That’s right, the game on Monday night was such a compelling matchup that even Snackbar will start watching the Dallas Stars play more often. After being beaten (read: demolished) at the hands of the Red Wings last week 6-1 in Detroit, the Dallas Stars had retribution on their minds as they took the ice at American Airlines Center on Monday evening. To a man, every player said the loss to Detroit by 5 goals was embarassing and that they felt the need to come out strong and show what they were made of. Well, after the first period of poor marking (hockey defensive term meaning to stay with your man when he’s in your defensive zone), suspect goal tending and heartless play, it looked as if the Stars were just paying lip service to the ideas of working hard and playing with grit and determination.
I would love to know what was said in that locker room during the first intermission. Perhaps the coaching staff really got into the players’ faces and read them the riot act, or maybe one of the team leaders stepped up and said a few words. We may never know what actually went on in that intermission, but we will be talking about what happened after that intermission for quite some time. The Stars came out and absolutely dominated the entire second period of play, starting with a goal just 52 seconds in. They played with enthusiasm and desire. They never missed an opportunity to finish a hit or pester a Red Wing player who had the puck. They scored another goal when Krys Barch (one of my favorite Star players and the resident tough guy) showed that he was more than just big hits and a strong chin by setting up Mark Parrish with a beatiful pass from behind the net that Parrish deftly directed past Red Wing netminder Chris Osgood.
But, the Stars didn’t stop their hard-nosed play after the second. They continued on into the third period, making the Red Wings look like a prize fighter who had just been rocked and was still trying to regain his legs and composure. And don’t forget, this comeback was being orchestrated against a team that was 9-0-2 in their last 11 games and was riding a season best six-game winning streak. The Red Wings showed their resolve in the third period by pushing one past Marty Turco in the Dallas net to make it a 4-3 game. Things never looked out of hand, however, as the Stars kept having chance after chance and kept up their assault on the the Detroit net. Steve Ott finally got one past Osgood with just three minutes remaining in the game to tie up the score and send it into overtime.
It took just 1 minute and 51 seconds for Trevor Daley to score the game winner in overtime, and one of the best hockey games of the season was complete. This may end up being one of those games that sparks a team into a big run and, quite frankly, the Stars need that run. They are 8-4-2 in their last 14 games, which is pretty darn good hockey by anyone’s standards, but they are still three points behind Colorado for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. And if this team knows anything about the NHL, it’s that regular season success can only take you so far. Great teams are measured by their playoff success. If last year was any indicator for this team, I’m hoping they will continue on with the trend of getting hot right before the playoffs start and mowing through the competition.
Here’s hoping for another Detroit/Dallas Western Conference Finals dance. After their win on Monday night, the Stars should feel pretty good about their chances to avenge their series loss from last year. With the way this team is playing right now, we all know that Snackbar will finally be watching.