A Little...Push: Hawks at Stars Preview/Pregame Thread/Speed Date

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GAMETIME: 7:30pm Central


For the four people in Texas not watching the Horns: Defending Big D

"...just like gravity. All it needs is a little....PUSH!"

That's where I'm at with the Stars right now. Considering they're coached by Marc Crawford, and after their knife-to-the-balls loss to the Kings on Sunday, I get the feeling the Stars are teetering on the edge if not already over it. Considering the way they got their hair pulled (in the good way) by the Sharks at home, one night after the Sharks were Vick's Vapo Rubbed here, maybe already gives you an answer.

They're also missing some cogs. Though they claim Adam Burish being out is a big deal, we here know better. But Loui Eriksson looking like he might not make the contest is. Eriksson always finds a way against the Hawks, and not having him around only helps the cause. It doesn't give Brad Richards the outlets he needs to flourish. With the trade of James Neal for Alex Goligoski, combined with Eriksson being out, the Stars all of the sudden look a little thin on the wings. There's still Jamie Benn, otherwise known as James Neal Lite, and badass Brendan Morrow to deal with. But they're depth on the flanks has been eroded.

But not at center. Brad Richards-Mike Ribeiro (twat)-Steve Ott is enough for anyone to deal with. Richards is just back from his own bout with the brown brain, and has a goal and an assist in four games since his return. Ribeiro (twat) is hot, with seven points in his last five. And Ott just got Heatley suspended for two games, so you gotta give him props there. Kari Lehtonen is being Iditarod-ed just like Crow these days, and has given up more than three goals in five of his last seven starts (one of the ones he didn't saw the Wild just manage 14 shots).

The acquisition of Goligoski is a story though, because the Stars finally have someone who can be the #1 d-man they've lacked since...the Hatchers? No idea. Every time we play Dallas, either I or McClure will say we like Stephane Robidas, but if he's the best you got then you and problems have each other's number. Trevor Daley's all right for how small he surprisingly is, but other than that this is John Doe and his brother Daryl and his other brother Daryl. Goligoski can be so much more. He has eight points in 11 games with Dallas, as he's soaking up the power play time that Letang got in Pittsburgh. Nifty skater who can really attack, and a +25 (+8 with the Stars) speaks to some defensive awareness as well. Pens fans were still to be convince about that end of his game, but he's farther along than he gets credit for.

For the red side, Corey Crawford will go for the 734th straight game or whatever it is. For those who haven't caught my stellar and thorough work at NBC's Madhouse Enforcer (and for some reason I'm even more handsome over there), I broke down the numbers on this string of starts and the ones before it. For these 16 games, Crow has a GAA of 2.47 and a SV% of .900. The 16 starts before, which involved some breaks? 2.05 and .922. Make of that what you will.

Campbell and Bolland are still out, and the lineup will be the same as it was Monday. If the Hawks can manage for even 40 minutes what they did for the middle 20 against San Jose, then Dallas should be descending into madness. In three games this year the Hawks have really massively outplayed them for long stretches, and yet only have one win. In the first meeting, the Hawks were 4-1 up before letting down to let the Stars back in. The next meeting saw the Hawks give the Stars a 2-0 lead before storming back in the second and then Vik Rattlehead managing to hit all three posts on a penalty shot that would have given the Hawks the lead and probably the win. And the kill let the Hawks down in the 3rd. The third meeting you'll remember, as the Hawks came out with a 3-0 lead that should have been 4-0 if not for abstract replay interpretation, and then they coughed it all up before nearly pulling it out in the 3rd and OT.

Well, it's time for a full effort against a team that's pretty much begging to be put to the sword.