When things are going your way, everything seems so easy.
The Stars are in that zone right now.
Just about anything they want to try, they're succeeding at.
Karlis Skrastins made an unlikely pinch Tuesday against Montreal and was rewarded with just the 31st goal of his career. Jamie Benn was set free on a breakaway and scored his second short-handed goal of the year. The Stars received their first power play of the game late in the second period, and yet found a way to score 46 seconds into it.
Whatever was a problem earlier with this team, it just isn't a problem anymore. Slow starts? Nope. Porous penalty kill? Nope. Hamstring power play? Nope. Nervous defensemen? Nope.
It's shocking, really.
We had a legitimate concern early in the season that teams would attack the Stars with a vicious forecheck because it simply appeared Dallas was outmatched on the blueline. But on Monday, Montreal tried to outskate the Stars and put pressure on the Stars, and it looked for all of the world from the press box that Dallas simply passed around the Canadiens' speed. The defensemen and forwards were in synch, teammates supported teammates, and the puck seemed to move smoothly out of the backend for the majority of the game _ and with utter ease for what seemed like the first 15 minutes.
Yes, Montreal broke through a few seams on the attack and Kari Lehtonen had to come up with big saves, but Dallas for the most part played with an incredible amount of poise.
And remember, this was a Montreal team that was just cussed out by its coaches and wanted badly to make a statement. And this was a Stars team that was in the middle of a very difficult part of the schedule and clearly could have wanted to take a ``breather,'' in the first game home after some extended road time.
But the Stars didn't. They understood the situation, they prepared, and they reacted properly _ and they get rewarded for all of that.
As happens at this time of year in North Texas, folks come home for the holidays and look for something to do. The Stars always try to load the schedule with home games to take advantage. They have five of six at American Airlines Center that started on Tuesday.
So before the second biggest home crowd of the season (17,805), the Stars had a chance to make an impression and sell this new ``brand'' of hockey. They could have struck out, but instead they hit it out of the park and sent a lot of people home happy. That can only help get people excited, and it can only help the circle that pushes the Stars' season forward.
``People don't realize how much that means to us,'' said forward Steve Ott, who had two assists and a ton of energy on Tuesday. ``As players, you're going to react to the energy in the building, and when they come out and they make the building loud, it definitely affects us. It was a great crowd, and we hope to have more like it. It just makes everything more fun.''
In a year where the Stars are having their smallest crowds ever at AAC, that is a very big deal. They have a chance to make some converts in the next couple of weeks. Tuesday was a very good start.