DALLAS — Brett Ritchie helped the Dallas Stars swing momentum and sparked a comeback in Thursday’s 5-2 win against the Detroit Red Wings with a grinding shift and a goal to tie the game in the second period.
Ritchie went hard to the net after he forced a turnover and got a deflection on Radek Faksa’s shot from the near the boards.
“It was sort of a quick reaction,” Ritchie said. “Sort of a lucky tip, it was good to get a stick on it.”
While some players spend extra time tipping pucks in practice, Ritchie doesn’t spend that much time working on deflections.
“I don’t really like working on them too much,” Ritchie said. “In practice it’s not the same as the game. In practice you can’t simulate it right. The guys are just standing there, no one is touching them, it’s a perfect play.”
Ritchie did say there are a couple drills that help better translate to game situations.
“Sometimes we do drills in practice where you have to battle to the front of the net and wait for a point shot,” Ritchie said. “Those are the ones that are more game like. Just little hand-eye stuff will help you with tips either way, but you’re going to get hit and you’ve got to try to tip it to … 5-on-5 that shot comes and you know you are getting hit or stick lifted.”
For Ritchie going hard to the net is helping him get back into an offensive groove.
After going 12 straight games without a goal he’s got two in his past three games, both of them coming from within a couple feet of the net.
It’s something the Stars need to do more of. They did it in a 6-4 win against the Los Angeles Kings on Monday, but failed to get to the “dirty areas” in a 2-0 loss to the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday.
“We won in LA last week there, I think a lot of those goals were credited to getting people to the net and pucks to the net, and we got away from it against Anaheim,” Ritchie said. “So that was definitely a big emphasis coming into tonight. Getting pucks and people to the net. Make it harder on their goalie and it sort of worked for us tonight.”