Tonight marked the first night the Dallas Stars looked like the Dallas Stars everyone is used to seeing; minus giving up 37 shots on net. And to solve that problem they had Marty Turco at his finest. He stole the game away for the Stars and did not give the home town Flames much all night.
The Flames stuck to their game plan all night, getting pressure on the forecheck and cycling the puck, and cycling the puck, and cycling the puck...
The problem was, real scoring chances were few and far between and when they did get an opportunity, they would miss the net wide or Turco would come up with a great save. Turco didn't look like a goalie with a .868 SP and a 3.68 GAA, he looked like the Turco who had 5 straight 30 win seasons. He snapped up rebounds and made numerous key saves to keep the Stars in the lead. Not to mention he hancles the puck better than any goalie not named Martin Brodeur, and even then he might handle better than Brody. The Flames did their darndest to keep it away from him most of the night but whenever given the slightest second he would fire a clearing pass out harder and more accurate than most Defensemen ever thought possible.
Looking at the Flames tonight, they did not necessarily play a bad game of hockey, they just could not thwart the Turco fortress. This might be due in part to the lack of PP time the team had all night. One man advantage to speak of all night spaced out over the 1st and 2nd stanzas produced the momentum the Flames needed and the following shift David Moss tied the game up at one. The crowd was into it, the Flames were flying, shift after shift Calgary was pressuring in the Stars end but could not find the net. Then a defensive lapse and Fabian Brunnstrom( supposedly the best player not in the NHL last year, or so you may have heard) went through the Flames resident Pylons of the night, in this case Dion Phaneuf and Mark Giordano, and took the lead at 7:38 of the 2nd. This killed the Flames momentum, and the crowd was totally taken out of the game.
On a night when the most talked about player was not even on the ice, Sean Avery, his target earlier in the day Dion Phaneuf had his head in the clouds most of the night. A horrible minus 3 on the night and a key reason for the first goal, did not clear the puck when given the chance, and the 2nd goal, see above twin pylon comment. A game the young talented D man would most like to soon forget, but one that will help him learn down the road. If he thought dating a Hollywood actress would be all glitz and glamour, I guess he did not fully look into what kind of baggage it could possibly bring, and one can only guess how it affected him mentally? Phaneuf, who is still only 23 years old remember, looked like a 23 year old kid tonight. And I guess some nights, until he really matures Flames fans have to expect that. He is going to make mistakes(insert throwing it up the middle in your own zone) he is going to be selfish(trying to go through 2 Dallas Stars in the neutral zone when two of his teammates are open for the pass) and he is simply not always going to be the All-Star that he is made out to be. He has got a long way to go, and hopefully he keeps maturing and getting better, especially in the defensive zone. Right now in my mind Robyn Regehr is 5 times more valuable to the success of the Calgary Flames than Dion Phaneuf is. Phaneuf has the potential to be a great defenseman but he has a longer road ahead than some might think.
Newman on the Flames