Steve Ott tallied the breakaway goal on the Stars's first shot of the period (they just had another one), to tie this one at 7:39. But the Stars missed a big chance a few minutes later, when a Ben Eager shot on Stephane Robidas and (soon after) a Brent Seabrook delay of game gave them 1:08 of 5 on 3 time. And they got nuttin' out of it. Didn't even get a shot on it. You had Chicago reeling, ticked off and you need to take advantage of those times.
Curious to see what Eager gets from the league on that one. And Chicago takes the lead, thanks to Brent Sopel's riser. See, an opportunity lost...
The Stars continue to play with fire with these odd-man rushes against a young, quick Blackhawks team, and it cost them at the end of the period when Patrick Kane scored. It could've happened a time or two before that. So the same issues are rearing their heads for the Stars: Opponents are way too open for chances, and when there's a turnover, no Stars are back there to stall a Hawks rush.
Stars are doing some good things on the other end, especially with Ribeiro's line. But give a goaltender a little help.
Sorry, I'm trying to do too many things at once here... Loui Eriksson gave the Stars a 1-0 lead on their second shot, that came off some great passing from Mike Ribeiro and Brenden Morrow.
But the Blackhawks get their equalizer on the power play, with Cam Barker's screamer somehow finding its way through at least two Blackhawks and past Tobias Stephan. Don't even know how Stephan could've seen that. Both Blackhawks were screening him beautifully (Jonathan Toews was in his lap), so it only took about 30 seconds for them on that power play.
The lines: Morrow-Ribeiro-Eriksson Neal-Modano-Crombeen Avery-Ott-Conner Barch-Petersen-Brunnstrom
Don't know the reason yet (although I've heard it's possibly a lower-body injury), but Brad Richards is out for tonight's game against the Blackhawks. Guess I should've noticed something when he wasn't skating today, although it was technically an optional. I don't think he practiced Thursday in Dallas, either. That means Chris Conner is in, and the Stars still don't have a forward to spare.
Tobias Stephan will get his second consecutive start here in Chicago tonight. No doubt, the kid's excited. He was decent enough against the Wild, and now he's back in the building where he should've been the winning goaltender last October; the shot he got beat on in regulation couldn't be more flukey. That game he started because Marty Turco and Mike Smith were both hurt (I'm trying to remember back to that... I think there was a game the night before in Dallas, and Turco got dinged up in that one). Anyway, Stephan wanted to get another start as soon as possible, and you can't get any more ASAP than the next game. Guess it makes sense, and it'll make for good copy if he pulls out the victory tonight. Turco's done very well in Boston, dating back to his college days, so maybe that will help rekindle his magic tomorrow night. OH, AND THIS JUST IN!!! Chris Conner has been recalled under emergency conditions, and Joel Lundqvist (shoulder) has been placed on injured reserve. I don't know why I used all caps. Just trying to pep up a slow day, I guess.
Hey folks, Just got into Chicago a few minutes ago, so here's a rundown of things out in practice. OK, actually there aren't many. Pretty quiet day as things go. We tried to get more information from coach Dave Tippett as far as how he would use his goaltenders the next two games, but no dice. I'm guessing Marty Turco plays the next two (no, I have no inside knowledge of anything. But since I said it, you know I'll be wrong). I don't doubt Turco wants back in there, and it's a chance to see how his work with Andy Moog has gone over these past few days. Other items: Jere Lehtinen skated on his own today and he's moving right along. Coach Dave Tippett said that, if Lehtinen keeps progressing as they hope, Wednesday's practice will be his big test. We'll see how that goes. Brenden Morrow and Mark Fistric, who took a puck to the face and chest, respectively, were both out at practice on Thursday. No side effects, apparently. All right, we'll see you all again tomorrow morning.
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?
This is a funky one, but it counts nonetheless (not sure what the heck they were reviewing, but that's their business). Andrew Brunette (are the Stars about sick of him right now?) shoots one toward the goal, and it deflects off Mark Fistric's skate and in on the power play as the Wild cut the Stars' lead to 4-2 at the 3:55 mark of the third period.
Nice change of pace, eh, kids? This is the Stars defense we've come to know through the years, and it's coming against a Wild team that's been solid in that category up until this evening. The Stars are cutting off a lot of Wild opportunities, and they're willing to drop and block more tonight. We'll see how Mark Fistric is... haven't heard anything yet after he took that Brent Burns shot square in the chest. Now that's sacrifice.
Tobias Stephan is holding the fort down back there. The Stars' D is making sure he doesn't have to see many second-chance opportunities, alleviating Stephan on what has to be a nervous night. But he made some sweet stops on that last Wild power play, including the one on Andrew Brunette.
Great shot by Matt Niskanen to score the first power-play goal against the Wild this season. Yeah, that's crazy, isn't it? But Minnesota's special teams, on both sides but the PK especially, have been stellar.
Two strong periods for the Stars. Do we hear three?