Ok, lets just get this over with shall we?
We have to face the facts, it's not like the Dallas Stars were going to go the entire span of 2011 without a loss in regulation right? It sucks the loss came in the form of a 7-4 defeat at the hands of the Calgary Flames, but it was bound to happen. If last night's game was a "trap game" then tonight's was the trap you fall into after clearing the first trap and thinking you're safe and sound for the next while.
And I think a lot of us knew we were in for a long night when Alex Tanguay - the same guy that finished off the Stars back on December 23rd - opened up the scoring a little over three minutes into this game. To their credit the Stars kept fighting back in this game starting with taking a lead a little over halfway through the first period off of goals from Brenden Morrow and Brad Richards.
The Stars gave up four Flames goals in a row from the 15:10 mark of the first until the 18:04 mark of the second period, but again thanks to a Nicklas Grossman goal late in the second period and a James Neal goal very early in the third to cut the Flames lead to one, it looked like the Stars were yet again prime for another amazing finish.
Two more Calgary goals after that though put those thoughts to bed, and really the end result we have standing before us is pretty much indicative of how this night went for Dallas.
Andrew Raycroft struggled all night, was caught out of position and not square to shooters often and let in a handful of soft goals. The Stars defense as a group did their best Spanish matador impressions as they would let Calgary forwards skate past them often and allow the Stars net to be a meeting point for multiple players in red jerseys.
The Stars forwards... Well that may have been the lone bright spot because for the most part they were ok. They actually - if you can believe it - out shot the Flames by a 21-19 count and of course four goals on the road is good. But they did commit a fair amount of turnovers and they got caught many times chasing the puck on their own side of the red line.
Plain and simple, not a good night at all for the Dallas Stars. But hey, it's only one game and it was bound to happen sooner or later right? The Stars themselves admitted that their effort the previous night in Edmonton wasn't great so tonight just was a continuation of those issues against a Flames team that will make you pay if you get lazy on them - just as the Montreal Canadiens.
Lets just consider this a harsh lesson learned for all involved and move on shall we?
Which we will after a few more thoughts and three stars after the jump...
- Special teams not so special tonight. Power play goes 0 for 2 and again gave up some prime scoring chances for the opposition (which thankfully didn't end up as goals) while the penalty kill allows a goal on 2 third period chances against.
- Loui Eriksson sat out the game with a flu, or flu-like symptoms, or some sort of head cold... Bottom line is he was sick and hopefully he didn't pass it on to anyone else.
- Matt Niskanen returned to the lineup and yikes he was not good. Maybe it was rust from being off for so long? As if his struggles in his own end weren't enough, thanks to Grossman picking up his goal in the second period, Nisky is now the only Stars "regular" player (that is a player that has played 30 or more games with the Stars this season) to have not scored a goal, unless you count the goalies as well.
- Maybe Adam Burish should get a night off soon? Not that he's playing poorly, quite the opposite in fact. He's been a blocking machine all season and two shots he blocked tonight you could tell stung quite hard and he was slow to recover from. Of course, being the warrior he is one of his legs will need to fall off before he takes a night off and even then...
- Other Stars getting points: Mike Ribeiro has three assists and now has a league leading 11 game points streak. Richards had an assist to go with his goal. Stephane Robidas, Jamie Benn and Jamie Langenbrunner all had solo helpers.
- One last thought: Don't Panic