The Dallas Stars looked to bounce back from a performance that was less than desirable on Sunday in a 1-0 loss to Minnesota as they took on the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena Tuesday night. In what was Detroit’s home opener for the season, Dallas came out fresh and sharp as it was the Red Wings, coming off a shellacking against St. Louis for their first game and were taken to a shootout against Columbus the night before, that looked like they were skating in mud. The Stars, having a day off on Monday, took advantage of an injured, tired and retired Red Wings team, skating to a 2-1 victory.
The most notable change from Sunday’s lineup was Cody Eakin being swapped onto the 2nd line with Ray Whitney and Michael Ryder and Tom Wandell was dropped to the 4th line. The new line paid off almost immediately as Eakin and Ryder worked hard to keep the puck in the Detroit zone and Cody kicked the puck out from the boards and Ryder wristed a shot from the high slot, blocker high over Jimmy Howard.
Another positive to come out of the first period is the apparent toughness of Philip Larsen. The smallish defenseman cleared the puck out of the near corner and just as he released the puck, Detroit’s Jordan Tootoo absolutely leveled Larsen with a clean shoulder hit. Not only did Larsen pop right back up, but he showed no signs of wear and tear, which had to agitate the agitator Tootoo.
It was also a great sign to see Jordie Benn’s play against one of the best players in the league in Henrick Zetterberg. On successive shifts, Zetterberg had the puck deep in the Dallas zone, and both times, Jordie remained calm but most importantly, in position and he was able to knock the puck away from the Detroit captain. That was the mantra from last night: sound positional play and win those puck battles that didn’t happen in Minnesota.
Zetterberg almost assisted in tying the score up early in the second. On the penalty kill, the Stars turned the puck over deep in their own zone. Henrick found the puck and along the boards, drew the ire of all five white jerseys. Zetterberg was able to find a streaking Valtteri Filppula straight down the slot but thankfully his shot rattled off the post and out of danger. Though the Stars’ power play has had incredible movement in their first three games, the 2nd Stars power play was spent mainly in their own end; either having issues exiting or having to defend against a very resilient Detroit penalty kill.
Dallas spent most of the 3rd period in a pseudo-prevent defense, as they had all five of their skaters collapse into the box between the face off circles all the way back into Kari Lehtonen’s lap. However, one of the better teams at capitalizing on a team’s mistakes, Dallas was able to sustain some pressure and thanks to a fantastic keep on the blue line, Eakin was able to skate up to the faceoff circle and fire off a shot that Howard kick aside. Cody grabbed his own rebound, passed across ice to Whitney who then went back the opposite way to Ryder who was standing alone in the far faceoff circle. Before Howard could get to the far post, Ryder had slapped his 2nd goal of the night past the Red Wings’ best player of the night for a 2-0 lead.
Lehtonen was just 3.4 seconds away from a very well earned shutout when the hero for Detroit the night before, Damien Brunner was left alone to skate into the slot and pushes the puck glove low past Kari for Detroit’s only tally. Kari finished with 39 saves on 40 shots and offensively, Jaromir Jagr and Derek Roy finished with 12 shots between the two.
Dallas out-hit Detroit by a substantial margin of 24 to 9. The shot differential was also very slim, with Detroit having 8 more shots (40 to 32) than the Stars.
Detroit has yet to score on the power play, going 0-15 in their first three games.
3: Jimmy Howard- 30 saves on 32 shots, but some incredible highlight caliber saves.
2: Michael Ryder- 2 goals on 5 shots
1: Kari Lehtonen- 39 saves on 40 shots