“Must Win” Game Won

 Before this game started , Razor said that this was a “must win” game (aren’t they all at this point?) . Our Stars must have heard him , because they did win . 

 Sutherby , Wilson and Neal had a very good first shift in the Wild zone that helped the line of Ribeiro , Eriksson and Ott to start the scoring off . The first period’s ‘chip-n-chase’ game set the tone for the rest of the game . Neither side really owned the puck . Not a bad thing , but it tends to be hard on your defenders when Marty cannot play the puck .

 At the beginning of the second period , Ott scored again on a very good ‘back door’ play . Sadly , that was the end of the offense in regulation for Our Stars . The rest of the second period was riddled with short-handed attacks and attempts to score against the league’s best penalty killers . I really felt that after Ott scored his goal , we were on our heels for the rest of the period . Granted , Marty did as well as he could , but his defensemen struggled . That little bit of struggling caused two goals against us . One was a slow sliding ‘two tipper’ and the other was right off a faceoff .  The penalties that we took certainly did not help our cause especially since one of the goals against was Koivu’s powerplay goal .

  The third period was all about chances and goalies . Both teams had many chances that the defenders blocked or the goalies saw . Our Stars looked awkward at some points (like on the powerplay and I guess they thought they were playing four on four hockey) but still managed to make it a good period . We did have good attacks , and the Wild were coming at Marty , too , but Marty and Backstrom both answered with resounding NO’s every time .

  Overtime was relatively short-lived . I was very pleased that Grossman managed to beat Backstrom with a wrister immediately after a faceoff (especially since I thought he dusted it off too much). I especially liked how Robi jumped up and hugged him like he did . They have a series of photos that shows it in the recap of the game on DallasStars.com . It is definately worth watching again .

 There can be no doubt that some of the players need rest after this game and not just because it went into overtime . More than the odd player was “tenderized” a little more than they would have liked , I am sure . The hitting usually comes with a “chip-n-chase” game and it certainly came in this game . This was not one of the more painful games by any stretch of the imagination , but a few players were starting to look very worn down . The Sharks are far more physical and so are the Ducks for that matter .

 MY STARS of the game ; 
 1. Steve Ott – Two goals and going to the net earned him this . He goes where few of Our Stars go willingly . His ability to anger our opponents was not as prevalent in this game , but that is something I always love to see .
 2. Loui Eriksson and Marty Turco – They have to share this one (and since this is my blog , I’ll do what I choose) . Eriksson gets his spot here for having the hockey sense to make the three assists when at least one of them would probably not be seen by other players . Marty earned his way here for doing everything shy of standing on his head (although if he had , he may have posted a shutout) . The goals against were (as Razor says) “stoppable” but only if he had full vision on both of them (and that never happens for a goaltender) . Marty played excellent .
 3. Stephane Robidas – He had a great game . He made so many plays that it would be exceptionally difficult to overlook what he did . His smart playing broke up many offensive attacks from the Wild . His four shots on goals , three blocked shots and his four (countable) hits pretty well iced the cake for his spot in MY STARS of the game .

 Honourable mentions ;
 Mike Ribeiro – How could I forget to mention him ? I couldn’t . He earned two assists himself and has been the craftiness behind much of the offensive production for us . This game was no exception .
 Nicklas Grossman – By scoring the game-winning goal he may have deserved a better fate than being an honorable mention .
 Trevor Daley – “Officially” he was credited on the scoresheet with only one blocked shot and a plus one plus/minus rating but he did break up more than the odd attack by the Wild . He did well and I love to see it when gets racing into our opponent’s zone and attacks the net …….. good stuff .

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~ by Adam on March 15, 2009.

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