Some random thoughts before I brag about how the Richard Zednik incident turned out to be yet another demonstration of how hockey fans are the best in the world: See Panthers' Get-Well Card
Chasing History – The Dallas Stars never have won eight in a row.
But Mike Modano’s 523rd career goal has the franchise he has provided so many special moments just one victory away from accomplishing just that.
Modano’s goal broke a 1-1 tie and came with only 3:12 remaining in regulation, as Dallas earned a 2-1 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes on Monday night. The tally helped the Stars win their seventh straight for the fourth time in franchise history.
It also helped ease the frustration that was mounting on the Dallas bench as the team peppered Phoenix goalie Ilya Bryzgalov time and time again, only to come away empty-handed. Bryzgalov finished with 42 saves.
"Those games can be mentally taxing and it's tough to keep with it, but I was glad we did and got the goals we needed to take the win," Stars goalie Marty Turco (19 saves) said. "The other teams in our division have put the pressure on us to win, and our expectations to keep winning are still there every night, especially with the games in hand and the tightness of the conference."
''I gave my team a chance to win the game,'' Bryzgalov said. ''That's my job, that's what I have to do. I played well. It was so close to winning the game for our side. But they score with 3 minutes left, so it's kind of a tough feeling to lose the game in the last few minutes.''
As far as the Dallas-Phoenix season series is concerned, nothing is remotely close to being settled. Through four games, each team has won twice. There still are four games remaining between the teams before the regular season expires.
"We have a handful more against these guys down the stretch," Modano said. "We needed to initiate better early on and we will learn that lesson going forward."
Dallas and Phoenix conclude a home-and-home series on Thursday night at Jobing.com Arena in the desert.
"Phoenix has been pretty consistent all year, and every point is so valuable, so we expect the same desperation when we see them on Thursday," Stars coach Dave Tippett said. "We will have to match their desperation and we better be ready to go."
Here They Come – Three familiar faces were on the ice at Colorado Avalanche practice Monday morning.
Ryan Smyth and Paul Stastny skated with the club as they inch closer toward their respective returns to game action. While Sakic (hernia surgery) likely will miss at least a couple of more weeks (he went through a light skate prior to Monday’s practice), Smyth (ankle) and Stastny (appendectomy) participated in contact drills.
“I think everybody touched the ice today and it was good to see,” Avalanche assistant captain Ian Laperriere said. “It’s a great sign for us.”
Smyth hadn’t skated since suffering the injury on New Year’s Eve, while Stastny already had been practicing with the team. He’s listed as questionable for Tuesday night’s game against the Anaheim Ducks at the Pepsi Center.
If Smyth does not dress Tuesday night, there’s a chance he could make his return Thursday night on home ice against the St. Louis Blues. The Avs visit the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday.
“Ryan did the whole practice and he looked good,” Colorado coach Joel Quenneville said. “We’ve got a couple of days, so we’ll see how he does. There’s a chance he might play on this homestand.”
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