Saturday, the Stars headed to Nashville for their 3rd game against the Predators this season. Each team had won one so far, each win coming at home. The Stars one home win came in Fabian Brunnstrom’s debut, you know that one where he scored a hat trick.
Tobias Stephen got his 3rd start of the season, he had been 1-1 so far, his win coming against the Wild. He looked a bit nervous in the beginning of the game, but who wouldnt’ be when you’re hearing nonstop that the team thinks you’re unproven, and this is only the 3rd chance you’re being given to prove yourself? (We are not going to include those games he came in to relieve Marty, because that was just cruel the non-support he received.)
Joel Ward got the first goal of the night, just under 4 and a half minutes into the game. It was a nice move, I’ll give him that. He faked and Tobi fell for it, coming out of the net to try to grab the puck, only to have Ward skate by and put it into the empty net Tobi had left behind. J.P. Dumont and Dan Hamhuis got the assists. The first penalty was called with just over 6 minutes remaining inthe period, Rich Peverly with holding. The Stars continued with something they had used the night before against Detroit, which was having no D-men at the point. Instead, they had Richards and Modano covering the point. The second PP line consisted of mostly Swedes, since they have been some of our best players lately. The Stars just looked sloppy overall in the first period. There was a close call with 2 minutes and 20 seconds remaining in the first; Grossman tried to use the boards to get the puck behind the net towards Daley. Only it took a bad turn and headed straight for the net to a waiting Predators who shot it but Stephan’s glove and the goal post made the save to keep it 1-0.
Stephan seemed to really get more comfortable in the second period. He made one fantastic glove save 2 minutes into the second. A Predators slammed one towards the net, and Ralphie had to stop himself after starting the word scores in “he shoots he scores” before he realized that Tobias had made the save. The Preds took their second penalty of the night 6 minutes into the period, and sadly almost half the Stars PP was spent defending their own goal. They really need to get their PP turned around. I think Razor put it best that night when he said “You get the sense that someone will score on the Stars power play tonight. We’re not quite sure who or which team, but somebody might.” The Stars first penalty of the night belonged to Matt Niskanen who took a holding call. But J.P. Dumont took a hi-sticking penalty of his own so it was 4-on-4 for two minutes. There was some good that came of the second period. For one, the score remained 1-0 thanks to the tremendous play of Tobias Stephan. Chris Conner got a breakway of his own during the second, only to get knocked down before he could get a good shot off. “Ka-dingyding” as Razor put it. Barch got a good chance of his own, getting the puck past ex-Stars goalie Dan Ellis but having it go off the post and out.
The Stars were 1-11-1 when trailing after 40 minutes, compared to the Preds being 6-1 after leading after 40. And almost right out of the game, Chris Conner takes a tripping penalty less than a minute into the third. Luckily the Stars were able to kill it, and actually got some nice shots on Ellis during their PK. Nashville takes their final penalty of the night, Jerred Smithson with slashing right off the face-off. The Stars are 30th in road power play, going 3 for the last 50. Ouch. David Legwand makes it 2-0 Preds with a goal he shot five-hole right in Stephan’s face. Ward got his second of the night, getting in an empty netter with a minute and a half remaining in the game.
Between sloppy play and way too many giveaways, Tobias Stephan is who kept them in this game and he deserved a better fate. It would have been 5-0 had he not been as amazing as he was. But that is what happens when you have an exhausted team in front of you.
The three stars of the night were all Preds
- Dan Ellis
- Joel Ward
- Jordan Tootoo
And with the Stars going scoreless, Fabian Brunnstrom (2 goals in 2 games) and Darryl Sydor (2 assists in 2 games) both saw their point streaks come to an end.