I think the thing I most take away from this night is the body language from Mark Fistric after Jonathan Quick stopped him on a point blank snapshot in the late second period. Fistric immediately raised his hands in the air, raised his head towards the ceiling of the American Airlines Center with an exasperated, "Why? Just, WHY?" expression on his face.
It's safe to say the rest of the Dallas Stars are asking themselves the same question.
Through the first 33 minutes, the Stars did everything right. They were making good decisions behind and around their own net. They were seemingly controlling possession well. They were generating chances, and they were outshooting their opponent.
But Jonathan Quick was not amused, and the Stars couldn't cash in on quality scoring chances. And then...well, it fell apart. Alexei Ponikarovsky and Wayne Simmonds both scored within 9 seconds of each other, and it was game over from there.
For the second straight game, the Stars outplayed and outshot their opponent at the beginning of the game, and still wound up on the losing end. You can tell just how frustrated this team is right now, and we can't really blame them. They've had numerous scoring chances on this homestand so far, but the opposing goaltenders are simply having none of it. It's the same storyline over these last few games: let up an early goal, get one back on the power play, generate tons of quality opportunites but get stymied by brilliant goaltending until the other team grabs the momentum and doesn't look back.
It's a frustrating stretch of hockey for both players and fans alike...but it's not like the season is doomed or anything. It's just a stretch of misfortune. As Ralph Strangis said it, "They're the Bad-Luck Stars right now." Eventually the luck will turn their way again...that's how sports go.
Just have to be patient in the mean time.
After the jump, we'll bullet-point our way through some specifics of tonights game, and the 3 Stars...
- The power play continues to not click for the Stars, and it clearly hurt them tonight. Dallas was 1 for 6 on the man advantage, and that one goal only came on a 5-on-3 with five Stars forwards on the ice. On 5-on-4s, the team continues to struggle with entering and getting the puck settled in the offensive zone. Until this team gets the power play going, the Stars will struggle to get out of this funk.
- Philip Larsen looked good in the first half of the game, with some deft passes and simple but effective plays behind his own net. He simply didn't make many mistakes tonight handling the puck, which is always a plus. However, he was clearly overmatched physically at some points, but with his size that just comes with the package. Overall, not a bad showing from the young Dane.
- Jamie Benn seemed like he was trying to do way too much on his own tonight. Maybe it was the fact he was playing on the wing for the first time all season, I don't know. Whatever the case, he seemed a bit too overaggressive and trigger-happy when entering the zone tonight.
- Brenden Morrow showed why he's the captain of this team in the third period tonight, when he made a series of physical plays that fired up the team and the fans for a few minutes. Brenden Morrow did what he do, and tried to carry the team on his back.
- Speaking of the crowd, the announced crowd was a little over 11,000 tonight. But it REALLY emptied out when things went south. Part of me wants the Rangers to just lose the next two games and get this thing over with.