The Dallas Stars have made a habit of running over Eastern Conference teams this season. They didn’t run over the Boston Bruins Thursday night. The Bruins blitzed the Stars early, building a 4-0 first period lead and then sustained a late rally to beat Dallas 6-3 in a fight filled contest.
It was the Stars’ fourth loss in five games. And the Stars lost more than just the game. They also lost forwards Krys Barch and Adam Burish, who sustained injuries in fights. Forward Ray Sawada was lost as well, the victim of a hit to the head by Boston forward Daniel Paille, who received a major penalty and should be looking at a suspension.
The game featured four fights, including three in the first four seconds of the game. It started with Steve Ott leaving Boston’s Gregory Campbell bloodied in a scrap right after the opening faceoff. After the next faceoff it was Krys Barch vs. Shawn Thornton. The next puck drop saw Brian Sutherby square off against Adam McQuaid.
“I haven’t seen it (three fights to start a game),” said Stars coach Marc Crawford. “It’s funny because it’s two teams that don’t see each other very much and it just goes to show that you can’t ever take anything for granted, that’s for sure.”
“[The Ott-Campbell fight] may go back a long time,” said Stars captain Brenden Morrow. “I think they know each other from juniors. And then from then on I think it was just defending your team and a little bit of chest thumping.”
Said McQuaid: “We knew they were a physical team and we wanted to show weren’t going to back down. We got things started there and it went from there.”
The fights got the Boston crowd into it, and the Bruins responded with two quick goals to put the Stars on their heels.
“I think you use those things to create momentum and whether they had it up in the first, second or third, who knows,” said Morrow. “Fights come and they can go either way, we just made some bad decisions and gave up some odd number rushes. The crowd was into it. We were just as excited as they were; we were just a little more reckless.”
Just 35 seconds into the game and 31 seconds after the third fight, Milan Lucic scored off an odd-man rush to give Boston a 1-0 lead. Forty-five seconds later the Bruins were up 2-0 after Brad Marchand slipped a pass to Patrice Bergeron, who was open in front of the Dallas net and tapped the puck past Stars goalie Andrew Raycroft. That was the end of the night for Raycroft, who was replaced by Kari Lehtonen.
Another goal by Bergeron and one by Thornton and it was a 4-0 game by late in the first period.
“They came at us hard. They deserved that lead that they got,” said Morrow. I think we were a little reckless.”
The Stars chipped away at the lead, getting a goal in the second period by Karlis Skrastins to make it a 4-1 game.
After Paille was given a match penalty for the hit on Sawada, the Stars had a five minute power play but couldn’t cut into the Boston lead.
Morrow scored shorthanded 45 seconds into the third to make it 4-2 and Brad Richards made it 4-3 with a goal of the rush 3:33 into the final period.
But less than two minutes later, the Bruins extended the lead to 5-3 when rookie Tyler Seguin scored off a shot from the right circle that seemed to surprise Lehtonen. Marchand scored into an empty net to make it a 6-3 final.
“We battled hard and got in it. The fifth goal, that’s a tough one,” said Stars coach Marc Crawford. “They made a good play and they got it to the net and our goalie wasn’t [set]. They got it there so quickly that he didn’t have a chance to set and you’ve got to give them credit for that. But we had lots of good chances and we made a game of it.”
The Stars were down to nine forwards by the end of the game.
*Krys Barch played one second of one shift. He left the game after apparently suffering an eye injury in a fight with Boston’s Shawn Thornton just two seconds into the game. According to the Stars television broadcast, he went to the hospital to get checked out.
*Adam Burish was hit hard in a fight with Andrew Ference later in the first period, stayed the game despite some severe swelling around his eye but eventually left the game. The Stars television broadcast said he went to the hospital to get checked out.
*Ray Sawada left the game after taking a hit to the head from Boston forward Daniel Paille. The official word on Sawada is an upper body injury.
Updates on all three players are expected Friday.
A short night for Raycroft
Stars goalie Andrew Raycroft did not last long in Thursday night’s game. He was pulled 1:20 in after allowing two goals on two shots.
“I thought that he didn’t have a very good outing the last game so we had a short leash on him and the first two shots go in,” said Stars coach Marc Crawford. “We just felt that it was time to make a change. He’s battled real well this year and it’s unfortunate. You wish you didn’t have to do tough things for people but I’m charged with those decisions and I thought it was the right decision.”
In his last start, Raycroft allowed seven goals on 19 shots in a loss at Calgary.