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Penguins slip by Stars in shootout thriller

Feb 29, 2012, 11:06 PM EDT

Pittsburgh Penguins v Dallas Stars Getty Images

As you heard if you watched the telecast, the Pittsburgh Penguins-Dallas Stars game really had a little of everything.

Of course, it seemingly all really started with Eric Nystrom‘s controversial hit on Kris Letang, which rolled out the red carpet for a violent and captivating game. It wasn’t just about barbaric checks, though, as there were plenty of beautiful goals, ingenious passes and splendid saves.

For many purists, the sticking point will be that it also had a shootout, which ultimately resulted in a 4-3 win for the Penguins. Personally, I’ve softened on that subject merely to protect my own sanity, but I’d argue that only the bitterest anti-shootout folks would dispute the entertainment value of a shootout that was, well, a shootout.

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Ultimately Michael Ryder couldn’t match Pascal Dupuis‘ effort, giving Pittsburgh the victory.

Standings impact

With that win, the Penguins strengthen their position in fourth place with 79 points in 63 games played. The good news is that they’re in the driver’s seat for home ice in the first round. The bummer for Pittsburgh is that the New York Rangers have seven more points and two games in hand for the Atlantic Division title (and the first seed that comes with it right now).

The Stars failed to win their fourth game in a row – and Jamie Benn‘s return to the lineup – but they shouldn’t feel ashamed by their efforts. They stood toe-to-toe with one of the NHL’s marquee teams and once again find themselves alone in eighth place in the West with 71 points. That margin isn’t large – both the Colorado Avalanche and Los Angeles Kings have 70 points to the Stars’ 71 with 18 games remaining for all three teams – but Dallas earned itself a solid head start in that tight race.

The only real shame is that these teams barely ever get to see each other.

  1. sportsfreak13 - Feb 29, 2012 at 11:32 PM

    Great win. Hope letang is OK.

  2. polegojim - Feb 29, 2012 at 11:58 PM

    Very fast and fun game to watch.

    Also hope Letang is ok

    We’ll see if suspension is forthcoming. I think he could’ve easily pulled up.

    • itsallniceonice - Mar 1, 2012 at 2:11 AM

      I think anyone in the NHL ever could’ve easily avoided a check.

    • andrewdmlg - Mar 1, 2012 at 8:04 AM

      He could have pulled up, i think they both share alittle blame. however, when the hit was made, it looked like it was a loose puck. Letang didnt have posession and it looked like nystrom changed his angle to not even try to play the puck and only take the check, which unfortunately was directly at letangs head

      Not a dirty hit, but one that should be legislated out of the game. I think a fine or 1-game would be enough

      • polegojim - Mar 1, 2012 at 5:06 PM

        I could see it go either way and understand why he wasn’t suspended.

  3. miketoasty - Mar 1, 2012 at 8:54 AM

    “The Stars failed to win their fourth game in a row”

    I am pretty sure through the entire game, all I heard was how the Stars were trying to win 5 straight while the Penguins were trying to win 4 straight.

    After checking, the Stars had won 4 straight against: Vancouver, Minnesota, Chicago, and Montreal prior to this game, meaning they did win their fourth game in a row but not their fifth.

  4. napoleonblownapart6887 - Mar 1, 2012 at 9:22 AM

    Ott is trash. I understand trying to get under a teams skin and draw penalties – part of the game and I respect that. He even succeeded on a couple of occasions. With that said, there’s a price to pay for those tactics – when someone comes out to challenge you, you’ve gotta drop the gloves. It’s the NHL equivalent of the kid in school whos been shoving you in the back all day and then when you turn to fight him he says, “aww man I would kick your ass if the teacher wasn’t there.” Pitiful.

    Great hard hitting game (Nystrom should get A game for the hit… 5 is absurd), and was a lot of fun to watch. The kind of game where I’m dragging at work this morning because I couldn’t fall asleep when it was over – too jammed up.

  5. bcjim - Mar 1, 2012 at 10:09 AM

    The game was entertaining. No shootout, however, is thrilling on any level. They are anticlimactic abominations, win or lose.

    Just keep playing 4 v 4 OT, someone will score within 10 minutes in 90% of games is my prediction.

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