Wednesday was just a tease.
The Stars were out-muscled, out-skated, out-worked, out-hustled and out-classed by the Boston Bruins at home in front of a capacity crowd that was itching to erupt at any moment. Instead they witnessed what amounted to a generally embarrassing performance by the Dallas Stars. Marc Savard scored twice for the Bruins, came close to getting two more and only some incredible saves by Marty Turco kept this game from being a 7-0 debacle.
After putting together a convincing and complete win over the Predators on Wednesday night, the Stars came out against Boston flat and generally disinterested. It was a depressing game to witness as the Stars lost in every single category possible to the Bruins, and were never able to maintain any sort of sustained pressure or prime scoring chances.
Credit has to go to the Bruins however, who were the by far the best team on the ice. They came prepared and ready to play, and never allowed the Stars any space in the neutral zone or in front of the net. Anytime the Stars attempted to put some pressure on Tim Thomas, the forwards and defensemen alike made sure there wasn't a single clear shooting lane all night long.
There's not much else to say about this game, but I'll try after the jump.
- James Neal was once again a beast on the forecheck. He's been the only consistent player for this team this season, and was the only player creating chances for the Stars throughout the game.
- I know I put Turco on the 'Goat of the Game' voting, but he was in reality really solid in net. He made several athletic saves throughout the game and did his best to prevent the score from getting out of hand. But he's got to stop that third goal; that was just too soft to allow at that point and iced the game for the Bruins early on.
- Fabian Brunnstrom is adding absolutely nothing right now, and Krys Barch is right behind him. Both coughed pucks up along the boards and failed to win any puck battles (although the rest of the team wasn't much better). I don't know what they can do with him since he can't go to the AHL with passing through waivers, but something needs to happen soon.
- The Stars were once again atrocious on faceoffs. It's starting to become almost humorous at this point. It almost has to be the players that are the issue and not the coaching. This is a trend that started last season and is getting out of hand.
- Mike Modano and Jere Lehtinen would really have been nice to have on the ice, although I doubt the outcome would have been much different.
- Those crisp passes and chances created off the forecheck we saw just two nights ago? Gone. In fact the Stars lost nearly every single individual puck battle all night long. Is there a theme starting to develop here?
- What was frustrating to see was that when the Stars finally did start to create some space and get some pressure, they declined shooting in favor of looking for that perfect pass. Tim Thomas was reeling at times, and the the Stars failed to get the puck on net while trying to get a pass across instead. It's was a sign of the Stars pressing and looking for a big play, instead of just plastering the net with the puck. It's something we've seen in the past from this team and something Crawford needs to find a way to avoid in the future.
- While this was a depressing game to watch, I also think it's good for Marc Crawford and this iteration of the Stars to have a game like this now, and find ways to fix this moving forward.
- Quick turnaround, as the Stars will be facing Chicago tomorrow night on the road. No rest for the struggling, eh?