Dallas Stars 3 - Columbus Blue Jackets 2
The Dallas Stars fell back into bad habits, but managed to hang on to defeat the Clumbus Blue Jackets 3-2. The team once again struggled to sustain pressure, gave up a ton of shots, took bad penalties, looked bad in transition and had to count on Kari Lehtonen to pull their backsides out of the fire again.
Three days after absolutely dominating the Blue Jackets, Dallas came out and showed that their previous game might have been an anomaly. Lehtonen was once again peppered with 40 shots, which looks like will be the average number of shots that he'll face this year.
Kari was up to the task though, turing away 38 of those shots. He made numerous outstanding saves and was only beaten due to some shoddy defense and a blazing shot.
Dallas took five penalties in the game, including another one for too many men on the ice. That's four or five of them this season already and that's just unacceptable. Those penalties are easily avoidable and just comes down a lack of discipline. The penalties led to too much pressure on the Stars and despite their superb penalty kill unit, they allowed a goal on a scrum right in front of Lehtonen. The puck managed to find its way between Lehtonen's legs and into the back of the net.
On the offensive end of the ice, the Stars got goals from Steve Ott, Michael Ryder and one of the best goals you'll ever see, possibly the best you'll see this entire season, from Jamie Benn.
Benn was all alone outside the offensive zone when he took a check from behind. The puck scooted along boards into the offensive zone and Benn chased it in. He outmuscled two defenders for the puck and then beat the Blue Jackets 1-on-5 with some amazing stickhandling. He finished it off by roofing the puck over and outstretched Steve Mason. It's something that's nearly impossible to describe and can only be seen so here's the video. Bonus points to Ralph and Razor going nuts over what they just saw.
Radek Dvorak and Adam Burish got assists for this goal, but both of those should probably go to Benn as well.
Overall, it was a very shaky game from Dallas and the way that they're playing these games is becoming a disturbing trend. Dallas managed only 18 shots in this game, and got a bit lucky because Steve Mason has been very poor this season. The first goal he allowed, the one to Steve Ott, was an easily stoppable shot. Mason lazily tried to catch the puck and it flew right by his glove.
Kari has been incredible so far this season, but Dallas cannot put him in a situation where he is foreced to be the number one star every single night. They're living life dangerously at the moment and I think they can consider themselves pretty lucky that they are 5-1-0 at this point in the season. Things get much tougher now as they play their next three games on the road against their Pacific Division rivals, starting with the Anaheim Ducks on Friday.
Notes and Observations:
- Sheldon Souray continues to impress. He played some solid defense in clearing away forwards around Kari Lehtonen and he had the assist on Michael Ryder's goal. He's had a point in five of the Stars' six games this season and is averaging 20 minutes of ice time. He was on the ice during the critical moments at the end of the game. He looks like an absolute steal out of free agency this year.
- Chalk up another game where Kari ends the game as the first star. He's looking like an elite goaltender so far this season and might finally be reaching his lofty potential. Dallas can definitely contend for a playoff spot this year if he continues to play like he is. You just have to worry about wearing him out in the latter stages of the season.
- Eric Nystrom made his season debut for Dallas after being traded from Minnesota. He had 8 minutes of ice time while playing with the fourth liners.
Game Stats and Scoresheet:
|Power Plays||0 of 2
||1 of 5
1st Period: No goals
- 4:17 Steve Ott (2) Dallas 1 - Columbus 0
Assists: Loui Eriksson, Jamie Benn
- 1:31 Jamie Benn (2) Dallas 2 - Columbus 0
Assists: Radek Dvorak, Adam Burish
- 5:06 Derick Brassard (1) (Power Play) Dallas 2 - Columbus 1
Assists: Rick Nash, David Savard
- 6:27 Michael Ryder (2) Dallas 3 - Columbus 1
Assists: Sheldon Souray, Brenden Morrow
- 17:05 Kris Russell (1) Dallas 3 - Columbus 2