10.25.2009

Dallas Stars: Week 4 (plus a game)

Today's post is a day late due to the fact that the Stars played St. Louis yesterday. My only available time to write coincided with the game's start time. Anyways;

Dallas vs. Los Angeles: 4-1 Loss
The Stars certainly didn't have their game on Monday against the Kings. They seemed sluggish the entire night, and were unable to even stifle the one line they decided to focus on. Ryan Smyth, Anze Kopitar, and Justin Williams were all huge scoring threats, and all three capitalized on the mistakes that seemed to be made by every Stars player.
Jamie Benn appeared to spark the Stars towards a win, as he ended a first period scoring drought by pounding in a goal with 2:42 left. However, the Stars' rookie was the only bright spot.
In the second period, the Kings' top line knocked in three goals past Marty Turco, and they never lost momentum as they continuously hounded the Stars' defenders, and the forwards never really had time to play offense.




Dallas @ Anaheim: 4-2 Win
Wednesday was Dallas' redeeming night. They were determined to make up for Monday's painful loss to the Kings, and they did so in style.
Two of Dallas' most reliable scorers in Brenden Morrow and Loui Eriksson cashed in, while Trevor Daley finally got himself on the scoresheet along with Steve Ott. The Ducks attempted to mount a comeback in the third period, but the Stars never allowed them to tie the game, and Ott's empty net goal crushed whatever hopes they could possibly have had with 9 seconds left in the game.



Dallas @ Los Angeles: 5-4 OT Loss
Thursday was Dallas' chance at revenge against the Kings, and they almost pulled it off. However, Michal Handzus ruined those hopes 55 seconds into overtime.
Anze Kopitar had a hat trick for the Kings, and despite James Neal's two-goal effort, Jamie Benn's second goal in his second game against L.A., and Mark Fistric's first career NHL goal, the Stars could not pull off a win. Regardless, the game was much more exciting and intense than the first match between the clubs.



Dallas @ St. Louis: 4-1 Win
The Stars and the Blues had an intense rivalry begin last season. St. Louis, and particularly youngsters Patrik Berglund, T.J. Oshie, and David Perron, destroyed the Stars on several occasions last season, and headed into Saturday, another crushing defeat was feared.
However, the Stars did get to taste revenge. Thanks to James Neal and Loui Eriksson, the Stars were able to quickly crush the Blues' resolve, and Tom Wandell and Brian Sutherby potted goals in the third period to secure the win. St. Louis rookie Alex Pietrangelo did manage to score his first NHL goal, and to be plainly honest, I hate the Blues as a team but I love their young players, so it was pretty neat to see Pietrangelo finally rack up a goal.
Brad Richards was an absolute beast in the lineup, assisting on both Neal and Eriksson's goals. He turned the entire Blues penalty kill into a freeze frame from the point before firing the puck to Eriksson for a snapshot goal.



As a "side" note, the Blues game was chock full of nastiness. Krys Barch had his first big fight of the season, and everybody in blue wanted a piece of Steve Ott that night.


NOTES:
-Loui Eriksson, James Neal, and Brenden Morrow are all on pace for around 40 goals this season, which is pretty much a sigh of relief compared to having only Loui break 30 last year. Brad Richards, Mike Ribeiro, and Jamie Benn could all easily be on pace for 20+ goals as well.
-Richards also has over an assist per game so far, and is the first Stars player in about 3 years to top the stats sheet besides Ribeiro. He's finally truly earning the contract that we acquired in the Tampa trade.
-Fabian Brunnstrom has yet to score a goal this season.

10.18.2009

Dallas Stars Week 3

[Sunday, October 11th - Sunday, October 18th]

The Stars' 3rd week of the season was much more successful, as they went 2-1-1. They currently stand 7th in the West, at 3-1-3.

Dallas @ Vancouver: 4-3 SO Loss
The Stars fired another shootout blank on Canada's west coast on Sunday, but the game was monumental regardless. Stars' rookie Jamie Benn scored his first ever NHL goal that night, which made the score 3-3 to send it into overtime.
Overall, the game was similar to the home opener against Nashville: the Stars did everything right, but just like Nashville, Vancouver had all their pieces in the right place and topped Dallas in the shootout.

{Video highlights to be posted later!}


Dallas vs. Nashville: 6-0 Win
In the midst of a building rivalry, the Stars pulled off a massive defeat of the Nashville Predators at home this week. Expecting a challenging match from the team that won in a shootout opening night, the Stars came out charging hard and fast. However, the Preds had come off a crushing defeat already, and as a result were quite discouraged at their chances. Mike Ribeiro popped in the opening goal hardly a minute into the game, and the goals came in a downpour through the first period as the Stars went into the first intermission with a 4-0 lead.
Brenden Morrow scored two goals, James Neal had a career-high three assists, and Toby Petersen scored his first goal of the season as Dallas absolutely flattened the Predators.

{Video highlights to be posted later!}


Dallas vs. Boston: 3-0 Loss
The Stars could not carry their momentum into Friday's game against Boston, however. The Bruins came out and Marc Savard fired the gun that killed Dallas' energy for the game. They looked tired, slow, and often out of place, and the Bruins rolled over the Stars to win 3-0. Savard was a dangerous presence all game, and James Neal was the only Star who even managed to make himself noticeable on the ice.

{Video highlights to be posted later!}


Dallas @ Chicago: 4-3 Win
Whatever was said to the team between the Boston game and this Chicago game must have worked, because the Stars managed to recover from a poor first period to come out on top in the end. Chicago had their young players trying to take over the game, as Troy Brouwer, Jonathan Toews, and Niklas Hjlamarsson all cashed in. However, Dallas put their veterans to work, and Brenden Morrow, Mike Ribeiro, Toby Petersen, and Stephane Robidas all got on the scoreboard as the Stars fought to attain the 4-3 victory.

{Video highlights to be posted later!}


NOTES:
-Mike Modano and Steve Ott are still out of the line-up with injuries, and neither have placed a definite date on their return. However, the Stars have played decently without them, and as such would only be stronger with the two back in the line-up.

-Brenden Morrow leads the Stars in goals with 5; Brad Richards leads in assists and points, with 6 and 9, respectively; Jamie Benn is the highest scoring rookie on the team with a goal and 5 assists; Alex Auld has credit for two of Dallas' three wins.

10.10.2009

Dallas Stars: Week 2

So, I was a little late in writing a review for the Edmonton game, and now I've got to write both game reviews. Anybody think a post per week is a better idea?


Dallas vs. Edmonton: 5-4 (OTL)
The Stars' second game of the year featured lots of goals, some hard-hitting action, and unfortunately, a second straight shootout loss.
Brenden Morrow "arrived" for the season, scoring two goals and getting an assist as well. Along with several highlight reel hits, Morrow certainly looked like the captain that the Stars expect him to be. James Neal scored his 3rd goal of the season short-handed, staying at the top of Dallas' stats-sheet. Stephane Robidas also scored, getting his first goal of the season.



The Stars did put up quite the fight. However, being notorious as a shootout-dominating team, starting the season that way was a little discomforting to a Stars fan like myself.


Dallas vs. Calgary: 5-2 (W)
Despite losing both of their first two games in shootouts, the Stars came into the Pengrowth Saddledome on Friday as a well-rested team ready to take on the 4-0 Calgary Flames.
Back-up goaltender Alex Auld recieved his first test of the season by going up against the Flames, but the Stars did have an advantage over the other Alberta boys, who were forced to bring in back-up Curtis McEhlinney after having played the previous night in Edmonton.
The Stars took advantage of not feeling fatigued right away as Mike Ribeiro popped in a rebound past McEhlinney. The goals came from all around that night, as Brian Sutherby, Tom Wandell, Loui Eriksson, and Brad Richards all scored as well. Only Dion Phaneuf and Rene Bourque cracked the shell that was Alex Auld's goaltending. Judging by the way he played, Marty Turco will recieve plenty of rest this season.



The Stars did suffer their first non-goal this year, as a puck appeared to get stuffed into the net by a diving Fabian Brunnstrom. However, despite one video angle clearly revealing the puck going past the line, the official call was a no-goal and Steve Ott was called for goalie interference.



The Stars play the Vancouver Canucks tomorrow to start off week 3 and to close their Canadian road trip. The Canucks got their first win in their last game, absolutely destroying the Montreal Canadiens. Which team will carry the momentum into tomorrow? We'll find out.

STARS RULE!

10.03.2009

Final: 3-2 Shootout Loss to Nashville

Well, the opening game of the year for Dallas was quite the intense game, although slightly a let down at the end.

However, the team played really well, and showed that despite all of their troubles last season, they'll be able to solidly bounce back this year.

[Video Highlights soon to come!]

The most obvious standout was James Neal, who scored both of the Stars' goals in regulation and then hit the post in the shootout. He played outstanding, clearly returning to the level he was at last year. He'll be at the top of the charts offensively for Dallas all season long.

Marty Turco didn't perform nearly as awful as some people have said he would, but there were a few holes in his game. He still lets a few too many rebounds escape his reach, and wasn't at his best during the shootout. However, he didn't make any risky passing plays that he's usually known for, and made a lot of key saves that could've had the Stars in a much deeper hole and without the small gain of one point from the shootout loss.

The defense played way above the expectations of such an un-proven group. Newcomers Karlis Skrastins and Jeff Woywitka filled in seemlessly, and Skrastins especially proved his worth on the penalty kill.

However, that leads to the one issue I had: special teams. Now obviously anybody who watched the game will agree, the Stars need to take less penalties and take advantage of their power-play more often. However, James Neal did manage to capitalize on a power-play goal, and the penalty kill only gave up one goal in four Nashville opportunities.

Mike Ribeiro showed that he hasn't lost his niche in shootouts, of course. He scored a fantastic goal that kept the Stars in the game a little longer.

J.P. Dumont had an awfully scary moment in the second period, hitting his head against the boards after taking a particularly rough, although clean, hit from Stephane Robidas. He was pretty shaken up, and having not seen the exact moment of the impact, I panicked when I saw him flat on the ice unmoving. I was glad to see that he left the ice on his own though, and hopefully he won't be injured for too long.


The next Stars game is against Edmonton on Tuesday, and they'll be on the road. If you don't get to catch the game (and you don't have DVR like me) then be sure to check back here, I'll have a postgame review!

Pre-post

Ok, so the Stars game starts in a few hours, and I'm psyched!

Of course, I have nothing to do for those couple of hours, so I figured I'd make a quick little post for now.

AT&T Uverse with DVR has saved my life. I've watched most of the games they've already shown on Versus so far, including the very first game that featured Alex Ovechkin scoring two goals.

The first Versus NHL game of the year featured the first goal of the season, the first save of the season, first check, first two-goal performance, first crunching hit, first fight, and first crushing defeat.

Also in the good news category, every NHL game except one so far has had at least one team score 4 goals. The game that didn't was a 3-0 Colorado victory over Vancouver. High scoring is back!


I really can't express how much anticipation is in this room right now, from just me. I'm really excited about the new season, it should be a redeeming one. And if anybody doesn't think a team can rebound, just look at the Avalanche so far this season. Two wins already, and a lot of great young talent is there.


STARS RULE!