Thanks in part to a controversial disallowed goal, the Stars topped the Washington Capitals at home Thursday night to drive their win streak to five. They find themselves this morning alone in second place in the West and atop a competitive Pacific division.â†µ
Is this a team that can sustain this success all season, fight off financial and ownership woes, and return to the playoffs after two down seasons? As nice as their perch near the top of the standings feels, we do have to remember that they're just three points away from the tenth spot and four away from twelfth. The West is closely packed, and we're only a few games past the first quarter pole.â†µ
Heading into the season we thought we knew that the roster had quality forwards and solid depth on the front line, and that has been confirmed. We hoped that Joe Nieuwendyk had found a true franchise goalie, and, more worryingly, whether Kari Lehtonen could handle a full load and stay upright. So far, so good on that issue. We knew that they lacked one or two frontline defensemen, and while that has not been disproven, the likes of Stephane Robidas and Nicklas Grossman have held their own against most top lines.â†µ
I tend to think that we're still 20 games from really knowing whether these Stars will fight for a division title or struggle to compete for a playoff spot, but at the very least they've made hockey fun to watch once again in Dallas.
Some reading on last night's game:
Bruce Boudreau on the disallowed goal, via Stepneskiâ†µ
"If you look at the friggin' call, Ovi doesn't touch the guy. The other guy slides into the goalie and takes him out of the play. The one ref is telling me that that Ovi is in the paint. Well, I want to know when that rule changed, where you can't be in the paint if you don't touch anybody and you don't interfere with anybody. Why the two refs aren't consulting each other and you want to know why I voted for a coach's challenge, there it is."â†µ