It would be nice to sit here after my slight hiatus, changing addresses in the state of Texas, and write that the swagger the Dallas Stars brought to the ice New Year's Eve had carried on into January, but it didn't.
If anything, January has brought some mean-spirited, monkey-on-back action. Dropping a valuable game to the Vancouver Canucks on home ice was not a way to begin 2010.
The Stars found even less comfort on the road. They looked utterly terrible against New Jersey, and saw a resurgent Sean Avery and the Rangers beat Dallas quite badly. Lots of bad news followed the Stars game at Madison Square Garden.
Aside from the fact that both teams Wednesday night were paying Avery, only one was reaping the reward. The Stars also saw forward Mike Ribeiro go down with a major throat injury keeping him out for 4-6 weeks.
The story coming out of Friday's game is luckily a good one. The Stars recorded a much needed win before they make a three game road trip. On the road lately the Stars have been terrible, and aside from some odd bounces Saturday night, the Stars were able to shake the losing streak for 60 minutes.
The Stars overcame some soft goals that put the Islanders in the lead early, which speaks well for the team not rushing to panic. While some fans, and writers will fault Turco, the goals really weren't his fault. Its hard to believe a couple of those even went towards the goal, let alone made it past Turco.
The Stars looked focused, and matched the agreesive forecheck the Islanders started out with, and just like my old hockey coaches said, hard work infront of the net paid off. The Stars scored twice in the later part of the second period to make it 4-3 and from then on they held the lead.
While the usual kudos for Dallas go to Brad Richards and Loui Eriksson, Brenden Morrow looked phenomenal on the ice, and stayed in the middle of everything trying to lead his team to a win. The defense had trouble dealing with the Islanders forecheck, but with the struggling Blue Jackets on Sunday night, facing them could help the Stars work out some kinks and improve before facing Philadelphia and Montreal later on in the week.
As of this afternoon, the Stars had announced that Niklas Grossman had been placed on IR along with Mike Ribeiro. The Stars recalled Warren Peters earlier in the week in place of Ribeiro, and nnounced today that Maxime Fortunus had been called up from Texas to replace the injured Grossman. Fortunus is a great young defenseman, with strong puck moving skills. Be sure to watch him if you catch the game Sunday night.