Dallas 2 - Chicago 1
The start of the Glen Gulutzan era for the Dallas Stars got off to a rousing start with a 2-1 win over the Chicago Blackhawks. Kari Lehtonen had one of his best performances as a Star, turning away 37 of Chicago's 38 shot, including 22 in the 2nd period. Chicago only scored with 13.5 seconds left in the game off a wicked shot from Nick Leddy.
The Stars first goal was scored by Alex Goligoski one minute into the 2nd period. Mike Ribeiro had the puck in the face-off circle to Corey Crawford's right and drew the defense towards him. He passed the puck over to a wide-open Goligoski who fired it by Crawford.
Dallas' second goal came 15 minutes later in the 2nd period. Jamie Benn won a face-off in the offensive zone and immediately crashed towards the net, finding good position in front of Crawford. The puck went to Sheldon Souray, who fired off one of his cannon shots. Crawford saved the shot but couldn't quite handle the puck and dropped it right to Benn, who deftly took it and fired it over a sprawled Crawford for a game winner.
Chicago would score a goal late in the 3rd period, but it was too little too late by that point.
Notes and Observations:
- Jamie Benn looks like he is on a mission this year. He was all over the ice and his first game as a center went swimmingly. He was 6-for-11 on on face-offs and had a destructive hit in the 2nd period on Niklas Hjalmarsson that shattered the glass. He crashed the net with a purpose when he won face-offs in the offensive zone. If Benn can stay healthy and play like this for the rest of the year, he'll be an All-Star and put up great numbers.
- Stars' new guys had plenty of ice time. Michael Ryder - 15:25, Sheldon Souray - 18:36, Jake Dowell - 10:07, Radek Dvorak - 16:44 and Vernon Fiddler - 16:54.
- The Stars took a low-risk, high-reward shot at signing Souray and after one game, it looks like it will be a solid signing. With injuries to Nick Grossman and Adam Pardy, Souray found himself with probably more time than he expected and was on both the power-play and penalty-kills. He had two shots in the game and Corey Crawford had trouble handling the puck each time. Crawford stopped the shot but was unable to catch the puck or control the rebound. Crawford's troubles led to Dallas' first goal. Expect a lot of trouble from opposing goalies this year in handling Souray's shot.
- Fiddler, Dowell and Dvorak got a lot time while short-handed and they played great. Aside from Loui Eriksson and Steve Ott, they had the most penalty-minutes among our forwards. They were physical on the puck and willingly blocked shots. Combined with Lehtonen's great game in goal, they went 4-for-4 on the penalty kill.
- Geln Gulutzan preached a two-way, physical game and it definitely showed after one game. Mark Fistric had 8 hits and Ott had 7 hits. Both are ranked, so far, number 1 and 2 respectively in the NHL. When Dallas was in the offensive zone, they worked a very effective forecheck and were able to keep sustained pressure on the Blackhawks.
- The defense still has a lot of holes. There were many times when a Blackhawk would skate the puck into the zone and just weave his way through and get a shot on Lehtonen. Dallas could have easily lost this game if Kari had not been as good as he was.
- Ribeiro and Ryder still have a great chemistry together and Ryder had a couple of great chances in the first two periods.
Game Stats and Scoring Summary
|Power Plays||0 of 2
||0 of 4
1st Period: No goals
- 0:59 Alex Goligoski (1) Dallas 1 - Chicago 0
Assist: Mike Ribeiro
- 16:02 Jamie Benn (1) Dallas 2 - Chicago 0
Assists: Sheldon Souray, Trevor Daley
- 19:46 Nick Leddy (1) Dallas 2 - Chicago 1
Assists: Patrick Kane, Brandon Pirri