AULD PROVING HIMSELF A RELIABLE BACK-UP FOR DALLAS
In his first full game on Dallas ice on Thursday, goalie Alex Auld stole the show for a 3-2 Dallas win against Colorado. The Stars’ goal made several crowd-gasping saves, stopping 32 of Colorado’s 34 shots.
“I thought he played really well for us tonight,” said Stars Head Coach Marc Crawford. “He allowed us to weather the storm and it’s our third game in three nights, so maybe we had some tired people out there that needed to get their legs into the game. I thought he played a real solid game tonight. He was big in the net, and I think Marty’s having an effect on him too, because he’s starting to handle the puck better than I’ve seen him handle the puck before, and put it in the right places. A real strong performance from Alex tonight, and we definitely needed it early.”
Tonight’s performance shows that the Stars can rely on Auld to step in a play well whenever Turco needs a break. When asked how many games he is expected to play this season, Auld says he doesn’t really know but will be ready to step in whenever he’s asked.
“The biggest thing is just to come in and be ready when you’re called upon, and I think we have a pretty good tandem in Marty and I,” Auld said. “I think it’s a lot of depth in the system. I want to push and challenge, and just be a great teammate, and I think Marty and I together can do a lot of really good things. I think when you have choice and when you have two goalies that are playing well, you don’t have to overwork a guy, so everybody is fresh.”
Turco has already admitted he played too many games last year, leaving him without the same edge he’s shown in previous seasons. With Auld in net, the Stars hope Turco will be able to return to his high level of play and lead the Stars back to the playoffs.
The Stars got off to a slow start offensively, taking over seven minutes to register their first shot on goal, while Auld was tested early and often by Colorado shooters; by the time Dallas took a shot, he had already made nine stops for Dallas.
Dallas opened scoring when James Neal registered his second goal of the preseason at 12:51 of the first period. Brad Richards sent a pass from the boards in the Dallas zone to a streaking Loui Eriksson at mid-ice. After breaking in to the Colorado end, Eriksson dropped the puck to Stephane Robidas at the point who took a shot that deflected off Colorado defender Kyle Cumiskey’s skate and then Neal’s skate for the goal.
Following the draw at center ice, David Koci had a few chances in front of the Dallas net, but Auld made solid saves and covered up the puck to keep the game at 1-0.
Colorado ran into trouble after taking two penalties just 14 seconds apart. The Stars capitalized on the opportunity when Eriksson scored his third goal of the preseason with a 5-on-3 man advantage. From the right side circle, Neal sent a pass to Eriksson who was waiting on the backdoor and redirected the puck into the open net.
Neal nearly had his second goal of the night at 6:15 of the second. He stole the puck in the neutral zone and shot a hard wrister from the left circle that hit the post.
Halfway through the period, Richards picked up the puck off a Colorado defender just inside the Colorado blue line, passed it back to the slot where Eriksson sent a wrist shot high glove side on Budaj for his second goal of the night. Eriksson is now tied first with goals (4) this preseason along with Stars winger Jamie Benn.
Auld continued to shine as T.J. Galiardi broke into the zone at 7:47 of the second period, stick-handled around defenseman Jeff Woywitka and took a shot. Auld sprawled across the ice to make the save, sending the puck to the right of the net.
With Garrett Stafford sitting in the box for hooking, the Avalanche broke through on Auld by converting their first power play opportunity of the night at 12:58 of the second. Marek Svatos notched his second goal of the preseason by scoring from the bottom of the left circle.
Fabian Brunnstrom looked sure to move the Stars lead back to three when he took a shot from the left side at 15:45 but hit the far post.
Savtos had a chance for his second goal of the night after a Steve Ott penalty for interference at 18:02 of the second. Hensick passed to Svatos who spun around to throw off the defender. Svatos took a shot in front, but Auld hugged the near-side post to make the save, keeping the Stars ahead by two.
The third period was filled with end-to-end play, although Colorado was able to fire off 10 shots to Dallas’ two.
Tom Wandell intercepted a pass in the Dallas zone and broke away towards the Colorado net, forcing defenseman Brett Clark to take a tripping penalty at 9:25.
Scott Hannan pulled Colorado within a goal, with a 4-on-4 tally at 9:39. After a face-off in the Colorado end following the penalty by Clark, Colorado skated down the ice where Galiardi dropped the puck in the high slot for Scott Hannan who sent a slap shot into the top right corner of the net.
Auld, again, came up big with a spectacular splits save on Chris Durno with just under four minutes to play to keep Dallas in the lead.
Budaj was pulled in the final minute to give the Avs a six-on-four man-advantage in effort to tie the score and send the game into overtime. The effort was unsuccessful following clutch clears by Richards and then a hooking penalty by Duchene.
The line of Eriksson,Richards and Neal, once again provided the offense for Stars. So far this preseason, the trio has combined for seven goals and nine assists.
-- The Texas Stars (AHL) defeated the San Antonio Rampage 2-1 in a preseason game on Thursday night at In San Antonio. Stars’ goalie Richard Bachman made 30 saves for the victory, shutting out the Rampage for the first 52:13 of regulation. The Texas Stars will make their Cedar Park Center debut on Sunday at 3:00 pm in a rematch with San Antonio.
-- The Dallas Stars will host an Open House Saturday at American Airlines Center. Watch the Stars practice, check out available seats for the 2009-10 season, and skate with the Ice Girls! Receive a free pair of tickets for coming out! Click here for more information