So do you hear that nose? Kinda off in the distance but strangely getting louder and sounding closer?
Thunk... Thunk... Thunk...
That is the sound of the Stars special teams helping them and doing a quicker job about it.
They allowed two Avalanche goals on three Stars penalty kills. They also went zero for five on the powerplay. That my friends was the difference today as the Stars for the first 30 minutes of this game looked solid and in firm control of things until the penalty kill gave up a second goal against in as many attempts and then two minutes later gave up the game winner on a suspect Chris Stewart wraparound goal that no Stars defender seemed interested in slowing down or that Marty Turco seemed quick enough to stop. From that point on, Mr. Anderson settled in and became a brick wall for Colorado stopping the last 26 Dallas shots in the final 30 minutes.
Maybe it's still that last shred of my hockey soul that wants to remain positive about this season, but Dallas really didn't play that bad. The defense when it was playing 5 on 5 was pretty good. The offense ripped 51 shots on goal so it's not like they couldn't get anything at the Avalanche net or get multiple rebound chances.
But then isn't that how the season has gone for this club? Even when they come out and do quite a few things right, it's one or two mistakes in a game that prove costly.
But as bad as special teams were for the Stars, there are a few other targets that need to be hammered on: The goalies.
Marty Turco wasn't awful today - he did let in that first goal that really, really should have been stopped granted - but he wasn't very good either and allowed four goals on 18 shots. Was he at fault for goals two, three and four? Not completely, but as we saw on the other end today - and as Marty proved a few nights ago in Washington - a really good goalie should pick up the defense from time to time. Marty was yanked after that first goal and Kari Lehtonen was for the third game in a row put in a very tough spot to pick up his team granted, but he wasn't very busy (only four shots against) but it was when he allowed a pretty bad fifth Avalanche goal in the third period that completely took the crowd and his team out of the game for good.
Was the defense in front of them ideal? Not exactly, but the defense wasn't that bad either and this was the kind of game where the Stars goaltending needed to stop some shots to make sure the Avalanche didn't gain any kind of momentum.
The offense in the game - save for the times it was on the power play - was fairly decent. Jamie Benn, Brandon Segal and James Neal were all quite good and did everything they could to help the Stars pick up a win. Brad Richards, Brenden Morrow and Steve Ott? Not quite as good and that's almost inexcusable for those three pull the near disappearing act they all had today at a time when their team needs them the most.
This loss doesn't eliminate the Stars from the playoffs just yet even if it does feel that way for most fans who left the AAC in a foul mood. What it does do though is pretty much make an improbable situation for the team damn near impossible.
The DBD 3 and 38th stars:
1st Star - Craig Anderson (COL): Equal parts good and lucky on this day... Which is exactly what all elite goalies are in this league. Hard to believe Dallas could have maybe had this guy if they hadn't wasted their time trying to get that Sweedish rebound making machine that went to Toronto huh>
2nd Star - Milan Hejduk (COL): Ho-hum.. Another game where Hejduk owns Dallas all game long. A goal and assist against the Stars is nothing new for him.
3rd Star - Paul Stastny (COL): Honestly I didn't really notice him much in this game save for the two times he shot a puck on goal and both times it went in. He was a silent assassin out on the ice tonight.
38th Star - Krys Barch (DAL): Ok it's confession time for me... I started this 38th star deal last game because I wanted to point out just how useless Barch is at this point for the Stars, problem was there was actually someone else who was even worse in that game so I couldn't justify giving it to Barch. I'm glad to see a lot of you liked it and I'm here to say it'll be a regular feature (of at least my recaps anyway) and today It's not a problem to put Barch in this spot! The thing is it's not even all on Barch because how can we expect a guy to produce anything with only three minutes worth of ice time per game? Why does Marc Crawford even dress him at this point?! How is Barch supposed to be benefiting from this? *shrug* Whatever... Just like most of this Stars season, I'm at a loss as to come up with any single rational explanation for it.