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Saturday, January 31, 2009

Navigating the Stars, Part I

Some good things are happening in Hockey Town, Texas. Before the All-Star break, the Stars beat the Panthers in Florida where Mike Ribeiro recorded his first hat-trick. After the break, they shutout the lowly Atlanta Thrashers. But that's still two points in the standings.

And now...

  • They beat the asterisk-less Red Wings after Niklas Lidstrom and Pavel Datsyuk had returned from their one game sit-downs.
  • The Stars have won a season-high 3 games in a row. Doesn't sound impressive but this team has struggled in regular season play with putting together a winning streak since the trade deadline in the 2007-2008 season. Couple this with the fact they have the 5th best winning percentage since late November in this season and you can see this team is finding its groove in offense.
  • In terms of defense, Marty Turco, the franchise face in net is returning to his previous form. In the 2006-2007 campaign, he posted 3 shutouts in the Stars' 7 games against Vancouver only to lose in the first round due to a complete lack of offensive prowess. Last season he showed his post-season play can be Cup-worthy with brilliant performances, helping lead the Stars to the Western Conference Finals where they lost in 6 games to the eventual champs, Detroit. Noted struggles to start this season and complications with a commitment to his former form, he is now aware that if this team is to make post-season play, it will be on his back. Turco never shies from a challenge and is now looking ready to take on this challenge with a shutout in his first game back after the All-Star break vs. Atlanta and his first regular season win in Detroit at Joe Louis Arena as an NHL goalie.

And tonight, the Stars go against their previous coach, Ken Hitchcock in Columbus. The coach that helped guide them to their Stanley Cup vicotry in 1999. Tonight's battle will show what the Stars plan on bringing to the ice for the remainder of the season in their bid for post-season rights.

Should be a tasty game.

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