Jan 12, 2010, 6:20 PM EDT
I've had about enough of anything resembling a star coming out of Dallas. Two-plus weeks of hell at the hands of the Cowboys (or more accurately, the Eagles), spitting, jumbotrons, megalomaniac owners… the hate is as strong as ever, and I think we could all use a little distance from teams originating deep in the heart of Texas.
The Flyers, the only salvation we have left for 2009-'10 seasons, host the Dallas … Stars … tonight. Let's hope the outcome doesn't involve the word "embarrassing" as pertains to the Philly side.
All indications are that the night should go well for the home team. The Stars have fewer wins and straight losses than the Flyers, yet they've played one more game. Like the Flyers last season, Dallas is losing a lot after the regulation horn has sounded, inflating their points total by way of 11 overtime losses and the NHL's quirky scoring system. Overall, they're pretty mediocre, and January hasn't been kind to them.
The only Stars win in all of 2010 (gonna use that one for a while) came at the hands of the Islanders, helping the Isles keep pace with the Flyers despite the surge we've seen from our guys. As we'd expect from a team with a negative points differential, more than half of the Stars are in the minus category, including their leading scorer, Brad Richards. Dallas is 10th in goals against (Flyers still hovering at 14th), and Marty Turco's GAA is unremarkable at 2.66. Definitely not the scariest numbers considering that the Flyers have been scoring in bunches lately (7th in goals scored per game, and that's after a horrible string of offensive ineptitude).
Still, while stats are fun to play with and tease out in hopes of predicting the future, there are at least 60 minutes of hockey to be played tonight. The most telling stat of them all usually doesn't make its way into the sortable categories, and that is which team played consistently well from beginning to end. Even a one-period lapse can result in a big hole, and we'd hate to see the current Flyers run be snapped by lackadaisical play.
Michael Leighton will start yet again, with the team taking full advantage of a soft schedule this week to allow Ray Emery to have a little more time to ensure he's healthy. Emery will be the backup though, and Brian Boucher will watch from my house (we finally got that surround sound thing figured out, so it's cool).
Also, happy 22nd birthday to Claude Giroux. Jesus I'm old.
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