I should have mentioned this yesterday, but if you want a great look at last night's game from the opponent's view, be sure to check out Five For Howling.
It just goes to show how precarious the Stars' grip on a playoff spot really is.
After last night's loss, coupled with Anaheim and Minnesota's wins, the Stars dropped from fifth to seventh spot in the Western conference. Even more concerning is that the Stars now have just a two point lead on 10th place Columbus and are starting to catch up with the rest of the conference in games played.
Tomorrow night's game against Vancouver looms as a very important game for both teams. The Stars need to approach each game as a playoff game and realize that any sort of slip and the team is once again on the outside looking in. That's just going to be the reality of it for the rest of the season and will be tough test for the final 29 games. This is shaping up to be one of the tightest and most exciting playoff races in a very long time.
Marty Turco set a franchise record last night with his 24th consecutive start. even more impressive are his numbers during his streak of games.
The question now becomes when Turco will get a day off. I mean, he has to have a day off a some point right? Last week I was pretty certain that he would get a game off during the quick three game stretch, but the Stars played backup goalie musical chairs and Turco made all the starts. Brent Krahn should be getting his first NHL start soon, but if the playoff race remains as tight as it is, then perhaps Tippett will ride Turco as long as possible. Hopefully that won't happen, though. As great as Turco is playing, he needs a game off at some point.
Follow the jump for player quotes and recaps.
Player quotes, courtesy of Andrew's Dallas Stars Page and Stars PR:
Brad Richards: "The 2nd period we missed an opportunity to make it 1-1 and we couldn’t beat him. He made a lot of good saves. We did a lot of good things but not enough to win. It doesn’t matter how good we’re playing of late, the game in front of us is what matters. We’ll get back on home ice Friday night. It’s gonna be a tough four days—three games in four nights, we’ve got to be ready."
Stephane Robidas: "(Bryzgalov’s) a big goalie, he takes a lot of space and is really effective in his lateral movement. Credit to their team, too, they block a lot of shots. We were in their zone a lot too, but we couldn’t get any really good scoring chances. You’ve just got to keep going at it and keep putting traffic in front of the net. I think we’ve got to realize it doesn’t matter who we’re playing, it’s going to be a tough game. It doesn’t matter where they are in the standings. They had lost six in a row and they were desperate. I think tomorrow, going back into practice, you’ve got to look past this. You’ve got to learn from it, but you’ve got to forget about it. We’ve got Vancouver at home on Friday, and they’re another desperate team. We’re going to face another big goalie who takes up a lot of space and really bear down on the scoring chances."
Marty Turco: "It’s disappointing; we’re not in the business of looking good with no results. We did have some chances and did some things that we needed to win, but those are two different things. I think a better start may have been a catalyst. I think we need to come out more consistently at the start. You don’t imagine it to hold up, but it’s not our first 1-0 loss to these guys. We gave ourselves plenty of opportunities. You want to try and gain as many points as you can."
James Neal: "I had a quick shot on net, I got hit right away and didn’t see it and I guess it hit the post. I didn’t know what the ruling was, play kept going on and I even had another shift before the next whistle. We had some good chances but just couldn’t bury any of them. It’s frustrating; we knew they would be desperate after losing six in a row. Bryzgalov played well and frustrated us, but we have to find a way."
Dave Tippett: "You recognize how desperate they were going to be and we generated some shots but couldn’t capitalize. They blocked a lot of shots, showing their desperation. We had ample chances to score in the 2nd and we just couldn’t get break through. This is a good dose of reality for us, after a couple games where a lot went our way. We have to get back to work and everyday is going to be a grind from here on out."
The Dallas Stars know that this is a game they needed to win to maintain position in the standings and the missed opportunities frustrated them. Lately, the Stars have been able to bounce back from a frustrating loss and play great the next game. The Stars will need that same mentality Friday when they take on Vancouver.
And while the Stars didn't necessarily play bad, they didn't do enough to win and let Phoenix out work them in most facets of the game.
"The key stat of the game was blocked shots," said Stars coach Dave Tippett. "That shows a team in desperation mode. It was 24-5 in blocked shots. It came down to we needed someone to bury a chance for us."
Jean-Jacques Taylor says that even though the Stars lost Marty Turco has shown that he has returned to be one of the best goalies in the league.
"My movement wasn't crisp and pristine. There was no fluidity," Turco said of his struggles in October and November. "I wasn't seeing beach balls like I am now, so I fell back on the things that I used to get to this level. It was a long, slow process, and that's why I think I'm here to stay."
He made three consecutive pad saves in tight quarters to keep the game scoreless after Modano failed to clear the puck at 9:31 of the first period.
A month ago, one of those shots would have found the back of the net.
Mike Heika has his weekly newsletter up and some great answers to some reader email. Subscribe now if you haven't already!
Q: Not sure what the cap implications would be but any chance the Stars would pick up Manny Legace off waivers as a backup to Turco?
HEIKA: Hey Curt, I don't think so. Stars management likes the two options it has right now in Tobias Stephan and Brent Krahn. We will probably learn more about the two in the next couple of weeks, and the Stars could decide to add a veteran backup goalie before the trade deadline.
I do wonder what will happen when the Devils probably put Kevin Weekes on waivers when Martin Brodeur is healthy. Weekes has a 5-4-0 record with a 2.41 GAA and .920 save percentage this year. That could be an option that is too good to pass up.