Saturday, January 23, 2010

Stars shutout the Monsters, win 3-0

The Stars ended their 6 game road slump with an exclamation point this afternoon in Cleveland.

After getting outscored early in last night's game against the Monsters, the Stars came out like a blur. In the first 10 minutes of the game, the Stars accumulated a 10-1 shot advantage. The first penalty of the game was called on Lake Erie at 10:07 and the Stars capitalized just12 seconds later. Perttu Lindgren put one home with assists from Beaudoin and Hutchinson, and the Stars were up 1-0. Shots evened up through the rest of the period to 12-10 Stars, as the Stars yielded two minor penalties, which overlapped late in the period. The Stars killed both of them, including a short 16 second 5-on-3 advantage for the Monsters. Late in the period, some good work by Francis Wathier down low got the Stars on the man advantage that overlapped the intermission.

It would be the first of three power plays for the Stars in the second period (technically). The Stars again won the shots battle in the period but did not score on the power play. Late in the second period, the Stars got good pressure on the Monsters and scored even strength. Maxime Fortunus came down from the point to the right half-wall and blasted a shot past Sauer. At first, it looked like it might be Colton Sceviour 's goal. However, he was simply occupying Sauer in front. The shot from Fortunus went off the skate of the Monsters defender in front of the net for a 2-0 lead.

The rest of the period was relatively quiet until the last second. After killing a penalty in the last two minutes of the period, the Stars' Andrew Hutchinson shot a puck in on Sauer harmlessly, and it looked like the period was over. However, away from the puck, Brent Fahey crushed Francis Wathier into the boards with a cross-check as the buzzer went off. Wathier lay prone on the ice for almost a minute but left under his own power. Fahey was assessed a major penalty for cross-checking and a game misconduct for the hit. Wathier did return for the third period.

With a 5 minute man advantage staring them in the face, the Stars sputtered and couldn't get anything setup for 4 minutes. The advantage ended as Aaron Gagnon took a hooking minor at 4:02. When given a 5 minute major advantage, you have to score. It's just one of those immutable hockey rules, like the fact that you have to score if you have a 5-on-3 longer than 60 seconds.

The rest of the period was uneventful until the Monsters pulled their goalie rather early (3 or 4 minutes remaining). It is difficult to tell exact timing because there is no score overlay on the AHL Live webcasts. Todd Ford came up big on a lot of good chances from the Monsters. The Monsters would take a boarding penalty with 1:46 remaining. This forced the faceoff into Lake Erie's zone and put Sauer back in the net. The Monsters couldn't get it together, and Perttu Lindgren put in an empty netter to seal the deal at 3-0. This was Texas's first road win in 6 games.

Todd Ford was solid in net and followed up his first AHL shutout against San Antonio last week with his second shutout against Lake Erie today. He was the #1 star of the game and definitely deserved it. He stopped 26 in the game including 11 in the final period when the Monsters really poured it on. This was a great quality game. The Stars got great special teams play, 2 PP goals (one was an empty netter) and 4/4 on the penalty kill. They put a Star in front of the net and it paid off when Colton Sceviour's presence distracted Sauer enough for Fortunus to blast one in. And finally, they had amazing goaltending out of Todd Ford.

Stars are back in action again on Tuesday against the Milwaukee Admirals. The Admirals and the Stars currenlty co-lead the division following today's win. Watch the AHL scoreboard tonight to see if the Admirals beat the Rampage and move past the Stars coming into Tuesday's game.

Tonight's lines:
Wathier-Morin-Rallo
Korostin-Gagnon-Sceviour
McCulloch-Lindgren-Beaudoin
Gazdic-DeVergilio-Shelast

Stafford-Jancevski
Fortunus-Vishnevskiy
Hutchinson-Ludwig

Ford

Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Wilson and Krahn (injured)
Tousignant and Stephenson (scratched)
Peters, Sawada, and Lukowich (NHL call ups)

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