Stars Drop 9th in a Row on Road ; Go Pointless on Frustrating Trip

And I can't think of a more frustrating road trip in recent memory.

Sunday night, the Stars were simply stoned by Steve Mason of the Blue Jackets. Tuesday night, they were run out of the Wachovia Center by the Flyers. And tonight, they played well enough through two periods to put themselves in position to at least get a point out of this final game on the trip after Mike Modano's late second period tally tied the score at 3-3.

But a very questionable hooking call on Karlis Skrastins led to the game winning goal by Brian Gionta 5:32 into the final frame and the Stars were chasing the game, again. During this road losing streak, the Stars have only had one third period lead and that was during the crazy game against Atlanta.

And then Mike Cammalleri salted things away on a goal that involved two of Stars fans most favorite whipping boys of late, Marty Turco and Matt Niskanen. Give full blame to Nisky for the second period "assist" on Benoit Pouliot's goal that made it 3-2 Montreal early in the second.

But on this one, he defended the play rather well and forced Cammalleri to settle for a wrist shot from distance instead of allowing the Habs winger to skate the puck in on Turco.

And to be sure, Cammalleri got everything on his wrist shot. It still should not have gone in. Not from that angle and not at that juncture of the game.

And so, the losing streak away from the AAC has now hit 9 games.

After the jump, an indepth look at what plagued the Stars tonight.

But I should warn you that dead horse beating is ahead.

In 10 out of his last 13 appearances, Marty Turco has surrendered three goals or more. When the offense is having trouble just getting to three goals themselves, you get losing streaks. That's obviously not to say that Turco is the lone reason for their struggles.

But he is a veteran on this club and at some point when he's staked to a lead, he's got to steal a game to stem the tide of a losing streak. Tonight would have been a nice night to do that.

And let's also not forget that Matt Niskanen had another forgettable game tonight after he threw the puck right into the slot and saw his mistake end up behind Turco in the Stars net. Like Bob Sturm said on Twitter tonight...

Um, Nisky? At what level of hockey is that pass a good idea? Hint: Not the NHL.

Actually, not any level of hockey. I know if I did that in the rec league I played in some 15 years ago, I would have had my ass chewed out by our captain all the way to the bench.

This is the second game in a row that I feel Nisky has committed a cardinal sin in the game of hockey. But the coaching staff stuck with him after he failed to hustle back on one of Philly's four second period goals the other night and continued to stick with him after his mind boggling pass right into the slot tonight.

And if they didn't run the risk of losing him through waivers, I'd have to think Niskanen would have been sent down to the AHL a long time ago.

Somebody who was sent down recently made his first appearance with the Stars since the calendar flipped over to 2010. I won't tell you his name, but I will give his line tonight. Let's see if you can guess who I'm talking about!

13:17 of ice time, 17 shifts, no shots with one attempt blocked and another missing the net, and two hits.

Like he never even left the club.

Now with all the negatives out of the way, I did like the way the Stars started the game and how they responded in the second when it appeared the roof was about to cave in after Georges Laraque and Pouliot scored to turned a 2-1 Stars lead into a 3-2 deficit.

I also liked the way Brenden Morrow and Steve Ott competed tonight in what started out as a skating affair, but turned physical in the third period. Well, save for Ott going a little nuts on Tomas Plekanec. Dallas would have gotten a 5-on-3 for about half a minute as Plekanec was whistled off for slashing.

But Ott apparently didn't realize the Habs were about to get a call, or his temper, which he does rather well to contain, got the best of him and it would up canceling the slashing call, and subsequent 5-on-3 out.

And after they surrendered the lead in the third, Dallas responded nicely and were rewarded with a pair of power play chances. They just couldn't get the equalizer behind Carey Price, who has formed one half of a nice goaltender tandem up in Montreal alongside Jaroslav Halak.

And oh yeah, Brian Gionta can bring it. So can Scotty Gomez. And Mike Modano scored a goal and looked energized tonight. Combined, those three scored four points and Gionta almost had himself a hat trick. Tell me, again, why none of these three American veterans were named to the U.S. Olympic hockey team?

Oh yeah, Brian Burke's a jackass. That's why.

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