When the Dallas Stars came into the American Airlines Center for their game against the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday night they had one thing on the agenda: end the losing streak.
The last six games have been a big struggle for the Stars, losing all six of them and just not playing at the caliber that they have been playing this season. Lindy Ruff has been changing up the lines recently, which finally seemed to pay off as the Stars managed to overcome the Oilers in a 5-2 blowout win, getting the team back on track both physically and mentally.
The game got off two a quick start scoring-wise when Erik Cole managed to net his 12th goal of the season 14 seconds into the game, sending the puck past Ilya Bryzgalov. The Oilers were able to even the score soon after, but the Stars answered halfway through the period, with both Ryan Garbutt and Jamie Benn scoring goals to bring the score 3-1 in favor of the stars at the end of the first period.
The Stars came out of the second period and scored yet another early period goal, this time a minute into the 2nd by Cody “Agent Orange” Eakin. The Oilers got another puck past Kari Lehtonen, thanks to Sam Gagner, but were not able to score again during the period, ending it 4-2.
The third period saw the Stars working to close the game out and defend their lead, which is something they have had trouble with at times throughout this season. This game proved to be different, with the Stars defending the lead until the end. The Oilers pulled Bryzgalov with about a minute and a half left in play, allowing Trevor Daley to score on the empty net, his second goal of the season. Ryan Garbutt was the first star of the game, recording a goal and two assists, followed up by Jamie Benn, who managed a goal and a helper.
Overall, the Stars looked like a whole new team out on the ice in comparison to their recent play, proving that Lindy Ruff made a good change switching up the lines and working harder at practice. Despite this big win, this is only a continuation of the uphill battle the Stars have faced all season, trying to keep their heads above the water in this year’s brutal Western Conference.
More changes are yet to come as far as the lineup goes, with 18 year old rookie Valeri Nichushkin already being demoted from his first line spot, now being considered for a healthy scratch by Lindy Ruff. Ruff commented on it, saying,
“Val, he was hurting a little bit. Going into last game, I didn’t even know if he was going to play. Even in the New York game, as a young player he just seemed tired. He was getting knocked down. We’re trying to keep him fresh, drop his minutes down a little bit, get more in less time but I’d like to see him battle through it. I don’t want to take him out of the lineup. He expressed that he was tired and didn’t feel very strong, but I’d like to see him battle through it a little bit, too.”
While it is unsure if these changes will last, one thing is certain; the Stars need to keep the wins coming.