By Martin Iheke
After losing four in a row, your Dallas Stars were looking to reverse the trend this past week as the All-Star break nears. Last Tuesday night, the Ottawa Senators came to town and early in the game the Senators quickly jumped to a 2-0 lead. That is when Stars head coach Lindy Ruff decided to pull starting goalie Kari Lehtonen and put in backup Anders Lindback. Lindback was terrific with 34 saves to allow the Stars to battle back from a 3-1 deficit and win, 5-4, snapping a four-game losing streak. Stars rookie defenseman John Klingberg had two goals in the win, but Lindback was the #1 star of the game and he spoke about his performance after the game.
“I felt good,” Lindback said. “I thought I played calmer than I’ve been doing lately. I’m a little more poised. It’s one of those games that it’s nice to play in if you can play like that.” The fact that Lindback played so well in the win, Ruff decided to give him the start in last Thursday night’s home game against the Winnipeg Jets. He was solid again with 20 saves on 22 shots. Unfortunately, the Stars could not put the puck in the net enough for the victory. The Stars had 47 shots in a 2-1 loss. They were also 0 for 7 on the power play as they continue to struggle there.
“It was utter domination but we didn’t finish,” Stars head coach Lindy Ruff said. “We had great opportunities. I don’t think you can play any better and have that many missed opportunities. You have to give (Ondrej) Pavelec a lot of credit but, at the same time, our near misses should have been in the back of the net.” It was a disappointing loss, but you cannot fault the effort. It is one of those hockey games where you cannot buy a goal but at this point in the season when you are trying to collect points especially against your divisional opponent, you have got to be able to get the puck in the net.
Fortunately, they had no problems putting the puck in the net against the visiting-Washington Capitals last Saturday night as the Stars were able to score five goals in a 5-4 win. The Stars had five different players score a goal in the win. After the game, forward Jason Spezza talked about the team’s ability to hold off the Capitals after they came back from a 3-0 deficit. “They have a high-powered offense,” Spezza said. “They had some momentum there on us and got some quick goals, but I thought it was a great response by (Cody) Eakin’s line and then a big goal by Jamie (Benn).”
The Stars did not have much time to celebrate the win as they had to turn around and play in Chicago the next night against the Blackhawks again. This time, the result would be different as the Stars were up able to score six goals with three coming in the third period to win a huge one, 6-3. Stars forward Cody Eakin had two goals and an assist and Kari Lehtonen was huge early on with some big saves. He had a total of 38 saves. “We’ve been in this situation before,” Stars captain Jamie Benn said according to dallasnews.com. “We came in here and talked about it. We just wanted to get the job done tonight. That was all that was on our minds, and we found a way to win.” The Stars have now won three of four and are two points back of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. They will play one more game which will be at home against the Boston Bruins before the All-Star break.
1/20 vs Bruins 7:30 pm