Dave Tippett's message to his team in practice has been that work has to come before the teams skill. Dallas began the game working hard which led to them winning the individual puck battles and leading in shots 10-4 at the 11:30 mark of the 1st period. Dallas was unable to ratchet up the intensity when they had to though. They got up by a goal and for whatever reason they started to get outclassed in the shot department to the tune of 23-10 over the next 40 minutes. Dallas's 3rd period letdown's are starting to really become an issue. The team is only 1 point ahead of San Jose, and the Sharks have 2 games in hand. If Dallas doesn't get it together they could be in danger of dropping to the 5th seed and opening the 1st round in Anaheim.
* Matt Niskanen left the game with an undisclosed injury
* Theodore is now 2-8-3 all time vs Dallas in the regular season
* Tippett is now 11-6-2 all time vs Colorado
1.Ott Richards Lehtinen
2.Hagman Modano Miettinen
3.Morrow Ribeiro Eriksson
4.Barnes Peterson Winchester
Player(s) of the game: Peter Forsberg. Peter had 2 nice assists today, and played a solid game.
Dallas wasn't bad early. They had some pep in their collective steps. At the 8:56 mark Antti Miettinen scored on a large rebound that Jose Theodore gave up off of a point shot from Stephane Robidas. A minute later Steve Ott came close to scoring. Another minute passed and Brad Richards rang a shot off the post. Robidas smashed Forsberg into the boards at the 12:42 mark with easily Dallas' best hit of the game, and for some reason John Michael Liles thought he should try to fight Robidas for it. Robidas would come back for more 4 minutes later. He drilled Forsberg again which prompted him to drill Loui Eriksson 50 feet away from the play. No call. The first period ended with a 3 shot flurry from Colorado that Turco turned away with relative ease.
The 2nd period had some pace to it, but nothing terribly exciting happened. Mike Ribeiro made a nice pass to Brenden Morrow to draw a penalty at the 5:43 mark. The ensuing powerplay was less than great. That really sums up the 2nd: less than great.
The 3rd period though was much more entertaining. 5 minutes in Jeff Finger got away with an unnecessary hit on Morrow. He put Morrow into the bench when the puck was 15 feet away and Morrows head racked the bar. He only got 2 minutes, but as Razor pointed out the NHL instituted the "Tootoo rule" to allow for a 5 minute interference call. You could argue either side on that play, but with the violent nature of if and with Finger driving Morrow into the bench I know which way I'd have ruled.
As the powerplay ended the Avs attacked with Scott Hannan of all people going to the net. Forsberg took a shot with Hannan posted up in front of Norstrom. Hannan deflected it home. My question though is why didn't Norstrom move Hannan away from the net? At the 10:12 mark Colorado was on the powerplay again. The puck was down low and Trevor Daley committed early to block the passing lane. Mattias Norstrom went to attack the puck carrier leaving 2 guys covering 1 while the Stars were shorthanded. Why? The puck made its way back to Forsberg who sent a deft pass into Andrew Brunette through the vacated passing lane that Norstrom had occupied. That was all Colorado would need to send Dallas to their 3rd straight loss.
I'm not trying to pick on Norstrom, but lately it seems like anytime anything goes wrong he's on the ice. He was at the center of both Colorado goals this game. Against Chicago he kicked a puck into his own goal on Marty Turco. Dallas needs to score more than 1 goal to win, but how can they expect to win a championship when they rely so heavily on a guy that is bringing so little to the table these days? For those wondering, Norstrom had 22:02 of ice time today which put him 2nd on the Stars behind Robidas.