Monday, December 21, 2009
Random thoughts on the Stars' 4-2 loss
The Dallas Stars outshot the San Jose Sharks but couldn't come out with the win, falling 4-2. It was an entertaining hockey game. The Stars got chances but couldn't score enough (a theme for most of the season).
Jere Lehtinen has a lower body injury and that kept him from playing in Monday's game. That forced Stars coach Marc Crawford to alter his lines. He went with:
James Neal-Brad Richards-Loui Eriksson
Brenden Morrow-Tom Wandell-Jamie Benn
Steve Ott-Mike Ribeiro-Toby Petersen
Krys Barch-Mike Modano-Fabian Brunnstrom
I thought these line combinations were OK. It was certainly worth a try to mix things up. And I do like Tom Wandell. As usual, the top line generated some chances. The Morrow-Wandell-Benn line was all over the net at times too.
Matt Niskanen was a healthy scratch (A good call on that. More on that later). The defensive pairings:
Nicklas Grossman-Stephane Robidas
Karlis Skrastins-Maxime Fortunus
Jeff Woywitka-Ivan Vishnevskiy
I thought Fortunus played well. And Vishnevskiy does have a heavy shot from the point.
Jamie Benn looked really good. He was attacking the net, finding open ice to create scoring chances and just seemed to be in the right place at the right time constantly.
The tough luck award of the night goes to Steve Ott and Vishnevskiy. Ott had several chances, including a breakaway on the power play to start the second period. And he hit the post on another shot. He had some hard shots, they just didn't go in. Vishnevskiy had the puck go off his stick and into the empty net with 47 seconds left to effectively end the game.
The Stars didn't score on the first 30 shots in the first two periods, then got two goals on the first four shots of the third period. Sometimes they just come in clumps.
I thought Brenden Morrow had a nice game, too. He reads plays so well and helped feed Benn and Wandell as much as he could. Wandell also created chances with his puck possession and speed. Just a good all-around game from that line.
Marty Turco was OK. He made some nice saves, but Evgeni Nabokov was better.
The Stars' penalty kill unit got the night off. Strange. The last time that happened was April 11, 1999 against the Los Angeles Kings, a 6-2 win.