Hey folks. I'm sitting in San Jose Airport way before the crack of down. I think I slept last night but I have no real proof. Anyway, talk of the game:
All I can say is, wow. That third period was as big of a statement as the Stars have made in this postseason, with their third period in Game 2 against the Anaheim Ducks a close second. Very similar, actually. Couple of points:
** Yes, Sergei Zubov's skating wasn't his best. Three months off, here. But the man's passing and shooting haven't suffered a bit. I talked to him after the game, said he felt good. We'll see where his soreness level is today, but I think it was best his first game was Game 2, not Game 3 when he'd have a very short recovery time for Game 4.
** Mike Ribeiro's goal was ridiculous. He said afterward that he's actually had three goals like that off Evgeni Nabokov. According to Ribeiro, he's scored one off the inside of his leg, off his back and now off the back of his skate. That line was carrying the load through the first period, especially.
** Marty was great again. Yes, he probably wishes he would've stayed put on the Milan Michalek goal (who's to say Michalek still wouldn't have scored), but if not for Marty in the first period the Stars have more than a one-goal deficit staring at them to start the third.
** Welcome back, Brad Richards. We missed you in Game 1, and part of Game 2. But you reminded us again why the Stars picked you up at the deadline. Great goal to open the third, and it changed everything. Co-GM Brett Hull probably wore a smile in his sleep last night.
** I still find it a bit amusing that the third period, the period that doomed the Stars over and over again through that horrible March, has been their strongest in these playoffs. They're burying the opposition in that final 20 minutes, although I'm guessing the guys would like to enter it with a lead again. This is the third consecutive game they trailed to start.
**Niklas Hagman said it doesn't matter if he doesn't score, as long as the Stars keep winning. Nevertheless, he needed that game. By the way, credit Jennifer Floyd Engel for her prediction of Hagman getting off the schnide.
OK, folks, I'm fighting sleep deprivation hard. I've got a lengthy layover in Denver, so I'll be back.