By Martin Iheke
If the Dallas Stars have more weeks like they did last week, then it is safe to say they will have a very good season. The Stars went 3-0-0 winning at the Colorado Avalanche and Edmonton Oilers, then beating a very good Anaheim Ducks team at home in probably their best game they played this season so far. The Stars jumped on the Ducks to start the game by scoring two goals on the power play to go up, 2-0, in the first period and won, 3-1. For the first time this season, the Stars outshot their opponent, 28-21. It must have felt unusual for goaltender Kari Lehtonen, who has been used to facing more than thirty shots a game.
Trevor Daly scored his first goal of the season that came on the power play. After the game, he explained how he felt about it. “It felt good to get on the score sheet,” Daley said. “It was a power play one. We’re looking for our power play to step up and win us games and I thought tonight’s one was a big plus,” as he continued. If the Stars continue to get more offensive support from their blue line then they will continue to have success. What would even be better is if Alex Goligoski, another blue liner, can step up and be a more consistent force on both ends of the ice like they are paying him to be. Before last Friday night’s game against Ducks, head coach Glen Gulutzan scratched Goligoski for the game against the Oilers last Wednesday. Gulutzan felt he was not playing up to the level he is capable of playing and that is something the Stars need from him.
Goligoski returned to the lineup against the Ducks and was solid with two assists, three hits and logged the second most ice time at 21:31. Despite the nice performance, Gulutzan feels he can be better. “I thought he was better tonight. I think he’s still squeezing it a little bit,” Gulutzan said. “He passed up a few shots that he could have taken and he’s looking for that pretty play and that’s normal. When you have a player that’s not up to his speed, you look for something that’s pretty to get you out of it. Really, it’s the ugly thing that will get you out of it. He’s got great legs and he needed to put more pucks on net tonight, but I thought that there are some encouraging signs for him. I thought he took a little bit more charge,” as he continued.
What I take more from Gulutzan scratching Goligoski is that no one is above the team. If you are struggling, there is a very good chance you will have to sit a game or see less ice time. This is the type of move that could really earn respect for a young coach like Gulutzan from his team and others around the league. There is one player that is not struggling right now and that is Jamie Benn. He has been on fire as of late scoring four goals in the last three games especially a power play goal in the win against the Ducks. He likes that the power play is starting to come along. “Yeah, I thought we did a pretty good job with it, tonight,” Benn said. “We got a couple of goals and that makes a difference in a hockey game,” as he continued.
The Stars will enjoy three days off before going on a three-game road trip in Western Canada. They will play at Edmonton on Tuesday night, then at the Calgary Flames the next night then finish up at the Vancouver Canucks on Friday night before returning home to play the Flames again on Sunday afternoon.