I didn’t want to go too crazy about the game against the Kings. I know I can say this now that we lost the next game in overtime, but even as the Stars were routing the Kings, while I enjoyed it, I didn’t think for one minute that it was a sign we could rout anybody else right now. Routing the Kings is what we’re supposed to do.
I won’t take away from the fact that it was a really good game. They played well from beginning to end. It seems like something you could expect, but the Kings have had their share of wins against us.
Stéphane Robidas had another great game. He had a goal and two assists and had a lot of hits and some great defensive plays. He makes some pretty impressive plays against breakaways, and I love to watch him skate around the net with a defender right on him and still get away from him.
Robi’s success this year seems to be mostly attributable to the fact that Bouche and Zubie have been out so long and he’s moved up to senior status. He plays on the power play at the point with Modano and on the penalty kill and as a result, he’s on the ice for most of the game. I think on another team without such a deep defensive corps, he’d really take off as a leader for them, kind of like Jeff Halpern is doing in Tampa.
He has 8 goals this season so far, after getting none last season. I love Robi.
Brad Richards is looking better and better. He got two assists. My jury is still out on him, though.
Loui Eriksson got another two goals and Nik Hagman broke his goal-less streak.
Still, with all the great stuff that happened in the game, they still gave up a goal with three minutes left in the game. I don’t care if we’re winning by 20, we need to get that out of our game. A third period goal is just that — a third period goal. If they don’t correct that problem, they’re going to fail.
So while it was a nice game, it was not a cure. I probably should have posted right after the game to point that out, because I really did think that at the time, but now there’s no way to prove it. Heh.
The Anaheim game, while not a win, was not that bad. I thought they might have started out a little tentative and they gave up the first goal, but I swear they play better from behind (as long as it’s not the third period, of course). The Kings got the first goal on Saturday, too.
The Ducks had the puck most of the first half but the Stars evened that up by the end of the game. I felt they could have won the game just about all the way through it, which is not how I usually feel. The shootout (which, over time, I have learned to LOATHE) was not our best showing, although Brad just ate Jiggy up with his goal.
The good news is that we clinched a playoff spot — it’s got to be the latest in the season we’ve clinched in a long time.
The bad news is:
• still only three wins since the trade;
• still only two wins in February;
• likely to face Anaheim in the first round (not that I think we can’t win that series, I just don’t look forward to having to watch the Ducks play hockey for several games in a row).