Stargazing: Dallas Stars 3, Canucks 4

Stargazing is a daily assortment of Dallas Stars  and Texas Stars news, and whatever other random ramblings are bouncing around inside our heads.

On one hand, the Stars have lost three of their first four games. On the other, they have yet to suffer a regulation loss. The penalty kill is barely operating above 50%, and at the same time, they're three bum shootouts (ordinarily at LEAST a 50/50 proposition for Dallas) from being a perfect 4-0.

So basically there's something for everyone.

If you want to say that they "suck", I think you're well within your rights to do so. Losing three of four is nothing to be proud of. If you want to say that they're really close, and that they're going to be fine, I think you can say that as well.

Personally, I'm simultaneously disappointed and relieved. 1-0-3 is a strange thing to behold in the standings. We knew there was learning to be done, at least some of the growing pains are coming with a "loser point" attached.


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Marc Crawford is trying to stay positive, as he must, of course:

"I thought it was a good point," said Stars coach Marc Crawford, who made his return to Vancouver, where he coached for seven seasons. "We had a lot of good chances in the third period, we had a couple more in overtime. But they're a good club and they work hard.

"It is a good point for us. We've got to get the shootout figured out. We've given away three points there this year. Our guys have got to be way more serious about that part of the game. Those are points that we'd like to have, for sure."

After the jump, reaction and quotes from around the web on the game last night...

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Both teams were adjusting to some personnel issues, says Mike Heika:

The game was a true battle of wills, as the Canucks, who earlier in the day found out they will lose Daniel Sedin for 4-6 weeks with a broken left foot, lost Sami Salo early in the game to injury. The Stars then lost Steve Ott to a mid-body injury and played much of the first period without Stephane Robidas, who took a puck to the chin.

Also, the Stars were trying to work Jere Lehtinen in for the first time this year.

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Richard Durrett addresses the all too important penalty killing over at ESPN.

It's by far the biggest issue facing the Stars in the early going of this season.They've actually played well in other parts of their game and are collecting points. But for whatever reason, Dallas just can't seem to figure the penalty kill out. In Sunday's shootout loss to Vancouver, the Stars allowed two power play goals. They were 28th in the NHL on the penalty kill before the game started.

Losing faceoffs isn't helping. The Stars aren't winning the draws with consistency on the penalty kill, making it more difficult to get the puck out of their zone to kill time. Too often, they are caught in their own zone and can't make any changes in personnel to get a tired group off the ice.

I don't know what they need to change. The answer might be a simple: "Everything." Poor penalty killing has been practically unheard of in Dallas for well over a decade.

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The Vancouver Sun tells their side of the story...

"I thought the three guys had some moments but I think they could have been a little better defensively on a few occasions," Vigneault said discussing his new first line.

...

"We would have liked to have done a better job in the third period," Vigneault said. "They played a pretty structured system in the neutral zone and there wasn't a lot of room but we found a way to get it done."

Funny, I was thinking the same thing about them.

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"The Province" thinks Marty Turco standing sideways to begin a shootout round is a "funny thing", or a head game. To those of us that watch hockey, it's just something he's been doing for the last five seasons.

Funny thing about Kyle Wellwood's shoot-out goal: When he went to pick up the puck at centre ice to skate toward Marty Turco, the Dallas goalie was standing sideways in his crease.

"I noticed that when I was picking up the puck, it looked kind of funny," said Wellwood, who along with Ryan Kesler gave the Canucks a 2-0 advantage in the shootout for a 4-3 win over the Stars.

"It seems like it, I think he is [playing mind games], trying to mess with the shooter a little bit. You just try to not pay attention to that."

Whatever you call it...it didn't work last night.

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And while the penalty kill is public enemy #1 right now, the shootout situation is not far behind. Mark Stepneski explains.

I thought Sunday night’s game was a well-earned point. It wasn’t a pretty game from either side, but they battled back and got a point.

Still, there are some issues. These shootout points are crucial points. That’s three points they’ve had up for grabs and they haven’t gotten any of them. I am not a big fan of the shootout, but it’s a big part of the game and those points are big. Points gained now or lost now count the same as those gained or lost in March. They need to find a way to get the extra point when the game goes beyond regulation every now and then.

The Stars shooters are 1 of 10 in the skills competition so far this season.

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And then there was the best news of the night: Jamie Benn's first NHL goal. And if you want to pay ESPN Insider, you can read a piece about him. Or if you're cheap like me, you can ask your rich friends to send the article to you.

I caught a nice feel-good story late Sunday night. Well, it was late for me back on the Jersey shore. To cut to the chase, Dallas Stars rookie Jamie Benn scored his first NHL goal in the club's 4-3 shootout loss on the road against the Vancouver Canucks. A kid's getting his first NHL goal always makes for a nice tale, but there were two other important elements to Benn's tally.

First, the goal came with just 1:33 left in regulation time, tying the game 3-3. That's nice timing. And second -- this is where it gets good -- Benn scored his first goal in front of friends and family (about 100, according to Stars broadcasters Ralph Strangis and Daryl Reaugh) who came from his nearby hometown of Victoria, British Columbia, to see the local hero.

...

Anyone wanting to be my rich ESPN Insider friend can apply in the comments.


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