You can roll out all sorts of cliche's on this one, and I'll probably buy into all of them.
The Stars were not a good team tonight, and yet they somehow found a way to win 4-3 in overtime. So is this an example of good teams find a way to win even when they aren't playing their best? Is this an example of finally realizing they were the better team and stepping it up at the end? Is this an example of learning a valuable lesson without too much cost?
Probably all of the above.
The Stars have not been good at home, they vowed to put out a great effort, and they fell completely flat in the first period. It could have been that they didn't take the 1-7-2 Maple Leafs seriously enough. It could have been that they had dead legs from just completing seven games in 11 nights and then taking three days without a game. It could have been that they missed the energy of suspended winger Steve Ott.
Whatever it was, though, I fully expect that they won't have the same problem Friday against Florida.
``We talked in the room after that there are lessons to be learned from games like this,'' Crawford said. ``It shows me that even though they didn't have their best stuff, they had enough to find a push. I think that speaks volumes to the group.''
What also speaks volumes is the fact Crawford kept throwing out his most effective players in the third period when his team needed a comeback. The Wathier-Sutherby-Barch line took a seat (after trying to create energy early) and the Ribeiro and Richards lines were rolled out. Ribeiro came through with an amazing redirection goal to tie the game, and then Richards and James Neal finished things off with the OT winner.
Inbetween, Marty Turco came up with some big saves when he had to have them and Stephane Robidas played 26:15, had four shots on goal, four hits and four blocked shots. He added an assist on the game-winning goal..
So did we learn anything from their lessons? I think we learned that this team is far from perfect, like most teams in the NHL. I think we learned that this team is better than it was a couple of weeks ago, when it couldn't raise its game in OT situations.
And that is a positive sign.
There still is much work to do, and the players and coaches know it. They are in the process of doing that work. But to be in the process and be 6-2-4 is a very good thing.
It makes the lessons infintely easier to learn.