Dallas 4 - Columbus 2
Nothing like a game against the worst team in the league to give a small boost to the confidence. The Stars got off to a quick start last night, getting goals from Jamie Benn and Alex Goligoski in the first five minutes, to help boost them to a win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. After that quick start, Dallas kinda bogged down and had to count to Kari Lehtonen too pull their collective bacon out of the fire multiple times.
The defend kept breaking down and turnovers reared its ugly head as Dallas just couldn't put their foot onto the Blue Jackets throat. Jeff Carter and Rick Nash got to the net at ease and despite how well the Stars played in the first, Dallas could have been down 4-2 after the first twenty minutes if not for Lehtonen.
A goal in the second period (a blast from Stephane Robidas) put Dallas up 3-0 and it looked like smooth sailing from then on. The only problem was that Dallas decided that midway through the second period, their penalty kill unit could use some extra work. The Stars started a parade to the penalty box as they took three consecutive penalties.
That extra PK work didn't prove very fruitful as the Jackets capitalized on two of them to bring the game back into doubt. It was a white knuckled ride from then on until, literally, the very last second of the game when Jamie Benn put in one of the more impressive empty-net goals you'll see.
Overall, this isn't a win that Dallas should be proud of, but it was absolutely critical for their season. The Kings and Wild lost last night while the Coyotes annoyingly went into another overtime (and won), this time against the Flames so each got at least a point there. Dallas now sits two points back of Phoenix with two games in hand.
The lack of a killer instinct last night was disturbing. They had a chance to really put that game away and try to conserve some energy for the back half of a back-to-back against Buffalo but they had to expend a lot of energy instead. They have a quick turnaround and an early game against the Sabres, so hopefully that doesn't come back to bite them (though it probably will). There's no excuse for stupid play and Dallas had a bunch of that yesterday.
more after the jump
- Jeff Carter was everywhere yesterday, registering eight shots on goal. He was wide open for a lot of them and was seemingly invisible to the Stars defenders.
- Alex Goligoski had quite an unusual goal. He was standing in the crease right next to Curtis Sanford and scored off a rebound chance that Sanford fumbled away. It's not often that a defenseman finds themselves putting in rebounds from a foot away.
- Jamie Benn once again didn't get a whole lot of time on ice (16:34 this game). It seems like a effort from the coaching staff to pace him through the rest of the season and not overwork him (he was averaging 20+ minutes a game back in January). He was behind Ribeiro, Ott, Ryder and Eriksson in this game.
- The debut of the Vincour-Benn-Ott line was pretty nice. The line was energetic when it was on the ice and provided four points (and were +7) between the three of them.
- Robidas has two goals this month, his first two since October.
- Loui Eriksson has been held pointless in the last five games.
- Sheldon Souray injured his foot blocking a shot in this game. He could miss the game against the Sabres.
Game Stats and Scoring Summary:
|Power Plays||0 of 3
||2 of 3
- 1:35 - Jamie Benn (16)
Assists: Stephane Robidas, Steve Ott
- 4:21 Alex Goligoski (7)
Assists: Tomas Vincour, Mike Ribeiro
- 1:09 - Stephane Robidas (4)
Assists: Mike Ribeiro, Alex Goligoski
- 8:32 - Vinny Prospal (10) (Power Play)
Assists: Fedor Tyutin, Derick Brassard
- 12:12 - Rick Nash (18) (Power Play)
Assists: Derick Brassard, Fedor Tyutin
- 19:59 - Jamie Benn (17) (empty-net)