Well this makes Texas’ gameplan for Game 2 pretty easy, right?
Stop Gabriel Bourque and Chris Mueller.
Those two combined for 9 points, as the Admirals shot down the Texas Stars 5-2 Thursday night in the first game of their playoff series.
Bourque’s five point night ties an Admirals playoff record. Last person to have it? Libor Pivko against Chicago in 2004.
Not bad for a 20 year old.
It was the Stars who were first to strike. While Scott Ford sat in Johnson’s office for a cross check, the Stars made quick work of the odd man attack. 17 seconds later, Aaron Gagnon had the puck at the top of the near side circle, took a couple strides towards the net and fired a wrister that looked to have been deflected. The puck remained on target and past Jeremy Smith, who was being screened by Raymond Sawada. The shot looked funny and had a weird trajectory,so I am assuming it was redirected. Perhaps some conspiracy theorist can look and come up with a grassy knoll type idea. Either way, the score counted, and the Ads were down halfway through the stanza.
The Admirals evened the match when Gabriel Bourque got the biscuit past Richard Bachman off of a great pass by Roman Josi. Andreas Thuresson got a loose puck on the near side boards and quickly sent it to the far side circle, where Josi gathered it. After a stride, he found Bourque crashing back side, and put the puck right on the tape, which Bourque converted into his first goal of the game. It was a great play by all parties involved and woke up the crowd.
Just under three minutes later the Admirals extended their lead while on the Mountain Fury Power Play. Bourque had the puck and was skating down the far side wall. He dished the puck slightly forward to Mueller, who took the puck on the other side of the circle, skated around a defender, and put a back hand past Bachman short side for the Fury goal. This was a goal off of great stick handling and also a great job by Bourque to find Mueller in space.
The Admirals kept the momentum going in the second period, and scored a couple more goals. The first came off Ryan Thang’s stick, and a great re-direct at that. Mueller gathered the puck in the slot and unleashed an awkward shot that looked to be sailing high. Thang was being boxed out by a Stars D-man but was able to track it and make contact with the puck on his stick below the crossbar. The puck then went straight down and spun like a top over the line, right before another Stars D-man could bring it to safety. This play looked weird right from the start, but a great job by Thang to get some wood on it for the score.
The Stars had a golden opportunity to get back in the game, with the help of some 5-on-3 power play time. Instead, it was the penalty kill unit and specifically Jeremy Smith who kept the momentum with the Admirals. The 5-on-3 was courtesy of a Roman Josi Yonking penalty, and when Ford got called for “carrying two many sticks”. It put the Admirals down two men for 1:05 and the the penalty kill unit was great. They found a way to keep the puck out of their net with the help of some great acrobatic saves by Smith. I tell you what, if there was a back breaker for the Stars in this game, that was it.
Coach Lambert says Smith was
What’s that? You want a little more of the Mueller and Bourque show? Well funny you should mention that. Bam!!! Bourque goal!!!!! With a turnover in the Admirals o-zone Mueller was able to gather the rock and carry it to the near side corner where he spotted Bourque coming to the net near side. Mueller put a pinpoint pass on Bourque’s tape, and Gabriel took it top shelf to give the Admirals a three goal lead.
Mueller talks about the chemistry between himself and Bourque.
The third period started with a Texas goalie change, and a little bit later, a Stars goal. Mathieu Tousignant gathered the puck just atop the near circle and fired a shot that hit Grant Lewis, who was covering a crashing Stars player. Smith was unable to compensate for the redirection, and it beat him far side to half the deficit at 4-2. The goal was a great example of ‘get the shots on net and good things happen’. Nothing special, it was just the right place, right time, and a right decision by Tousignant.
With the crowd chanting encore like a Lynyrd Skynyrd concert that had yet to play Freebird, the Mueller and Bourque show continued to fly high, giving Bourque his fifth point and Mueller his second goal of the night. Bourque created the turnover, and then shoved a pass to Mueller, who was near side down low. Mueller just casually skated in putting on a stick handling clinic, and eventually just putting the puck 5-hole on a frozen Tyler Beskorowany.
Mueller says it was just one of those nights.
NOTES AND QUESTIONS:
Bourque – Mueller – Thang
Thuresson – Van Guilder – Conacher
Santorelli – Begin – Beck
Flynn – Bartlett – Ryan
Lane shuffled them a bit in the 3rd period, but after talking to Coach, we shouldn’t read too much into it
The Admirals scored five goals tonight. They scored seven goals in the season series this year.
Surprised Beck got the call instead of Latta?
Describe the upgrade of Aaron Johnson over Jeff Foss. How nice was it to have him back?
Ever seen that illegal stick call before?
When was the last time the Admirals had a #1 line like this?
What kind of game to you expect on Saturday night?