Stars vs. LA (Pre-game)

Some Stars fans might look at tonight's schedule and rest in peace, knowing that Los Angeles is a typically easy team to beat.

I, for one, am not so easily assured.

That's not to say the Stars won't win; to the contrary, I think they'll play a great game after several days of rest.

I'm just saying, let's take this game one step at a time. In their past couple of games, L.A. has won due to the strong goaltending from Erik Ersberg and a good power-play.

The Stars' main focus tonight needs to be NOT TAKING PENALTIES!!!!!

There have been many games in just this season where the momentum is even keel until Dallas takes a bad penalty, the other team gets a goal, and the rest of the game slowly goes down the drain.

If the Stars can keep their men out of the box (and if Turco can restrain from over-handling the puck) then the game should be locked up. Dallas' defense has gotten over its annoying tendency to turn the puck over, and is stronger now with the return of Sergei Zubov.

The offense can have a different leader simply depending on who picks up their game. Often times, we'll see superb passing skills from Mike Ribeiro lead to a win; on other nights, the reckless play of Brenden Morrow will lead to a rebound goal or two; and yet on another night we could see the inspired play of Mike Modano lead to a strong performance by the whole team.

Some key players tonight;
*Sean Avery*- If the ultimate super-pest can draw a few penalties, it'll allow Dallas' powerplay many opportunities to gain the lead. His erratic offensive skills could come in handy as well.

*Fabian Brunnstrom*- He might be the only guy on the Stars with enough talent to play on any line. He's helped out defensively on several occasions, and seems to have a Morrow-like knack for getting goals in front of the net.

*Sergei Zubov*- It's a little early to expect anything huge from the Stars' reigning veteran defender, but if he can pop in a goal, it'll boost Dallas' confidence and momentum.

*Marty Turco*- Everyone says it; you can't win without good goaltending. Specifically for Turco, he'll need to take less risks when handling the puck, and the San Jose game should have solidly implanted the risks into his mind.

I'll post tomorrow with my post-game review, and hopefully some video highlights and/or pictures as well.