The Dallas Stars put up what head coach Glen Gulutzan referred to as their best first period of the season, then kept up the pressure and went on to defeat the Anaheim Ducks 3-1 in the only game in town on Friday night.
It all started with a roughing minor from Anaheim enforcer Brad Staubitz. On that man advantage, Trevor Daley found an opportunity from right by the blue line and took it, scoring not only a power play goal but also his first goal at all since Dec. 31, 2011. He had gone 56 full games without scoring. Talk about a scoring drought! (The defenseman was later given first star of the night honors, perhaps in tribute to his drought-snapping goal.)
If Staubitz was feeling like he was responsible for that Stars goal, then later in the first period, he would be held responsible again when the Stars increased their lead. A five-minute major for spearing Brenden Dillon gave Dallas another chance to excel while up a man and they took it: third star of the game Jamie Benn scored before 30 seconds of power play action had even elapsed. One of the assists went to Alex Goligoski, who sat out the Stars’ previous game in the hopes of getting back to good.
All in all, Dallas ran the table in the first period, outshooting Anaheim by a 16-7 margin, but they weren’t done yet. Though the Ducks fought back and took over the shot total for the second period, and Nick Bonino scored, Loui Eriksson struck in the latter stages of the third period to put some insurance on the Stars’ lead. Once again, Goligoski got an assist.
Second star of the game Kari Lehtonen kept up his reputation of making huge saves by snagging a shot from Daniel Winnik not long after Anaheim got on the board. Expect to see that clip on YouTube soon with a description like “amazing” or “unbelievable,” just like many of his other denials.
Another fun fact about this game: as Dallas’ 758th victory since their relocation from Minnesota in 1993, this win total actually exceeds the amount of wins the team had over their entire lifespan as the Minnesota North Stars. The franchise was up north for 26 years and has been down south for 20.
Next up for Dallas is a return trip to Alberta to face the Edmonton Oilers on Feb. 13. They could possibly get their fourth win in a row if they beat the Oilers, too.