That was an important win for the Stars on home ice, in front of a sellout crowd, after a long lockout.
Jaromir Jagr introduced himself to the Dallas crowd in supreme fashion, finishing the night with 4 points from 2 goals and 2 assists. Jagr looked completely in form, charging hard beyond Phoenix’s defense on many occasions and opening up lanes for teammates when the defense stuck with him. I don’t doubt that his work in the KHL during the lockout kept him sharp.
Another 40 year old new addition to the team, Ray Whitney, also had a great night. Ray contributed 2 points from 1 goals and 1 assist.
Aside from the new additions, the Eakin-Smith-Garbutt line looked, dare I say, pesky. They held the puck in the offensive end and won many loose pucks.
While the game was extremely free-flowing in the first period, the referees remembered they had whistles and used them in the 2nd period. The Stars were on the penalty kill 5 times in the period, and paid the price twice.
The Stars’ defensive inexperience has fans worried, and their fears are not misplaced. The Stars gave up 40 shots, and Jordie Benn looked very uncertain of himself. He played tentatively and gave up a bad goal when his errant pass left Kari Lehtonen hanging out to dry. Benn didn’t have much time to wallow in sorrow, as Gulutzan put him right back out there on the next shift. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Brenden Dillon played aggressively and effectively. Luckily for the Stars, Kari Lehtonen was up to the task, stopping 37 shots on the night.
The Dallas Star who is most pleased with this result might not have been in the building tonight. Had the Stars lost this game, the fans would have definitely been thinking about what Jamie Benn could have contributed to the team. Now, Jagr and Whitney have the spotlight and the media’s focus, and both sides of the negotiations aren’t feeling as much heat as they would if the Stars lost tonight. Once Benn does join the team, it’ll be very exciting to see him skating with Whitney and the legendary Jagr.