What a way to start a three game divisional road-trip.
The Dallas Stars took a 3-1 decision against the Anaheim Ducks last night in what – for the Stars at least – was a masterclass in solid defensive play and counter attacking. These boys are starting to resemble the Stars teams of old where opposition players were invited to keep the puck as much as they wanted in their own end but beyond their own blue line, they’d come up against a wall.
Discipline was a huge part of this win but the ultimate factor was once again Kari Lehtonen who not only has his first ever six game winning streak but has gone about it with an air of humility and quiet dignity not seen in this league for a long time. Traditionally difficult to catch for interviews, the odd occasion where he’s offered tid-bits to the media so far, he’s put every effort down to a team one and piled credit on the men in front of him. Let me tell you folks, don’t be fooled by that. Once again the Stars were outshot 34-19 last night. That’s 33 saves this guy made against some of the most ruthless scorers in the NHL. 33 times he plucked the puck out of the air and not once did he look under pressure. Calm, assured and arguably the coolest head in the league right now.
No pressure then for game 2 of this trip which sees us against the perennially underachieving Los Angeles Kings. Still a comparatively young side, the Kings seem to crack under serious pressure but again, we’re talking about a team with some serious fire-power and their own hot goalie in Jonathan Quick. Despite the decent start to the season their team’s having, many Kings fans are still preoccupied with the deal Drew Doughty (eventually) signed right at the start of the season rather than any on ice thoughts. Sure it’s significant but one player should not constitute the thought process behind the whole team.
Someone should really tell Kari Lehtonen that.