Posted: 12:12 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 28, 2013
By Erin Bolen
If we're being honest, most of us here at Defending Big D weren't expecting much out of the Dallas Stars in their final preseason game.
After all, the Stars sent a prospect-heavy lineup up to Oklahoma City to take on the Edmonton Oilers, who brought many of their big guns down south for the trip.
But it was the younger, hungrier Stars who owned the night in the preseason finale, getting goals from four different players in a 4-0 win over the Oilers. Austin Smith, Luke Gazdic, Vernon Fiddler and Brett Ritchie had the goals for the Stars, with Ritchie's coming into an empty net.
Other than another quiet night from the power play (which went 0-2), it was a very solid all-around effort from the Stars, who outshot the Oilers 29-20 and killed off the only power play opportunity Edmonton had. Fiddler led the Stars with four shots, and Ritchie added three. Defenseman Patrik Nemeth was a team high plus-3 for the game.
Heck, you know it's been a good night when you inspire this quote from the head coach of the losing team.
"It's good to let our team know that our diapers do stink... Sometimes it's good to get a kick in the butt," (Oilers coach Dallas Eakins) said.
Many of the players featured in Friday's lineup will head down to Austin in the next few days as the Stars gear up for the regular-season opener on Oct. 3 against the Florida Panthers. Although there were definitely some hiccups with late-game collapses, the Stars did manage a 5-0-2 record in the preseason with an overtime and a shootout lossto the St. Louis Blues.
Of course, it's just preseason. The Stars have played a full lineup only once - Thursday's thrashing of the Colorado Avalanche - and have shown plenty of concerning issues with shots against and late-game intensity.
Still, it can't hurt to go into a season that was preceded by so much change on the relatively positive note of a winning preseason record. And Friday's win, led by so many young players, should give the team and fans confidence in the immediate future of the team as well.