The Dallas Stars had a chance to run their pre-season win streak to three in a row (something they were unable to do in the regular season last year) but (like last year) couldn't get a hold of the opportunity and lost 2-1 in Denver, despite a strong performance from Andrew Raycroft, or so the radio told us.
The Avalanche broadcast team on 950am "Cruisin Oldies" was quite taken with the Avalanche in the second period and early third, but Raycroft kept getting in the way. He stopped 25 of 27 shots and sounded quite spectacular at times (I'm trying to take that broadcast and turn it into a Stars positive). Raycroft allowed 2 tonight, Krahn allowed two on Saturday. In their first game, Raycroft allowed 2 in 30 minutes and then Krahn allowed 2 in 30 minutes.
They've been quite even thus far and you have to think that with the final two pre-season games promised to Lehtonen (and his groin), the coaches have seen all the in-game evidence they're going to. Raycroft very likely wins due to experience, and to be fair, it sounded like he had a tougher work load and dealt with it better tonight. It's hardly Brent Krahn's fault that he didn't get peppered on Saturday and thus more opportunity, but those are the breaks.
The story of the game was penalties. Two from Eriksson and two from Barch were of the unnecessary variety...Two high stickings for Loui while Barch took a roughing call and followed it up IMMEDIATELY with a slashing call in the offensive zone. The penalty kills took away any chance at momentum the Stars had, and they spent much of the second and third periods under siege from a young Avs team. They'll have to be more disciplined than that if they're to execute Crawfords game plan on the road to start the season.
James Neal scored the lone Stars goal on the PP in the third period with less than 5 minutes to play. The lineup consisted of 4 forwards and 1 defenseman: Severin Blindenbacher, who assisted on the tally. Only Robidas had more ice time amongst defensemen than Blindenbacher.
With only 27 seconds to go, down a goal, Aaron Gagnon took the faceoff for the Stars in the offensive zone (and lost it). It may have been an NHL heavy roster, but Coach Crawford was still giving the young kids a chance to prove themselves.
Dallas will see these same Avalanche yet again on Thursday when Kari Lehtonen is scheduled to start in goal.
Thanks to everyone who participated in the GDT tonight. Even without TV it was fun.