I thought Alex Goligoski really struggled at times on Saturday, sending some pucks right out in front of Kari Lehtonen, missing some assignments in the defensive zone and losing the puck for a potential game-losing short-handed goal in the final five minutes.
But the fact that he was able to often recover from the giveaways with blocked shots, hustle back into the picture on missed assignments, and assist on the game-winning power play goal just seconds after the short-handed attempt against, you kind of have to like what you see with the new guy.
Bottom line, he can skate, he can shoot and he can make smart decisions at high speed. And all of that is important for the Stars.
What must be reminded about Goligoski is he has not had this role before. He was a role-player on the Penguins. He was a guy who didn't have to take the most pressure-filled shifts on the power play or take the most ice time against the other team's best players.
And the Stars expect that ``No. 1 responsibility'' of him right now.
It might be too much of an expectation, but why not test him and see if he can handle it? It's funny, but a lot of people hammered the Stars on this trade, because they are assigning a value to Goligoski on what he has done in the past. The Stars gave up James Neal and Matt Niskanen because they assign a value to what Goligiski can be in the future.
And that future is now for the Stars. He played a team-high 24:35 on Saturday. He played a team-high 29 shifts (tied with Jamie Benn). He does things the Stars need done (like carrying the puck, running the power play and getting a shot through a crowd), and so he will be out there...a lot.
But it is an adjustment for him, and he will probably need some time to have some ups and downs.
Here's Goligoski on his ability to bounce back.
``Things aren't always going to be perfect, everyone knows that,'' Goligoski said. ``You've got to put things behind you. It's not always going to be pretty, it's not
always going to be perfect, but wins are wins.''
And here's Marc Crawford:
"You can see where Goligoski's speed and ability to join the rush just adds creativity to your offensive game,'' Stars coach Marc Crawford said. ``He made a good pass to initially start it, he followed the play, and then made a quality pass to Loui Eriksson to put it home."
The funny thing about Goligoski is he fits with this team. They have had uneven performances at times this season, and have often found a way to come up with the big goal or the right save at the right time. You don't have to be perfect, you just have to stick with it. Kari Lehtonen did that again. He left a juicy rebound out in the second period and had it drilled into the net. He said he felt horrible after that. But then he came up big in the third period after the Stars had taken the lead. He was a rock while protecting a one-goal cushion, and he walked away with his second straight win.
It's kind of what the Stars have been all year.
Can they keep it up? They have looked a lot closer to the team they were earlier in the season in these past two games. They stay in the game, and then they spring when the chances present themselves. Of course, playing that way while two huge points are on the line every single night for pretty much the rest of the season could get fairly nerve-wracking.
But it could also be quite a bit fun.
Look at how Goligoski's game turned out Saturday, he seemed to be pretty happy at the end.