Stargazing: Stars Lose Matinee to Vancouver, 3-1

Stargazing is a daily assortment of Dallas Stars  and Texas Stars news, and whatever other random ramblings are bouncing around inside our heads.

Just when you thought things couldn't get any more frustrating, Saturday afternoon comes along and poses the same questions all over again. If the Stars are going to lose, I as a fan would almost prefer to watch them lose 6-1. I'd like them to get out shot and out hustled...just generally outplayed. I'd like there to be no doubt about which team was best. The Stars, however, keep giving us games like this one, or the loss to San Jose a couple of weeks ago: Games where they out-chance their opponent and come up empty handed, leaving us frustrated because we know they played well enough to win. After two 5 goal performances, perhaps I shouldn't complain, but one goal isn't going to win a hockey game.

I was quite certain that after one period Vancouver was indeed the better team. After two more periods of action to reflect upon, I think I may have been mistaken. The Stars worked harder. The Stars generated more chances. The Stars had goals waived off, and scored on themselves. They dictated much of the action, but couldn't buy a friendly bounce. The #1 star went to Luongo, and it's hard to argue there. He allowed only one goal, after all. But boy was he a rebound machine yesterday, or what? Funnily enough you don't get labeled a rebound machine unless they end up buried in your net. The Canuck defense made sure the Stars didn't get to the dozens of fat rebounds Roberto coughed up yesterday, and that was the difference in the game. Kudos to the Canuck defense. They've allowed only 9 goals in their last 6 games.

So now our boys find themselves looking back on a lengthy stretch of home games having gained no ground in the standings, and facing a tough stretch of road games. Dallas has not won away from American Airlines Center since December 11th.

Follow the jump for quotes and reaction to yesterday's debacle...

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The Vancouver Sun is just dripping with praise...

"We got seven out of eight points," Canuck coach Alain Vigneault said. "I'm really happy with the road trip. The third period tonight as a little challenging. Fifth game in 7 1/2 nights. That's why you pay the goaler the big money, to make big saves. And he did."

Canuck goalie Roberto Luongo made 31 saves, the best of them a spectacular back-door save with his right pad against Mike Modano late in the third period when Dallas registered 13 consecutive shots. Brenden Morrow and Loui Eriksson were stopped from close-range in the final minute as Dallas pressed for the tying goal.

"I actually didn't see him," Luongo said of his robbery of Modano. "It was kind of a desperation move on my part. I didn't see the puck or the shot, but was able to get it with my skate. This was a really important trip."

They better get used to it. If I'm not mistaken I believe they have a 12 or 13 road trip coming up surrounding the Olympics.

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Mark Stepneski says it was a distinct kicking motion...

Roberto Luongo was very good in net for Vancouver. He made some excellent saves, especially that pad stop on Mike Modano in the third period. The Stars had a couple pucks bounce over the sticks and a couple of chances that fizzled. Could they have created more? Sure, but give the players in front of Luongo some credit too. The Canucks are playing very well right now.

On the no goal late in the second, I didn’t know what Roberto Luongo was so upset about until I saw the replay. It was a distinct kicking motion by Brenden Morrow. It was pretty clear cut based on the rule and it was the right call. Give the Stars credit for scoring a short time later to tie the game.

I need to learn what a distinct kicking motion is. It looked to me like Loui Eriksson got cross checked in the back (no call) into the pile...he swiped at the puck, hit Brenden Morrow's skate, and the whole mess propelled the puck into the net.

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Mike Heika looks at the big picture...

Later, Vancouver's Daniel Sedin sent an innocent pass into the net off Dallas Stars defenseman Trevor Daley's skate for the game-winning goal in a 3-1 Canucks victory.

The final margin – achieved with an empty-net goal – was razor thin. But the impact was somewhat significant. Instead of putting together their first three-game winning streak of the season, the Stars finished an important holiday stretch played mostly at home with a 4-3-0 record.

And instead of being satisfied with a solid four-game road trip, the Canucks were ecstatic to head home with a 3-0-1 record on a key midseason journey.

 

What's more, the Canucks improved to 25-18-1 (51 points) and put a little distance between themselves and the Stars (18-12-11, 47 points) in the race for the Western Conference's final playoff spot.

An innocent pass...indeed. I wonder if it was. A lot of players are looking for plays like that these days. Trevor Daley has certainly been standing there for quite a few of them this year.

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If you'd like the obligatory Stars point of view, you can head over to dallasstars.com...

Leave it to Roberto Luongo to spoil the Dallas Stars’ first game in the new year.

The Vancouver Canucks’ netminder, who almost single-handedly defeated the Stars in the 2007 playoffs, was outstanding, making 31 saves to lead the Canucks to a 3-1 triumph over Dallas Saturday afternoon at the American Airlines Center.

Entering the day in ninth place in the Western Conference standings with a chance to tie Vancouver and Los Angeles for seventh, the Stars’ loss leaves them 18-12-11 as they reach the season’s 41-game midpoint. Dallas almost missed a chance to record their first three-game winning streak of the season.  

It was the just the Stars’ second loss at home in their last 12 home contests (8-2-2), while the Canucks completed a four-game road trip at 3-0-1 and are now 9-2-1 in their last 12 overall.

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And don't forget our friends at Nucks Misconduct...

I didn't think the Sedins looked all that good until the 3rd period. Late in the 2nd Daniel was the scapegoat of sorts because late in his shift he did not get the puck deep for a line change. The Stars pressed hard as that tired line stayed out there and Christian Ehrhoff took a controversial delay-of-game penalty soon thereafter. That penalty carried over into the 3rd period, with the Stars all over the Canucks. About 10 seconds after it ended, Louie Eriksson tied the game.

I was hating on the Twins at that point, but almost exactly 2:00 later, the Sedin line pressed in the offensive zone and Dank banked a shot in off Trevor Daley's skate for the winning goal. Even Alain Vigneault mentioned post game basically that Daniel was "lucky" he scored that goal to make ammends for his 2nd period blunder or he would have been in trouble with his coach. AV was smirking.

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Player Quotes:

Brenden Morrow:

"I think we are starting to gain some momentum and play with some confidence at home," captain Brenden Morrow said of his club at 2009-10's halfway point. "It could have been three in a row, but the last two games, we had real good efforts. Tonight was a little slow, bouncing around, not really getting many breaks. Today was a disappointment but through 41 games, we’re still plugging away."

 "We felt like we were around it," said Morrow, who assisted on Eriksson’s goal, of the Stars’ final push. "We got opportunities, jam plays, battles in the crease. And Loui is kind of seeing everything right now. He had a couple more chances there late in the game. We wanted to get back out there right away and he gave us a chance."

Brad Richards:

"We played some good hockey, and had them on their heels a bit," said center Brad Richards, who also earned an assist on the goal, of the third period. "We probably ran out of time to beat Luongo. He held them in there in the third. He’s such a big guy; he makes a lot of saves look easy. Positionally, for the most part, he’s usually sound. He made some big saves when he needed to."

"It was a tight game," Richards said. "They scored a power-play goal there to take the lead after we got the momentum. And Luongo shut the door."

Marc Crawford:

"That’s a call that they make from upstairs," Crawford said of the disallowed goal. "They judged that it was a kicking motion; the call didn’t go for us. We kept our determination. I thought we were really good right after the goal, almost scoring immediately. Then we did score, right at the end of the power play after their guy came out of the box. It’s one of those things where you just try and keep your focus, try and keep doing the right things."

"Unfortunately, we had that penalty called against us," Crawford said. "They scored a goal that you’re prepared for, for the most part, but your guy was in the wrong spot and it went in off his skate."

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This is a tough one to sit on for two days for me personally. I am not a happy camper.

But look at the bright side... with 5 of the next 6 games starting at 6:00pm or 6:30 CST, is there another Defending Big D Live Post Game Show in our future....? Email your congressman and demand one!

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Fabian Brunnstrom has been sent down to the AHL for a 'conditioning stint' with the Texas Stars, and had himself a great game last night. Mark Stepneski has the notes:

Fabian Brunnstrom had three points (one goal, two assists), four shots on goal and a plus-one rating in the Texas Stars' 5-4 shootout loss at Manitoba tonight. I watched most of the game and thought he played well. He played a lot of minutes, saw some power play time and was out there late in the game with Texas protecting a 4-3 lead.

Mark notes that Brunnstrom played on the left wing, and not on the right where's he's mostly played this season. Hopefully he can put together some good games and come back with some restored confidence. He's a skillful player, and he should be able to thrive in this system. 

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