One of the main issues for the Dallas Stars heading into their first road trip on the East Coast was the lack of scoring from the top line. To this point, the second line of Sean Avery, Brad Richards, and Fabian Brunnstrom has looked more like the top line, while Ribeiro, Morrow, and Eriksson have been almost invisible, especially '07-'08 top scorer Mike Ribeiro.
Thursday night against the New York Islanders, Ribeiro decided he had been invisible enough on the score sheet, scoring his first goal of the season and adding four assists to lift the Stars to a 5-3 victory.
"I just felt good tonight," Ribeiro said in the Stars' postgame recap. "It's good for my confidence, and things just felt right tonight. It was a good game overall. We killed some penalties, blocked shots, and were good on special teams. We got second effort tonight, and hopefully we can build on this going forward."
Unlike the previous games, the game against the Islanders was ruled by the Stars' top line. Even more impressive is the reuniting of Brenden Morrow and Mike Ribeiro after a three-game separation. Add Loui Eriksson to the mix and the Stars' top line accounted for 10 points against the Islanders.
"That line was very good," Tippett said in the Stars' game recap. "They were dominant, and Ribeiro with five points was outstanding."
The Stars started off with a lead after 20 minutes, something that, until this point, had been rare. At 2:04, the Islanders' Kyle Okposo took a roughing penalty, setting up for a Loui Eriksson power play tip-in goal at 3:30. Assisting on Eriksson’s goal was Mike Ribeiro.
Eriksson added one more goal at 18:22, with another assist from Ribeiro, but not before Brenden Morrow could score at 14:13. Ribeiro and Stéphane Robidas assisted on the Morrow goal.
Bill Guerin put the Isles on the board at 10:16 of the second period, but the Stars kept the attack alive with Krystofer Barch scoring on a tip in at 13:05, with Morrow and Ribeiro assisting. Ribeiro scored a power-play goal off of a snap shot at 18:27, with assists from Mike Modano and Brenden Morrow.
Other notable events from the second period were the double minor to Sean Avery, both for roughing, one of which was served by James Neal. Avery is such a pain to other teams he gains penalty minutes for the rookies. What a giving guy.
Other than that, the physicality really heated up. I was impressed by the play of both teams on both ends of the ice.
The third period saw the Islanders get their turn to try rippling the twine. At 2:02, the Stars' Mark Fistric took a tripping penalty, setting up the Islanders' Mark Streit with a power-play goal at 3:28. Former Dallas Star and current Islander, Jon Sim, scored to make it 5-3 on a goal at 19:57.
"Things weren't clicking, but it was a real determination from our group and our veterans doing a better job tonight," Tippett said in the recap. "We blocked shots and did whatever it takes to win. Those are trademarks of our team. We got around pressure and were dependable with the puck."
The Stars led in shots on goal, 29-27. On one last note, Marty Turco looked quite sharp, at least he pulled out the win.
The Stars now return to Dallas to face the ever-amazing Alexander Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals on Saturday night. The game will be live from American Airlines Center at 7 PM CDT.
Ken Armer is the NHL Community Coordinator for Bleacher Report as well as serving as the Community Leader for the Dallas Stars. He can be contacted on his profile or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Image: Courtesy of Getty Images via Yahoo Sports
Quotes: Dallas Stars website game recap
Original Boxscore: Courtesy of NHL.com