Stars players and fans were on a high following the Winter Classic on New Year’s Day.
A triumphant 4-2 come from behind victory against the Nashville Predators, the Winter Classic had pretty much everything a dramatic hockey game needs.
An ejection early on (Corey Perry losing much of the goodwill he has built up with Stars fans with a careless elbow on Ryan Ellis), and the resultant 5-minute major lead to the Stars being 2-0 down early in the game. Through the second and third periods, however, the Stars dominated for long stretches and a wrister by Blake Comeau late in the second gave the Stars momentum heading into the third. Goals by Janmark, Radulov, and Sekera followed to give the Stars the win.
With all the hoopla and drama surrounding the Winter Classic, it wouldn’t be surprising if the Stars struggled in their subsequent game.
They did come out slowly against the Red Wings conceding a goal in the first, off of an unlucky bounce from Miro Heiskanen’s skate in front of the net. The Red Wings of this new decade are not the Red Wings of old, however, languishing at the bottom of the National Hockey League. The Red Wings aren’t just the worst team in the league this season, they are one of the worst teams of the cap era, having only won 10 games this season and entering the game against the Stars with a truly dismal -68 goal difference.
It quickly became apparent why. The Wings had virtually no attacking presence and not much made an impression defensively either. The Stars scored 4 unanswered to win the game, seemingly without ever truly getting out of second gear, and notably including goals from Joe Pavelski on his 1000th NHL game and perhaps more surprisingly Andrej Sekera, his second of the season and his second goal of consecutive games.
With the win against the Red Wings, the Stars managed to neatly avoid a game that could so easily have been a trap. Coming off the excitement of the Winter Classic it would have been all too easy to slip up against a team the Stars, riding high in a playoff position in the tight Central Division, really should be defeated with ease at home.
The Stars instead came out and played a solid, if unspectacular, game in all three zones defeating the Red Wings and setting themselves up well for a week-long road trip against all three California teams.
Featured Image: AP Photo/Brandon Wade