[A quick note before we dive into this lovely Wednesday morning subject matter: Don't forget about Defending Big D Live tonight at 7:00pm CST. We'll have special guest Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News to talk all things Stars. You can find the show here.]
Only one team in the Western Conference has lost more games than the Dallas Stars: That would be the Ducks. The same Ducks who were the recipients of a Stars no-show in the third period last night. The same Ducks that hadn't won a game in their last five tries. Only one team in the conference has lost more games than the Dallas Stars, and that's the team that beat them in a three goal comeback last night. That is hard to swallow.
Dallas has now lost 17 of their 30 games played. It's a good thing the NHL cares about when you lose the game, because, as a fan, I have to be honest with you: I really don't. They've played 30, they've lost 17. They were out shot 42-22 last night, a 20 shot differential. You shouldn't expect to win many games when you're out shot that badly.
The Stars now lead the league in overtime losses with nine. It's easy to look at that stat and say "they need to get better in overtime and the shootout." Last night's game really doesn't apply to that ideology though, does it? The overtime period was a carry-over from a third period that saw the ice tilt so far in the Ducks favor that the outcome felt like an inevitability shortly after they scored their second goal. To the Stars credit, however, they did not take a penalty in the third period or OT. Somehow.
Dallas once again kept Perry off the score sheet, and limited Getzlaf to an assist. When these teams meet for a third time in December on the 31st, I'll take that, and challenge young Dan Sexton to beat the Stars again.
After the jump, we'll spend more time on this game for some reason...
I'd like to borrow Mike Heika's words from the third period last night, and head anyone who points their finger at the goaltender off at the proverbial pass:
The kid Sexton gets his second goal of his three-game career and ties it with 1:02 left.
It was a bad goal, but it's hard to blame Turco, who was the only reason Anaheim didn't score six that period.
So very true.
It was easily the most uplifting moment of the season for the Ducks (11-13-6), who snapped a five-game losing streak. And it was provided by the smallest player on the ice playing in just his third NHL game.
Recalled last week from the minor leagues to somehow take the place of the franchise face Teemu Selanne, Sexton punched in a pass from Bobby Ryan at the 6:08 mark of the third and feverishly pumped his fist as he cut the Stars' lead to 3-2.
"I'd say it was probably the coolest feeling," Sexton said. "Take my previous coolest feeling and multiply it by 10 if not more. That's what it was."
The Stars injured Selanne, and for their trouble they get this kid taking his place and scoring his first two NHL goals. The Hockey gods are not smiling on the Stars right now.
Oh you sneaky Dallas Stars... I'm on to you now! I finally figured out what your modus operandi is for this season!
You see I have it on good authority that a grade six kid in Plano last year did a school report on the possibility of an NHL team going an entire season playing nothing but overtime games and if they could make the playoffs with 82 overtime and shootout losses. The kid then forwarded his report (it got a B-minus by the way) to Marc Crawford before the start of training camp, and Crow being the ever inquisitive mind, figured "Why the hell not? I have three years on my contract, I can waste one."
Of course you Dallas Stars have kind of messed it up with the odd win in overtime and even once in a while *gasp* an odd regulation win... But you've pretty much stayed true to form and you keep losing in overtime and shootouts.
Ducks Win!!!! Feels like forever since I've said that. The Ducks had an amazing comeback victory over the Stars. J.S. Giguere made some great save to keep the Ducks close after they had fallen down 3-0. Joffrey Lupul got the scoring going with a breakaway goal when the Stars forgot to pick him up when his penalty expired. After that rookie Dan Sexton strapped the team to his back and scored two goals in the third period. The trade winds might be blowing in Anaheim soon, but a winning streak might calm them. Three goals is the largest deficit the Ducks have ever overcome for a victory. Hopefully, that type of epic comeback, as well as three goals from the second line, will be enough to get the team permanently moving in the right direction, instead of just teasing the fans with moments of brilliance.
Must be nice.
"Anytime you have a three-goal lead and you don't bring it home … you have to want the puck, you have to want to make plays," Stars coach Marc Crawford said. "You've got to be supportive of one another. We made a couple of mistakes in the third period that were non-supportive mistakes.
"In the third period, you knew they were going to come and make a push. That's the way they play. Our forwards were so supportive, but we got away from that at crucial moments. Those few mistakes we made ended up the difference-makers."
"Trying to sit back and hope for wins in the third is never a good recipe for success," Dallas captain Brenden Morrow said after the Stars lost for the ninth time in 12 games that have gone past regulation. "We're pretty frustrated with the way we finished in some games here and there in the first third of the season."
"That can't happen, it just can't happen," said captain Brenden Morrow. "We've got to go out and win games and not be afraid to lose. There is a big difference."
"We're giving them life," Morrow said. "They've had a rough start, and we should have sensed that, but a game like that just gives them momentum."
Call it what you want. Sitting back. Playing safe. Playing not to lose. What ever it was, it wasn’t good and it didn’t work. It was the second straight game where the Stars should have wrapped up two points in regulation, but had to settle for one by losing a game in OT or a shootout.
But all that stuff aside, it still comes down to execution and making plays. As the game got down to crunch time, Anaheim made plays and the Stars didn’t.
I thought the game really started to turn late in the second when the Stars had those two power play chances basically back-to-back with a 3-0 lead, got nothing out of them and Joffrey Lupul scored coming out of the penalty box on the breakaway after the second one. That made it 3-1 and gave the Ducks some life and momentum going into the third. All they needed was another one to really turn the game around. They got the Dan Sexton goal off the turnover and it’s game on and it just continued to be all Anaheim. Sexton scores late on a goal I am sure Marty Turco would like to have back to tie the game. And then they the Ducks get a three-on-one in overtime and Saku Koivu scores off his own rebound.
A disappointing end to the first game of a big road trip. It will be interesting to see how they respond Friday in San Jose.
Hopefully they'll be able to focus their energies and not come out overly frustrated in San Jose. Personally, I'm more interested in the Los Angeles game. If there's one game on this trip the Stars need to win, it's that one. Taking points from LA and Phoenix is a critical part of the Stars task ahead.