zetterberg and Dan Cleary sometimes get some ice time on what could also be considered the top line, as did Johan Franzen before his injury. But the current trio of Bertuzzi/Datsyuk/Holmstrom is a heck of a line. We all know what Pavel Datsyuk brings to the table, and Tomas Holmstrom is the best in the business at parking his rump in the crease and tipping shots. Todd Bertuzzi is a bit of a wildcard because, while he's creating a lot of chances and seemingly gaining confidence every game, he's still not putting pucks in the net as much as I'm sure Mike Babcock would like. He's buzzing though, lots of posts and opportunities.
Q: Looks like the power play has been solid, but the penalty kill has struggled. Why?
A: For the last few seasons, the penalty kill has been a little touchy. It's hard to put your finger on why that is, because the personnel is there: Zetterberg and Datsyuk are bona fide Selke candidates year in and year out, Kris Draper and Kirk Maltby are historic penalty killers, young guys like Darren Helm and Patrick Eaves do a fantastic job, and no one can underestimate the defensive corps of Lidstrom, Rafalski, Kronwall, and Stuart. I think that, like many of the question marks in Detroit, the struggles start with the goaltending. For the second year in a row, Chris Osgood is under-performing. New backup Jimmy Howard had a strong week last week, but it remains to be seen if he can be a NHL goaltender on a daily basis.
Also, when Todd McLellan left to be the Sharks new head coach before last season, the special teams in Detroit seemed to take a dip. A lot of fans are quick to blame assistant coach Brad McCrimmon for the defensive lapses and drop in PK, which is an interesting way to look at it.
Q: Give us a few players to watch in tonight's game.
A: Henrik Zetterberg obviously has the hot hand, but Niklas Kronwall is someone who has been putting pucks in the net from the point at a pretty good clip this season. He's got five goals already, which is three more than Brian Rafalski, who is second in defenseman goals on the team.
Jimmy Howard will be making his fourth straight start with Chris Osgood out with the flu. He had two back-to-back one goal games last week, followed by a weaker four goal showing on Saturday. Which Jimmy Howard shows up will be an important thing to watch as the Wings and Stars tussle.
For all the non-Red Wings fans out there, I urge them to watch Darren Helm. No. 43 has been a mainstay on the Red Wings roster for the last two playoff seasons, but this is his first opportunity to play a regular shift in Detroit, and he's special. He's arguably the fastest skater in the league, he hits everything that moves, and although he's not a big guy, he's not the least bit afraid of heading into the corners and doing the dirty work. He's quickly becoming a hometown favorite at the Joe.
Q: With Chris Osgood still dealing with the flu, can you tell us about goalie Jimmy Howard?
A: He will be making his fourth start in a row and seventh of the season. He started out a little slow, but seems to be gaining confidence as the days and weeks go by. He's a fairly large guy, and definitely looks bigger in the net than Chris Osgood does. His biggest issue seems to be controlling his rebounds, which the defense is aware of, as well. The guys who play in front of Howard are doing a much better job of clearing or controlling the rebounds than they were at the beginning of the season.
Q: Any other injuries we should know about?
A: Well, Andreas Lilja is still out (since last March) with post-concussion issues stemming from a fight with Shea Weber of the Predators. Johan Franzen is recovering from a torn ACL and will be out until February at the earliest. Valtteri Filppula, another incredibly talented two-way forward, has just started skating again after breaking his wrist. He'll probably be out until the Holidays. Jason Williams, the third forward on this list, has a long recovery ahead of him after breaking his leg two weeks ago. The injury bug usually bites in February in Hockeytown, but it looks like he got an early start this year.
Q: What else should Stars fans know about the Red Wings?
A: After facing their worst start in quite some time, the Wings seem to be getting it together. They've got a bit of a Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde thing going on, and many of us find ourselves wondering which version of the Red Wings will show up -- not only game to game, but period to period. They've been very inconsistent, but the talent is there. It'd be unwise to look past the lineup they ice -- even with the injuries -- but they're also prone to beating themselves this year.