Some thoughts and observations after the Dallas Stars ran their winning streak to four games with a 3-2 victory at Columbus Tuesday night.
*The shots were 40-18, but it didn’t look that bad. At least to me. The first period was what it was. The Blue Jackets were desperate; the Stars weathered the storm and got out of it scoreless. That was a victory of sorts. The last part of the second period was pretty bad, and Kari Lehtonen was really good. The shots were 16-7 I the third, but the Stars were playing with a two-goal lead for most of hit and I didn’t really feel like they were on their heels. Columbus was just shooting a lot of rubber on net.
*Kari Lehtonen was outstanding again. He had 38 saves and was the difference in the game. He’s just playing at a high level right now. I thought this quote from Sheldon Souray was classic: "If Kari was a baseball player he would probably be Nelson Cruz right now.”
*The line of Steve Ott, Jamie Benn and Loui Eriksson had another strong game. They are the team’s best and most consistent line right now. They produced a couple of goals tonight – the first two of the game – and were a combined plus-six.
*The Ott goal looked like a stoppable goal on Steve Mason’s part, but Ott won a defensive zone draw to start off the play and then finished off the rush. The Benn goal was a classic. He skated through four Columbus defenders and then roofed a shot over Mason.
Benn, who doesn’t like to talk about himself, offered this take on the goal: “I kind of got pretty luck. I made two little turns there, the goalie poked and I guess it was just luck.”
There was a little more to it than luck. It was classic Benn.
*Another game where Sheldon Souray is all over the stats sheet. Another big assist. His point shot was tipped in by Michael Ryder to put the Stars up 3-1 just 1:11 after the Blue Jackets made it 2-1. That’s five points (one goal, four assists) in six games for Souray. He was a plus-two and is now a team-best plus-six on the season. He also had two more minor penalties, giving him 19 penalty minutes for the season.
*The penalty kill gave up a goal, but it came up big in the game, especially in the second when it killed off back-to-back chances, including some five-on-three time. It’s a key part of the Stars’ early season success.
*Overall, another big two points and a good way to start off this stretch of four straight on the road. Big test this weekend with a back-to-back in Anaheim and Los Angeles. Two good teams. Two divisional opponents. Looking forward to see how they stack up in those two games.