That wasn’t a great game. I’m certainly willing to admit that. The Stars looked a little sluggish and they stood around a lot. They started out well, but the 5-on-3 did them in.
There’s been plenty of talk about that around here, but I still can’t get over that call. I know it wasn’t what lost the game for them, but it did change its track. The referee called Mark Fistric for roughing when he didn’t do anything that isn’t done a thousand times in a game, just some pushing. Steve Ott came over to join, and got a few free chucks at the guy’s chin (was it Holmstrom? I’m too lazy to go look), but the ref had already called Fistric by then. He wasn’t mistaking Fistric for Ott. A replay showed him tap Fistric on the shoulder before Ott even got over there.
The other referee issue I’m going to mention is regarding “Toe-Moss” Holmstrom. He is fully and completely standing inside the crease and blocking Turco from moving, let alone seeing anything on one of the goals. Goalie screening is a fact of life, but the line is drawn on the ice already. What Holmstrom does is interference. The blue part is for the goalie. The officials office even sent out a memo, apparently, about it, but forgot during last night’s game.
There are good penalties to take in a game, that break up a good scoring chance. I wouldn’t have a problem if Marty took a couple on Holmstrom, since the refs are okay with the way Holmstrom and Franzen play in the crease.
Aside from all that, though, the Stars didn’t play a very good game. Detroit was able to stifle the Ribeiro line most of the game and, well, the Richards and Modano lines, too. They played fairly respectably at even strength but not at all respectably on the penalty kill. The goal on the 5-on-3 was pretty much inevitable (that’s why penalty calls about stuff after the whistle should be more carefully considered), but they should have been able to kill more of the others.
The Stars have a much better game than that, and I think they can bring it in Game 2. They’ll have to.
Let’s look at the big picture for a minute. The Dallas Stars are in the Western Conference Finals!
I was planning to be happy about that alone, and take any more success they might get as icing on the cake. I’m still trying to do that. Game 1 was a bummer, but there’s still plenty of hockey left to be played and things could be much different by the time it’s all over. The Stars can hang with any team. They just need to keep that in mind.