There were moments tonight where the Stars looked good and confident on the ice and looked very much like a team that could make a run at the playoffs and do some damage. But there were also moments where they looked rattled and unsure of what exactly they are supposed to be doing on the ice. There were moments of brilliance from key players on both sides of the ice that made us cheer and go "yes, that's it!" and other moments where all we could do as fans was just shake our head and think "how does this keep happening to us?" (I'm looking at you Trevor Daley with the puck going off your body beside the net and past your own goalie yet again for the game winner no less tonight!)
The Stars had a good game tonight where you can't say they played overly horrible at any point but they weren't all that great either. They hung with their opponents as much as they could all game and in the end just didn't have enough to come out on the winning end of things. No one - except for Steve Ott as he had two goals on the night and was the best play on the ice by far for either team - was exceptionally good, but then no one was really that poor either.
More on the game after the jump...
Did Daley and his partner for the night Jeff Woywitka have a tough night? A little bit defensively, but then they did do some nice things offensively and I really liked how both seemed to know when to pinch in on a play and when to back off. Jamie Benn was good, James Neal was good, Brad Richards was good - they all picked up assists tonight - but they weren't game changers by any sense either. Stephane Robidas kept on piling up shots, Brenden Morrow did well to work the corners and front of the net, Mike Ribiero had his feet moving all night and Karlis Skrastins maybe had the best game he's played since coming back from the Olympic reak and his play is no longer a concern for me.
At the same time as all the good decent stuff was taking place though, the payoff in goals didn't come like it did against San Jose the other night and to make matters worse there were mistakes all over the ice that Dallas committed from start to end that doomed them to a loss... No huge errors, but little ones - like the Scott Hartnell game winner that bounced off Daley - that just make you as a Stars fan shake your head in disbelief.
As for in goal, Kari Lehtonen in his second start was the same as all his teammates. He played well, maybe looked a little shaky at times and certainly I think he would have liked back that first goal that was scored by Simone Gagne off a goal mouth scramble... but overall it was a good night for him despite the loss.
The Flyers to their credit came in and played a pretty good road game where they kept things simple at both ends of the ice and got fairly good goaltending from Brian Boucher. That's all they got and on this night all they needed to get two points.
Now while some of you can be (and I'm sure are) angry with the result of this game and how the Stars played, I for one am not and I sense from most of the comments in tonight's game thread I am not alone feeling this way. Why bother at this point? Maybe it's because it wasn't against a western conference rival and maybe it's because the Stars needed a miracle to make a playoff run anyway, but it really did feel like "meh" kind of game tonight.
Just like the Stars effort, tonight's game was not great but not horrid either.
Your Defending Big D 3 and 38th stars:
1st Star - Steve Ott (DAL): As I said, best player on the ice for either team. Scored two and was at his super-pest best all night without ever going over the edge.
2nd Star - Mike Richards (PHI): Scored a very pretty goal in the second and led the way for the Flyers offensively.
3rd Star - Simon Gagne (PHI): I've always felt Gagne is somewhat underrated as a player now because early in his career he was maybe a bit overrated. He too had a goal and assist like Richards and I liked his play in the defensive side of the ice as well.
38th Star - Toby Petersen (DAL): What happened to the hard hustling Toby we had last game? Where did that guy go and how do we get him back?