(Inside an 8-Game Unbeaten Streak)
Feb 21 @MTL: Mike Ribeiro returns to Montreal and sticks his magic Easton right up the fundament of the once mighty, now floundering, Habs franchise. Kari Lehtonen blanks them. And a guy named Garbutt scores in his 3rd NHL game and it's the winner...3-0W
Feb 23 @CHI: The Stars kill the only PP awarded to either team as the league continues to crackdown on any and all crackdowns. They also get a winning performance from backup Richard Bachman, and rally with three unanswered goals in the 3rd to beat a discombobulated Hawks club 3-1
Feb 24 vs MIN: They enter the game as the only team in league yet to win the 2nd game of a back-to-back set. Thankfully the opponent also played the night before and was named the Minnesota Wild. The Wild still haven't won in Dallas since W was in his first term (16 trips, 16 losses) In this episode the Stars chased starter Nik Backstrom and outclassed their northern cousins 4-1.
Feb 26 vs VAN: The West leading Canucks come to AAC for a matinee prior to the NHL Trade Deadline. Stars get three goals from their top line, the 3rd one a beauty in overtime, and down the Canucks 3-2 in a fabulously entertaining tilt in front of 18,010
Feb 29 vs PIT: This one gets listed as a "loss" but really it was a tie, and a titillating one at that. It was fast, nasty and well played right from opening puck-drop. James Neal and Matt Niskanen were making their first visit to Dallas since the trade a year prior. Eric Nystrom trended on Twitter after knocking Letang loopy - one of about 60 hits in the game that was played with vicious enthusiasm and decided in a Shootout. The 4-3 Shootout "loss" is in my top 3 for Game of the Year.
Mar 2 @EDM: First game of the first of two swings through Western Canada in the month of March, the Stars and Oilers played what both myself and TSN's Ray Ferraro dubbed "The Worst Hockey Game We've Done Or Witnessed In The Last Five Years". Not only was it dull, it left a void in our souls, made our eyes cramp, and robbed us of 2 1/2 precious hours of life that we will never get back. Final shots: EDM 20, DAL 15...Final score: Stars 3, Oilers 1, Hockey 0.
Mar 4 @CGY: A showdown between two teams jockeying for a playoff spot in the West, it featured a stellar dual in net between Lehtonen and Kiprusoff that alternated from sublime to larcenic (new word). It was a hard hitting, high scoring-chance game that had to be decided in a Shootout. Shot totals finished at 40-38 Stars, as both clubs strafed the two Finnish goaltenders. Special teams ultimately decided it; the Stars scored shorthanded, on the powerplay, and then went two for two in the Shootout to secure a 3-2 "win".
Mar 6 @VAN: The Stars entered play against NW Division and Western Conference leading Vancouver with a little pep in their step - and fabulous, tender, tomahawk ribeye in their bellies after all were treated to dinner at owner Tom Gaglardi's house and were able to idle there way up the standings while doing so, arriving back at his downtown hotel full, and in first place in the Pacific Division. Ta-friggin-da! That good news was followed up the next night with a show of appreciation as they survived a series of early mis-steps and mis-fires to ultimately spiflicate a semi-uninterested and suddenly struggling Canuck squad 5-2 in front of 20,000 belly-aching Canadians not named Gaglardi.
Good times indeed!
Enough red meat, Shark is next.