Stars Show Grit After Turbulent 24 Hours
It was just 24 hours prior when chaos broke out on the Stars bench as forward Rich Peverley collapsed after taking his regular shift. Fast forward to St. Louis last night and the Stars had the team with the best record in the NHL staring them down, and the Phoenix Coyotes clawing at their tenuous grasp on the 8th and final playoff position in the West. An important game? You bet. And a huge 3-2 overtime win for the Stars.
With some reassurance from Peverley himself that he was doing OK, the Stars took the ice with a singular focus, to collect two points. Even though it was his third appearance since joining the Stars, goalie Tim Thomas, still sporting his red Florida Panthers pads and helmet, was playing his first full game (previously he spelled Kari Lehtonen after he was concussed Saturday night, and he started Monday’s game which was postponed in the first period after Peverley’s medical emergency). Thomas turned away 28 of the 30 shots he faced and was solid throughout.
Colton Sceviour, called up yesterday morning from the Texas Stars to replace Peverley, scored a power play goal in the first period on the Blues newly acquired goalie Ryan Miller, who lost for the first time in his 5 games with the Blues. Antoine Roussel scored on a breakaway early in the third to give the Stars a short-lived 2-1 lead, before Roman Polak whistled one by Thomas less than three minutes later to tie the game at 2, setting the stage for Jamie Benn’s winner in OT.
To put in perspective how tough its been to beat the Blues this season, they were riding an 18-0-1 record against the Central Division. Make that now 18-0-2. The character this team showed last night is impressive to say the least. The leaders, starting with head coach Lindy Ruff and captain Jamie Benn, were able to get the team focused on the mission at hand, no easy feat I’m sure after what they witnessed the night before. But that game is now in the rear view mirror and its time to turn their attention towards Friday night’s match-up against the Flames at the AAC. With Phoenix only 1 point behind them in the fight for the final playoff position, there’s no time to relish victories – it’s on to the next battle.