Dallas Stars: Valtteri Filppula
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.
“We have some work to do,” said Stars coach Glen Gulutzan. “We played two of the elite teams and I thought we were outplayed both nights. We definitely have some work to do to get to this level.”
“First, you have to give them (Detroit and Pittsburgh) credit. Those are two good hockey teams that when everything shakes out will probably be right at the top,” said Stars forward Adam Burish. “Second, it’s just a couple details in our game. We can probably shore up some faceoff plays and shore up our neutral zone, which was kind of the message after the game. We’ll get better at that. … The little things over the course of a game can make a big difference. You saw that tonight and the last game.”
The Red Wings controlled play for the first two periods, holding a 31-18 shots advantage but the game was tied 2-2 going into the second intermission. But the Red Wings scored three times in the third period to take control of the game on the scoreboard and earn their fourth straight win.
"They have a good team, you have to give them credit,” said Stars forward Jamie Benn. “They have a good team game and put pucks on net. We didn't have answer in the third period for it.”
After Stars turned the puck over in their own end, Johan Franzen scored off the rebound of a Valtteri Filppula shot to put the Red Wings up 3-2 early in the third.
The Stars came close to tying it with a little more than eleven minutes remaining, but a shot Benn was stopped by Red Wings defenseman Ian White, who ended up blocking the shot with his face.
Shortly after that, the Red Wings scored twice in a 1:13 span to put the game away. After a neutral zone turnover, Detroit’s Darren Helm made it 4-2 by finishing off a two-on-one and then Red Wings defenseman Brad Stuart scored after the Red Wings won an offensive zone draw.
The Stars finished their four-game road trip with a 2-2-0 record and fell to 11-5-0 on the season.
“We had a great start, but that doesn’t mean we are going to go the entire season without losing games,” Burish said. “We’ve got to look at it that we can keep getting better, keep finding ways to improve and keep finding ways to make our team better. This was about as hard a road trip as you are going to go on and we were 2-2. That’ OK. I don’t think anyone is throwing a party over it, but 2-2 is respectable.”
The Stars opened the scoring, cashing in on their first power play chance of the game. After drawing the penalty on Detroit defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom that led to the power play, Loui Eriksson was the one to score on it. He grabbed the rebound of a Trevor Daley point shot and put it past a diving Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard 7:09 into the game.
The Red Wings drew even a little more than 10 minutes later when Niklas Kronwall scored off a blast from the top of the left circle.
Detroit took a 2-1 lead early in the second on White’s shot from the right point that made its way through traffic and past Stars goaltender Andrew Raycroft.
The Stars tied it up at 12:11 of the second when Mike Ribeiro set up Brenden Morrow, who beat Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard with a shot from the left circle.
*The Stars were without defenseman Alex Goligoski, who is expected to miss about four weeks with a broken thumb suffered in Friday’s 3-1 loss to Pittsburgh.
*Stars forward Steve Ott missed his fifth straight game with a hip injury.
*Krys Barch and Philip Larsen, who was recalled from Texas (AHL) on Saturday, were healthy scratches.
*Defenseman Trevor Daley picked up his 100th career assist in the game.
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.