Some thoughts and observations after the Dallas rallied to beat the St. Louis Blues 3-2 Friday night at American Airlines Center.
That was a pretty good game. A hard fought game. The difference was a play here and a save there and the Stars made those plays and won the game. Good teams find ways to win these kinds of games more often than not.
Quote from Stars coach Marc Crawford: “We persevered as a team and I think we’re starting to grow a little bit. We’re not opening it up too soon. We stayed with the game long enough tonight. We got some fortunate bounces, but we worked for them too. I’m very pleased with the two points, as our guys should be.”
The Stars did stick with it. The Blues controlled play early and got a shorthanded goal to hold a 1-0 lead after 20 minutes, but the Stars got better as the game went along. They made all the big plays in the third period and that was the difference in the game.
Big night for Jamie Benn. The shorthanded goal he scored early in the third to tie the game at 2-2 was a thing of beauty, from poking the puck away from Erik Johnson to create the breakaway to the slick move to finish off the chance and score on Jaroslav Halak. “I think I stole that [move] from Loui,” Benn said. “It was nice to get that one.”
Benn made a nice play to set up Mike Ribeiro’s game-winning goal with just 3:19 left in the game, diving to get the puck over to Ribeiro, who put the puck into the open side of the net.
Ribeiro had a strong game, scoring the goal, leading the team with five shots on goal and winning 11 of 18 faceoffs. He’s only scored three goals so far this season, but they’ve all been big ones.
Kari Lehtonen had an excellent game, stopping 25 of 27 shots. He had a big save on David Backes to keep it a 2-2 game in the third period and then he stopped Carlo Colaiacovo not long after the Stars had taken a 3-2 lead. “In the third period we played well and it felt great to make a couple of good save there when the game was on the line,” said Lehtonen. “It was a great win.”
One of the goals against Lehtonen came when an Andy McDonald shot deflected in the net off Stars defenseman Nicklas Grossman. Lehtonen chuckled when asked if he leads the league in goals going in off his own guys. “I don’t know, but those are things you can’t go much about,” said Lehtonen. “You just have to keep working, try to do the right things and not let that go to your head where you start questioning your goaltending. I think I was able to do that today.”
The Stars have put together a nice little run here. They are 4-1-1 in their last six games. They haven’t been works of art or anything like that, but they’ve shown some resiliency in getting those 9 of a possible 12 points.
The Stars and Blues get to do it again Saturday night in St. Louis. The Stars have struggled on the road, but their last road outing – a 2-1 win in Ottawa – was a solid one. We’ll see how they fare in St. Louis on Saturday and then in Carolina on Monday.