In a game that meant little to either team, the way this game played out should irk plenty of Stars fans. Tonight epitomized the entire season: Missed opportunities, physically dominated, a hot opposing goaltender, couldn't handle the puck, a lifeless powerplay. Oh, and boring to the point that I almost fell asleep.
Like so many times this season, the Stars lacked the extra spark of energy needed to finish off a three game win streak. The fact that the Blues didn't look too awake either only makes it more confounding that the Stars couldn't get more than one goal on Chris Mason.
Follow the jump for more on this doozy of a loss, and the 3 and 38th stars of the game....
What did we learn from this game? The same thing we've been learning all season long: This team lives and dies on the power play. Dallas only managed one goal in five tries with the man advantage, and even that one was due to bad puck handling by the Blues in front of the net off a faceoff win.
Come to think of it, that play pretty much summed up the entire game.
Part of the reason why no one could manage a goal was that neither team could pass to save their lives. Both penalty kills were disruptive in the passing lanes, and the mental lapses during simple rushes were flat out perplexing at times. When you see four back-to-back scoring opportunities in one sequence for both teams, you know the policy for both teams is 'pass first, look later'. Heck, even Brad Richards turned the puck over in neutral ice multiple times tonight.
The fact remains, though, that the Stars made too many errors to win this game. If not for a David Backes fumble in the first and a huge Kari Lehtonen save late in the third, the score would've been much worse than a simple one-goal deficit. And while I'm talking about it, that Backes chance was horrific. How can the D completely abandon the front of the net like that? I'm no hockey expert, but I'm pretty sure there needs to be at least one guy covering the front of the net. Oh, and don't forget it happened again in the second period, only this time it was a two-on-one in front of the net and there was nothing Stephane Robidas could do to keep the puck from making its way into the net. To make such an egregious mistake TWICE in one game is almost.....well, let's just say my gast is flabbered.
Anyways, not much you can do about it at this point in the season but shrug your shoulders and get ready for the final hammer to come down on the Stars playoff chances. Which could be any time now.
Your Defending Big D 3 and 38th Stars:
1st Star: TJ Oshie (STL) - Wreaked havoc all night, and made Nicklas Grossman look more sick than he reportedly was. In a game where everyone looked like they had just rolled out of bed, Oshie was the sole man on the ice who looked like he downed a few Red Bulls.
2nd Star: Chris Mason (STL) - What is up with him this season against the Stars? Stopped 24 shots, and has now won 11 of his last 16 starts. Which is about as much as it seems he's beaten the Stars this season.
3rd Star: Brenden Morrow (DAL) - One of maybe four Stars tonight (James Neal, Jamie Benn, and Lehtonen) who played with an extra spark in their skates. That goal off the faceoff was all determination and will. A pure Brenden Morrow goal.
38th Star: Brad Richards (DAL) -Well, he had one of *those* nights that he never seems to have. One assist, but other than that not much else than a penalty and a bunch of turnovers. At one point he had three turnovers in a row. A forgettable night for the Jedi Master.