A few more notes before I start the re-cap from tonight’s game of Stars at Canucks. NHL.com has posted a very amusing verion of the 12 Days of Christmas.
The Stars netminders had a bit of fun this morning at practice, bringing attention to the fact that Luongo does not strap down his flaps so they stick out further than the regulation of 11-inches. Roberto Luongo has also been named Goalies’ World magazine’s Goalie of the Year.
It was expected to be a low scoring game. Afterall, every regular season meeting between these two teams last season ended with a score of 2-1. The first 2 periods were no exception, with only one goal being scored. Sadly, it was not a goal for our Dallas Stars, instead belonged to Mason Raymond from Mattias Ohlund and Roberto Luongo. A little over 10-minutes into the game, the Canucks seemed to have an unfair advantage as Henrik Sedin held Jeff Halpern onto the ice after the faceoff until the play was called dead. Unfortunately, no penalty came of it. The only penalty of the first period laid on Alexander Edler, who took 2 minutes for hooking onto Stars captain Brenden Morrow. The NHL’s 4th best power play went on the job but were unable to convert.
The second period started about the same as the first, until about 8 minutes in when Raymond scored the Canuck goal by “jitterbugging his way behind the Dallas net” according to the Stars’ own Razor Reaugh. The Canucks are 16-3 when scoring first, so it was definitely going to be a hard game for the Stars, but we all know our Stars are always up for that challenge. They got their chance about 11 minutes into the second when Mattias Ohlund took 2 minutes for holding. The Canucks assumed Turco had an empty net and shot at the net on a delayed penalty, only to have the refs call no goal. Unfortunately, this power play had the same outcome as the one in the first. The Stars power play has become so important on the outcome of the game that the Stars have never won in regulation without earning a goal on the power play, they either lose or win in overtime or the shootout. Stars got another chance just 4 minutes later, when H. Sedin knocked into Marty Turco (or appeared to) so he got 2 minutes for interference. The Stars had a lot of chances, but lost control of the puck close to the end of the power play which led to H. Sedin getting a breakaway right out of the box. Robidas was able to challenge from behind and won. Stars took their first penalty of the game with 2 minutes left in the period. Turco got his 2nd penalty in 2 games, roughing for knocking H. Sedin back when he felt he was too close behind him. And just like last game, the penalty was served by Antti Miettinen. NHL’s 15th ranked power play tried to challenge the 5th best penalty kill and failed.
The third started with a little over 30 seconds remaining on the Vancouver power play. It wasn’t looking promising for the Stars, the Canucks are 15-0-0 when leading after 2 periods. Daniel Sedin scored just 3 minutes into the 3rd with a goal from Markus Naslund and H. Sedin, some quick passing left D. Sedin able to score while Turco attempted to slide across the net. Jussi Jokinen made it a one shot game a little over 6 minutes into the third with a goal from Loui Eriksson and Niklas Hagman, their secret to getting it past Luongo? Get him out of his net, steal the puck from him and use their quick passing skills to get it in front of the net. The Stars were starting to play more aggressive than they had in the first 2 periods when Niklas Hagman took 2 minutes for goalie interference when he charged the net in an attempt to get another puck behind Luongo. Stars were able to hold the Canucks power play at nil until Brenden Morrow took a penalty for holding. With approximately 30 seconds left on the 5 on 3, D. Sedin converted on it with a goal from Ohlund and Sami Salo. With 52 seconds left on the Brenden Morrow penalty, Taylor Pyatt gets 2 minutes for interference. And just like the Ohlund penalty, the Canucks still shot the puck in the net only to have no goal called on them for the second time in the game. This time, the Stars made no mistake and got a goal from Antti Miettinen (from Brenden Morrow and Mike Ribeiro) with just 30 seconds left on the power play. Four minutes later, Pyatt took a second penalty, this time for hooking. The Stars were unable to get the puck into the net.
And despite the 3-2 score, Turco really played a solid game. It was a game full of quick passing, luck and seeing who was able to get rebounds in a good spot. This loss puts the Stars at 2-1 on the pre-Christmas roadtrip.
The three Stars of the game were…
Daniel Sedin (2 goals)
Roberto Luongo (saved 33 of 35 shots)
Brenden Morrow (1 assist and 3 shots on goal)
Daniel Sedin also took 2nd star of the night on NHL.com. The Stars remain in the top spot of the Pacific Division, the Phoenix Coyotes took the 2 points last night in a shootout win over San Jose.