I love Niklas Hagman.
I’m not going to let the fact that I say it all the time keep me from saying it again. I love that guy! He works so hard all the time and he’s so fast and so smart. And he’d still be great even he got half the offense, because he’s so good defensively. Another shorthanded goal for him, and Stu Barnes made the play. Great pass from Stuuuuuu.
Stephane Robidas got the first goal, a rare one for him, and it was served to him on a plate by Scott Neidermayer. I’m sure that fact will be redacted from all game summaries, in order to preserve his reputation.
Robi’s goal was also rare in that it was a power-play goal. Todd Bertuzzi was on a 4-minute double minor penalty for whacking Steve Ott on the back, and then complaining about it, I guess. Players have swung their sticks worse than that and gotten suspended. I doubt Bertuzzi will, but I can’t believe he gets to two-hand somebody on the back and then just get a high-stick penalty. Maybe the “unsportsmanlike conduct” was because of the nature of the high stick.
Steve Ott is becoming our key player when we meet the Ducks. It appears they all hate him. In the first period there was a big scrum and several penalties came from it. Otter was on the bench at the time, but he was still involved. The camera caught him yelling, “Give ‘im a punch, Robi! Give ‘im a punch!”
Brenden Morrow got two goals on either side of Hagman’s shorthanded goal. After two periods with just one goal scored, the third was full of them. After Brenden’s first goal, Hagman got his shorthander to make it 3-0. Then Schneider scored one for the Ducks less than a minute after Hagman’s, and Brenden got his second goal 45 seconds after that. It was especially sweet, since Chris Pronger was standing there in the crease, completely ineffectual. When Pronger and Neidermayer both fail, it’s a good game.
Brenden could have had another one late in the first when he jumped out of the penalty box and caught a beautiful Modano backhand pass from the opposite corner of the rink. J-S Giguere stopped him, though.
Ryan Getzlaf got one more for the Ducks, to keep his scoring streak alive, but that’s about all it did for him.
The Ducks coach pulled his goalie with two-and-a-half minutes left. That’s unusually early, but they did need two goals to tie. Hagman scored his second goal into the empty net to kill any hope the Ducks might have had. I think players downplay the empty-net goal as not being that important, but when the team that has pulled their goalie gives up the empty-netter, it pretty much means they lose. So it’s important.
The Anaheim Ducks have been playing very well lately, having seemingly shaken their Cup hangover. And, of course, Scott Niedermayer has arrived to take them to the playoffs himself. So beating them with five goals is a pretty big deal. The Ducks have everybody on board, but the Stars dressed five rookies, three of them on defense and one of them in only his second NHL game ever.
B.J. Crombeen, playing his second NHL game, looked comfortable and made some good plays and some good hits. I really like Nicklas Grossman, too. He’s been quietly going about his business as a defensemen and seems to make some very smart plays and doesn’t make rookie-type mistakes. I think his maturity and skill as a rookie is a little overshadowed by all the love for Niskanen.
Really, all the defensemen have played well in the last few games. I think they’re getting used to the idea that Zubov is out for a couple of games and are working hard to show they aren’t worried.
Razor interviewed Dave Taylor during the second intermission. He’s in charge of personnel/scouting for the Stars. He talked in general about “upgrading” the team eventually and keeping an eye on the market and such. Please don’t trade anybody! I worry that big mistakes will be made in the name of scoring punch, while we’re second in the whole conference in scoring. I don’t know why that’s not good enough.
I wouldn’t mind having Marian Hossa, but I don’t want to give up anybody for him. Let’s let some other team empty their farm system or trade their best defenseman just to rent him for two months, then we can talk to him in July.