Ken's Corner: Dallas Stars Battle Hard On Southern Cali Road Trip
Generally I'm not the type to lead an article with a fight photo, but that's exactly what the Stars did on this road trip. They battled hard in two games, and recorded valuable points in both.
It's no secret the Ducks have been limping out of the gate so far this year. Even when Anaheim began the physical play, Dallas came right back and kept up the physical action. The action at ice level got so heated, in fact, Francis Wathier—a call-up from the AHL Texas Stars—brought out the fists against Anaheim enforcer Mike Brown.
The physicality also got drawn into question with a slew foot, or cutting a player's feet out from underneath him by an opposing player's foot, by Evgeny Artyukhin on the Stars' Matt Niskanen. Nisky left the game dazed with a concussion and would not appear during the L.A. game on Thursday night.
Marty Turco looked fairly solid, including during a late-game surge by the Ducks, and injuries heading into the game continue to be a concern, especially after losing Niskanen to a head injury.
The third period wasn't so fantastic, considering the stumble by the Stars and allowed Anaheim to climb back in it, but the Stars held on and recorded the win.
What we learned
Whether Anaheim's losing streak will remain a constant this season remains to be seen, but if nothing else the Stars stepped up to the physical challenge that is playing the Anaheim Ducks.
Additionally, Marty Turco looked solid and the Stars collected two points in a game that they should have. Unfortunately, the injuries are mounting. We also learned Anaheim forwards don't back check, which is something to look forward to the next time the Stars and Ducks meet. Maybe goaltending isn't the issue in Anaheim?
Dallas 4, Los Angeles 5
The fast start in Anaheim didn't carry over to the Staples Center. Instead, it was all Los Angeles for the first two periods. The Stars looked flatter than a tire in a construction zone.
The score favored the Kings 4-1 entering the third period, and we for sure got to see a different Stars team in the final 20 minutes. Dallas came out aggressive and got Los Angeles severely on their heels when Stars forwards had the puck.
The third period was all Dallas, with Jamie Benn, Mark Fistric and James Neal helping lead the Stars into the overtime. Alex Auld looked a little shaky in net, and that scaredy-cat appearance carried over to the extra frame, allowing for a somewhat simple five-hole goal by Michael Handzus to give the Kings the OT win.
Regardless of the massive amounts of bad with the Stars' play against the Kings, the Stars didn't let the score get to them and battled back to earn a point in the game. Even losing their fourth game in extra time this season this single point could make or break a playoff berth.
What we learned:
Marc Crawford's philosophy appears to be working quite well in Dallas. The injuries are appearing to wear on the team, but with James Neal and Jamie Benn picking up the slack, it's hardly time to sound the alarm in Big-D.
It's hard to say Dallas deserved points out of the Kings game, but they definitely stole one. It would have certainly been interesting to see how Marty Turco would have been against Los Angeles, as Auld didn't seem comfortable. Most of all, we learned this Dallas team is tough and won't be out of a game all season until the final horn sounds.
The Stars next game will be against the St. Louis Blues on Saturday at 7pm in St. Louis, Missouri. The Blues have only played in seven games so far and have seven points. Not too shabby for a team that hasn't looked altogether strong so far this season. The game is viewable on KDFI-27 in Dallas or able to be heard on 1310AM The Ticket in the Dallas/Forth Worth area.
Ken Armer is a Community Leader for the NHL and the Dallas Stars for Bleacher Report. He also covers the Anaheim Ducks for SoCalSportsHub.com and covers the Texas and Dallas Stars for Hockey54.com. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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