(I'm sorry, but something about that photo is just hilarious.)
With twelve games on the schedule today, we're going to go ahead and call last night's action the appetizer. And what an entertaining appetizer it was. Think spinach and artichoke dip, but where the spinaches and artichokes hated each other and kept fighting and verbally abusing one another.
All The NHL Scores
Stars 3, Ducks 1
Prior to Friday's game, we presented five questions regarding the night's action. Don't worry, you can relax now: We've got the answers right here.
1. How will Alex Goligoski play after his healthy scratch in Edmonton?
Fairly well, actually. Goose ended up with two assists (though both were secondaries) and an even plus/minus on the night. He still looked a bit lacking in confidence with the puck at times but only gave it away once. Overall it was a solid return for the Stars No. 1 defenseman.
2. Will Jonas Hiller take advantage of his opportunity with Viktor Fasth on the bench tonight?
I'm going to go ahead and give Hiller an "incomplete". He faced 16 shots in the first period and only allowed the puck past him twice, both times with his team shorthanded (thanks a lot, Brad Staubitz). The second penalty kill was a lengthy five minute kill and he only allowed a single goal. Hiller suffered a "lower body injury" late in the first and Bruce Boudreau decided to pull him rather than risk further injury. He'll apparently be good to go next time around but he certainly helped his case with a strong, albeit short, effort.
I admit I was probably too harsh on Bryan Allen by jumping on the Anaheim Calling bandwagon. But past games aside, the Allen and Lovejoy pairing certainly passed the eyeball test for me. They looked solid in their own end (Lovejoy did a good job facilitating the transition game) and even helped pitch in offensively from time to time. Their blank scoresheet belies the nature of their performance: Nothing flashy, but solid.
4. How badly will Loui Eriksson school the Ducks tonight?
If you count two points and a game-sealing goal as "schooling", then yes, Loui Eriksson schooled the Anaheim Ducks. (In hindsight, I need to cut down on my superlatives.) Eriksson put in another great game in the hard-work category but finally tallied a goal for the first time in four games. You could sense the relief when he potted it.
5. Can the Stars finally outshoot their opponent tonight?
My God, they actually did it. The Stars outshot Anaheim 28-21, but that doesn't really say much considering how the shots were distributed by period. After getting outshot 16-7, Anaheim completely dominated Dallas offensively with a 13-5 shot advantage in the second. That tends to happen when Ryan Getzlaf & Co. get to attack Vernon Fiddler & Co. for two whole minutes in the Stars' zone.
What moment from Friday night's games will be making headlines in the coming days?
(Also, a young Dustin Brown was called for diving during the game, but I digress.)
So that's why this fight is such a strange thing to watch:
Stat of the Night
Dallas won its 758th game since moving to Texas 19 seasons ago, equaling the win total they had in 26 seasons as the Minnesota North Stars.
But at least Minnesota has the Wild, right?