Some thoughts on the Stars’ 4-2 victory over Columbus Saturday night at the AAC.
*After seeing the Stars outshot 79-49 in the previous two games, it was nice to see them outshoot Columbus 33-15. Overall, it was a pretty impressive performance from start to finish. It was a solid 60 minute effort and a step in the right direction after a couple of erratic games where they were able to get points thanks to the goaltending of Kari Lehtonen.
*Can’t stress enough the importance of the points they are picking up. They have eight of a possible ten and I’ve mentioned before the points picked up now are just as important as those you get down the stretch. They all count towards the total that will determine whether you get into the postseason tournament or not.
*It was a big night for the Brenden Morrow-Mike Ribeiro-Michael Ryder line. That trio had a combined three points coming into the game and registered seven on this night. Ribeiro had three assists and Morrow and Ryder each had one goal and one assist.
“They were dominant tonight,” said Stars forward Adam Burish. “Before one of the faceoffs one of the refs goes, ‘How good is that line? How about Ribeiro and how good he is passing the puck? I could have played on the wing and scored 20 with that guy.’ So they were pretty good. They were best the line on the ice tonight.”
*The Steve Ott-Jamie Benn-Loui Eriksson trio had a pretty good game as well. They chipped in a goal (by Eriksson) and combined for nine shots on goal in the game. Eriksson has put together a three-game goal scoring streak. Ott has points in four straight games.
*Sheldon Souray had eight shots on goal and scored what turned out to be the game-winner with a big blast from the left point early in the third period. Brenden Morrow was in the slot and jumped out of the way of the shot just before it blew by Columbus goalie Steve Mason.
“He bombs it. You have to have a brass set to stand in front of that shot. They’re coming in pretty hot,” said Morrow. “I don’t like standing in front of them, but I know they don’t either.”
The only knock you could have on Souray at this point is that he takes some questionable penalties. He took a bad roughing minor last game and an interference minor behind the Dallas net with the Stars in possession of the puck Saturday night. But he’s second on the team in points with four (one goal, three assists) and is tops on the team with a plus-four rating.
*The Stars, who have struggled on faceoffs this season, won 29 of 55 (53%). Vernon Fiddler won 8 of 10 on the night. Special teams chipped in, too. The power play was 1-4 and the penalty kill was 4-5. The PK continues to be a strong part of the team’s game early in the season. It’s 25-28 (89.3%) on the season.