Two weeks ago, the Stars played the Maple Leafs, the Panthers and the Predators in a three game set, if you will. They went 1-1-1. This last week, they played the Flames, the Canucks, and the Wild. Again, they went 1-1-1. It's at this point where one would do well to bring up the old saying: Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Dallas gave spirited efforts, for the most part, but failed to earn the points they'd like.
This was, by all accounts, an "easier" portion of the schedule. Toronto, Florida, Minnesota, Nashville...you get the picture.
Saturday, however, reminded us that there is no such thing in the NHL. Toronto beat Detroit. Nashville beat Los Angeles. San Jose beat the Pens, and the Wild beat the Stars. All of these are fairly congruous and we won't spend any time on the why of that statement. All we can glean from it is that any team can win on any given night in this league, and that's what happened on Saturday.
We traditionally tend to look at these things from a Stars point of view around these parts, so let's start things off this morning by making sure we take measure of what the other half is thinking. From the Minneapolis Star-Tribune:
Stars' big mistake seals a victory for Wild
Losing a big lead wasn't a crusher for the Wild, which got a gift of a winner.
This is one of those rare occasions where the local angle seems to be rather harmonious with our own.
After the jump, a round up of the Wild/Stars game of Saturday night...
The Wild recorded the game's first 11 shots. Dallas, which had 87 shots in its last two games, didn't have one until more than 12 minutes had elapsed. The Wild finished with a 37-21 shot advantage.
Dallas was playing its second game in two nights, but refused to use that as an excuse.
"We had the benefit of the doubt (Friday night) with Vancouver playing back-to-back, so we knew it was going to be a tough go tonight," center Mike Modano said. "We got off to a shaky start there in the first, but we climbed ourselves back into the game and did some good things in the second to give us a chance."
With the packed weekend scheduling of the Stars (how many Saturday nights in a row do they play?) this is just something they'll have to get used to. Energy didn't seem to be a problem for much of the second and third periods. The first period, however, was not ideal.
Mr. Mike Heika had a real interesting note on the score keeping at the Xcel Energy Center:
The house officials gave Minnesota two assists on the puck that Nick Grossman knocked in (Marek Zidlicky's game-winning goal) and gave the Stars no assists on the puck that Nick Schultz knocked in (Loui Eriksson's first power play goal). Their explanation was that Schultz had control of the puck and shot it into his net (thus the rules that would determine an unassisted goal), and that Grossman never had control and accidentally redirected that puck into the net (thus, a fine play in which two players helped create a perfect scoring chance).
That was far from the most bizarre officiating of the night.
I'll admit that I was surprised to see Alex Auld in goal on Saturday in Minnesota. And if you glanced at the score and saw, 3-2, you might have figured Auld was just OK. But that's wrong. Auld was great on Saturday, making big saves and giving the Stars a chance to win.
But I was surprised to see him because Marty Turco was solid on Friday and the Stars have four days off before playing Thursday against San Jose. The Stars, though, are sticking with their plan. They want Turco rested and not overworked this season so that when it matters most down the stretch, he isn't fatigued.
I don't think anyone would argue that Auld was the reason they lost that game. Still, with four days off following the game, I would have personally preferred Marty Turco's puck handling skills back there.
I don’t think there’s a lot to analyze on this one. The team that played better over the course of the entire 60 minutes won the game. The Stars gave up a season-high 37 shots on goal and matched their season-low with 21 shots on goal. They gave up a shorthanded goal for the first time this season, and it came at the beginning of a four-minute power play. A usually disciplined bunch, they got in some penalty trouble that made their life more difficult at times.
Despite the win over the Canucks on Friday and the impressive play at times in the OT loss to the Flames on Wednesday, the record recently has been a little spotty. They are 1-2-2 in the last five games.
Give the Wild credit. They played a very good game. They looked a lot better than when I watched them the other night against Vancouver.
1-2-2 in their last five games is a pretty nasty mark. A .400 point percentage is a sure fire way to miss the playoffs.
Ahead of Brett Hull's induction to the hockey hall of fame, NHL.com has a nice piece on him:
He also said that his 1999 Stanley Cup-winning goal for the Dallas Stars in overtime of Game 6 "was No. 1, the most important of my career."
Hull said winning his first Stanley Cup in Dallas and scoring the winning goal was important to him because "there was a boatload of people when I left St. Louis who said you won't win with Brett Hull on your team. To go to Dallas and be the missing piece of the puzzle to win the Cup and then go and score that goal in overtime, who hasn't sat as a kid with his buddies and dreamed or pretended that they scored that goal? To then go and do it in real life was amazing."
BTW, it was a good goal. I don't know if some folks in some northern region of some north-eastern state agree or not, but it was.
The Dallas Stars are now 7-4-6 after 17 games. That's not bad, and much better than last season (6-8-3).
The Stars have 20 points, good for 6th in the Western Conference. Not bad, and much better than last season (14th in the West).
The Stars allowing 2.82 goals per game, 15th in the NHL. That's ok, but much better than last season at this point (3.64 goals per game).
The Stars are scoring 3.18 goals per game, 8th in the NHL. That's pretty good and better than last season (2.82).
So let's remember, as we digest a game that was seemingly given away on Saturday, that things are not all that bad. They were much worse last year, anyway. Let's not forget that this team, for once, has its health.
Displeased as Stars faithful were with the result, one must keep a little perspective. At one point, it appeared as though Mike Ribeiro and Mike Modano had both been lost for at least the game, if not more. Ribeiro looked especially, for lack of a better term, dramatic, hobbling down the tunnel last night. It was nice to see him back out there. A loss to Minnesota in November is something from which the team can recover. The loss of Mike Ribeiro, slump or no slump, is not something anyone in Dallas wants to see.