The old man can still play

I just saw the highlights of Mike Modano's two goals and saw a player with tons of energy and smarts and one with plenty of skill.

He may be 39, but he can still play. He had two goals on Friday and has six in his last nine games. Modano talked on Thursday about how he was going to get some extra minutes with Tom Wandell out of the season and Mike Ribeiro still missing games as he rehabilitates from getting hit in the throat with a stick on Jan. 6.

Modano isn't practicing all the time, but that's by design. The Stars want him rested and ready so they can get as much out of him as possible.

He's playing just terrific hockey for us right now," Stars coach Marc Crawford said after the game. "He's got some real chemistry going with Toby Petersen, we saw that over the last month. Mo is just such an experienced player that when he has a feel for people, he does have terrific vision. You combine terrific vision with some energy and a player that has that kind of skill, you're going to have good things happen.

"Not only did he get the winning goal for us, but I thought he was a real force on the bench. He's been through these types of battles and he was a calming influence for us on the bench as well. We'll continue to try and get as much out of him as we can in games."

Modano credits the time off for helping him with his game.

"I've been feeling much better lately," Modano said Friday. "I think it's just a combination of some valuable time off that Marc has given me, and just being able to rest up, and primarily focus on the games. Mentally and physically, I've been feeling better lately and it's just a good routine that we've got going on here, right here and right now, and we seem to be playing well in the areas that we've been trying to improve on."

Some other notes:

* Apparently, the Stars didn't get the paperwork into the NHL in time for Jere Lehtinen to play in Friday's game. It was due at 4 p.m. Eastern and I think someone thought it was 4 p.m. Central. It happens. Luckily, the Stars won, so that makes it a little easier to take. Those things can happen. Lehtinen should be back on Sunday against Phoenix.

* Alex Auld was solid. I haven't watched the whole game yet (was at the Rangers Mid-Winter Banquet), but saw enough that he was on his game and made the saves he had too. He should get more chances. Ride the hot hand.