A basic fact of hockey is that a game is composed of three periods. No big news there, but if a team is capable of winning all three periods, or even two out of the three, that team can usually win the game.
This basic mathematical outlook on hockey might just be something the Stars are beginning to learn this season, or at least they exhibited that style of play against the reigning Stanley Cup champion Red Wings tonight in Dallas.
The Stars controlled the tempo for the majority of the first period despite going down 1-0 on a Brett Lebda goal at 6:05. The Stars not only outshot Detroit 12-9 in the first frame, but also saw three power play opportunities to the Wings one on a Trevor Daley hooking penalty at 3:45. Marian Hossa and Lebda sat for hooking penalties at 7:29 and 18:16 respectively. At 18:29 Dan Clearly gave the Stars a 5-3 opportunity with a cross checking penalty, but the Stars wouldn’t be able to convert it for a goal before the end of the period.
The Stars' hard work paid off in the second period, regardless of being out-shot 15-9 by the Wings. At 2:12 Nicklas Grossman got caught for a hooking penalty, but the Stars' penalty killers killed off the Wings' man advantage and seized the momentum for a 1-1 game on a Tom Wandell backhand goal at 5:47. The goal was Wandell’s first of the season in only his second game after being called up by Dallas. Landon Wilson, son of assistant coach Rick Wilson, recorded his second assist of the season on the goal.
“I got a great pass from Ribeiro and I faked the shot first and shot it right away,” Brunnstrom said on the Stars website. “It was a great pass and it was fun to score. It was good luck.”
Later in the period Grossman earned himself the right to sit for another two minutes after being whistled for a cross checking penalty at 18:31. Detroit was not able to score on the power play chance due to the sensational play of Marty Turco.
The third period was more of the Marty Turco show as Detroit fired shot after shot on the Dallas net. The shots on goal in the third were literally 14-3 in favor of Detroit. No that is not a typo. Detroit’s Mikael Samuelsson and Landon Wilson both sat for offsetting minor penalty’s at 12:15. Neither team scored with the four on four opportunity. Detroit got dangerously close to tying it, but with a little over a minute left chose to pull goaltender Ty Conklin in favor of the man advantage. Regardless of the extra player, Mike Ribiero inked the icing on the cake on the empty net for Dallas. Assisting on the goal was Landon Wilson and Matt Niskanen.
“We competed hard, had excellent goaltending and we played well as a group,” Stars coach Dave Tippett said. “We defended really well and Marty was so solid. Our D blocked a lot of shots, made smart plays in our end and really did well tonight. It was a good, solid team effort and it builds a belief system that it doesn’t matter who we are playing, we can find a way to win.”
“It’s probably a good tape to hold on to and recognize what we did,” said Mike Modano. “Our situation is what it is with the injuries and guys missing and calling guys up. It’s a basic game plan, it’s real simple, but it’s a great game to build on. It’s a good confidence for us to start.”
Following the game the Dallas Stars left for Nashville to take on the Predators. According to sources, some of the injured Stars players have been working out and skating and could be back to game form soon, but nothing is confirmed. The Predators and Stars game can be seen on Fox Sports Net Southwest tomorrow at 7pm central. Nashville is currently in eighth place in the conference and five points ahead of the Stars in points.
“It was a great game and as big as it was, tomorrow’s just as big and we got to get re-focused again and another tough one,” Turco said.
Quotes: Courtesy of Dallas Stars website
Original Boxscore: Courtesy of NHL.com
Ken Armer is the NHL Community Coordinator for Bleacher Report and also serves as the Community Leader for the Dallas Stars. He can be contacted on his profile or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.