(Before we start with the recap, we had fully intended to do a Defending Big D post game show tonight, but technical issues prevented us from getting on the air. We will have a show Tuesday night though at our usual time of 7:30 pm CST .. look for more info on the show tomorrow morning!)
That folks is what we call a crummy night.
A 3-2 Dallas Stars loss in a shootout to the Columbus Blue Jackets which feels like more of a kick in the teeth than it should be because it was a game that the Stars for the most part probably deserved a little better of a fate in.
It's not like the Stars were grossly outplayed for any length of time during the game by the Blue Jackets. Yes the Jackets did outshoot the Stars 29-18 for the game and they were outhit by the Jackets though I don't think it was quite as severe as the scorer in Columbus had it at which was 41 Jackets hits to the Stars 18. In fact, I'd argue the Stars had a lot more puck possession in that game (which would maybe help start to explain the huge gap in hits) but the problem is the Stars didn't fire the puck on net as many times as I'm sure coach Crawford would have liked to have seen, and the times they did shoot the puck at the net, they were shots that went high or wide and sometimes both at the same time.
So, failure to shoot and / or shoot accurately and more importantly a failure to capitalize on the power play which went 0 for 4 tonight and is now below 5% efficiency on the road. I think those are the biggest culprits Stars fans, players and coaches alike can point to as factors in where this game went wrong for Dallas.
Outside of that though it wasn't a complete loss as this is the NHL and even when you lose, you at least still can win a point.
(More thoughts and the three stars after the jump...)
- I felt all four lines the Stars rolled out were good and no one really took a night off or coasted too terribly. Aaron Gagnon drew into the lineup tonight to relieve some injury issues, picked up an assist on the Brad Richards goal in the second period and overall did well for himself playing a smart and simple game. Steve Ott continued his great play picking up the other Stars goal. Kudos as well to Brandon Segal and James Neal who also had fine nights.
- The defense was solid, gave a good effort and limited mistakes made to only a few by my count. Trevor Daley especially had a gutsy effort tonight considering he was coming off an illness and in the first period looked to take a knee on knee hit that hobbled him for a while but didn't take him out of the game. I think we all can agree as well that Jeff Woywitka isn't exactly an offensive dynamo by any stretch, but he did make at least a couple of very nice plays to break up Jackets scoring chances.
- Seriously Columbus.. the new "cannon" mascot is stupid. I know many other people are calling it something else, but I personally will not go there because as someone who actually liked "the mooterus" I know what it's like to have people pile on with such comments. But really, ditch that mascot while you can.
- I bet Kari Lehtonen would have liked that first goal against scored by Kris Russell back that just snuck past him far side and an inch under the top corner, but sometimes you just have to tip your hat (mask) and admit it was a good shot. Beyond that goal and the second Jackets goal (which we'll get to in a moment) the Stars goalie played as well as can be expected. When a goalie gives you a .931 save percentage on the night, you should think that gives you a great chance to skate away a winner.
That final call of holding on Karlis Skrastins at the 18:10 mark of the third was ugly and 9.5 times out of 10 wouldn't be called, but lets step back and realize that while one call that allowed the Jackets to get a full minute of 6 on 4 power play time (due to them having pulled Mathieu Garon) did allow them to tie up the game, it should not be seen as the reason the Stars lost it. The Stars had their chances as we've pointed out and couldn't get the job done when they had a chance to do it themselves.
A few days ago we sat here and while most of us agreed that the call the Washington Capitals got against them in a game against the Stars was a bum deal for them, but these calls do happen to all teams and somehow they have a way of evening out. Doesn't make it any easier for us to take the loss, but the best you or the players or coaches can do is shrug it off, at least enjoy the one point that the team did earn and get ready for the next game on Wednesday.
Who knows, maybe it'll be the start of another win streak.
Defending Big D Three Stars