OK, I'll explain the Sergei Zubov situation first, because it's bound to cause some head-scratching when you see the headline:
We all thought (and were originally told) that Zubov would be back against the Boston Bruins on Nov. 1. But coach Dave Tippett said that, apparently, Zubov isn't eligible to return until the following game, which isn't until Nov. 7 at Anaheim. Here's what Tippett said after the game:
"It's 24 days and 10 games, but he can't play on the 24th day. It has to be the 25th. He's close, but I'm not sure he would've played anyway (against Boston). But now that just rules him out. He won't be eligible until Anaheim (next week)."
So there you have it. Odd, yes, but I guess it's just a matter of making sure you count right, and I think it's all square now. In the big picture, the Stars are just missing him for one game, and it will give Zubov another week to practice with the team and get ready for the Nov. 7 outing.
Now, onto the game:
Great defensive outing by the Stars. The defensive emphasis was there, and they were reminded once again that it has to be there all the time. Not just when the backup is playing. Not just when your backs are against the wall and you're beyond desperate for a victory. All the time. Just because the goaltender is the last one responsible for cleaning up messes doesn't mean he should have to do it as often as he had to these first few games.
The Brad Richards line was great. Steve Ott was exactly what this group needed. Sean Avery kind of slipped under the radar I think (could've made him a star, too); he played pretty darned good with the puck, and his drop pass to Matt Niskanen on the young man's goal was a beauty. Tippett called this Richards' best game of the season. I agree.
Kudos to this whole team, really, for this performance. Now the next goal: do it again. It's almost November, and the Stars still haven't won two games in a row. That's still unbelievable. They need to stop this one great game, one lousy game routine they've been working through this month. You've got two biggies on the road. Make your mark.
Oh, and my question: Stephan was solid. His defense responded well. Would you start him again in this back-to-back, and in which game?