The last two games of 2008 for Dallas were a loss to San Jose and a win against New Jersey.
Now, if anyone wants to see definite proof that the Stars have had a huge turnaround since getting rid of Sean Avery, just look at the two times Dallas has played New Jersey this year.
In the first Stars-Devils game, the Stars had Avery in the lineup, and while they had been struggling in previous games, a blowout loss of 5-0 was unexpected.
Now, when the two teams met on New Year’s Eve, it was a different story. Dallas was 4-2 in its past 6 games, and went on to win 4-2, with Avery out of the lineup.
Granted, the Devils were without the services of Martin Brodeur, but Scott Clemensen has filled in well, and the Stars' win was a well-earned one.
Loui Eriksson scored two great goals, including a short-handed marker to open the game. Brad Richards had 3 assists, including helping out on both Eriksson goals. Landon Wilson also scored a goal, his second of the year, and Mark Parrish got his fifth goal of the year, proving that he can still provide the occasional skilled shot past the goalie.
The Sharks game wasn’t the best it could have been for Dallas, but they didn’t perform terribly, and they can’t help that the Sharks are the strongest team in the league, second only possibly to Detroit.
So far, the Stars are getting back to the style of winning that had people rating them as potential Stanley Cup champs before the season began. If they can hold themselves in a playoff position long enough, they just might be able to go far.