The Stars have now lost five of their last six on the road after opening their five game trip with a 5-2 loss in San Jose last night. The slow starts of last season and the road struggles of the season before are rearing their unwelcome heads all at the same time, and Kari Lehtonen's unfortunate absence is compounding the issues.
Brenden Morrow's return was a good one, and that line that managed to stay even on the +/- ledger attempted to explain what happened last night.
"They poured it to us and put bodies in front. They were going hard to the net. When you throw pucks at the net and you've got people banging and crashing, good things happen," said Brenden Morrow.
Mike Ribeiro added this. "Obviously we need to play better defensively. The most important thing and the thing we've been giving up are odd-man rushes the last two games. We didn't allow those much before that, but the last two games there have been a lot of three-on-twos. We need to tidy it up there defensively and if we do that it will give us a better chance to win games."
For all the talk about what the Stars need to do better when they don't have the puck, there was remarkably little about what they can do better when they do. It's been obvious from beginning of the season that Glen Gulutzan is preaching defense first, and that from successful defensive execution they can then create offensive chances the other way. That is, perhaps, a little frustrating for Stars fans when game after game Dallas is out-shot by a seemingly wide margin, including 36-20 last night, but we've seen it work in the past.
To the Stars credit they did throw 55 pucks AT the San Jose net to the Sharks' 54 attempted shots (shots + missed shots + blocked shots). San Jose blocked 24 Dallas attempts and the Stars missed the net 11 times.
With four games and thousands of miles remaining there's nothing to do but look forward and know that the Sharks are the best team they were going to face on this trip.
On to the links after the jump...
- Todd McLellan said that his line shuffling made some people mad on his team, and that the mad ones had good games last night. [Mercury News]
- Mike Heika asks the question that's on the minds of most fans this morning: Should Raycroft start the next day? Here he takes a fair look at this issues as well as the team's many issues in trying to support him lately. There is blame to go around on all fronts. Not just the goaltender's. [DMN]
- Enjoy the take from the Shark's perspective as they "flush" one of their "most heated rivals." [Fear The Fin]
- If you missed our latest edition of Stargazing: A Big D Puckcast please check it out. We had a lot of fun recording the show this week and talking about realignment, the suspension, Krys Barch, and all sorts of things that are still relevant, even after this loss. [DBD]
- Looking ahead to the Stars' next opponent: Would you believe that an L.A. King went down and stayed down for a long time, evidently hurt, and then played his next shift? Puck Daddy examines embellishment for injuries and asks whether suspensions should follow such acts. [Puck Daddy]
- Speaking of the Kings, they lost their third straight last night and their offense continues to struggle. Not unlike the Sharks coming into this one last night. They'll be motivated and hungry against the Stars late Saturday night. [latimes.com]
- Another division foe fell last night when the Red Wings took out the Coyotes by that familiar score of 5-2. [Winging it in Motown]
- AND the Ducks lost. Again. Boudreau says he believes the players are too haunted from their first 24 games under Carlyle. [OC Register]
- The Toronto Maple Leafs are worth a pretty penny. Or rather, a couple hundred billion pennies. "Canadian telecommunications giants Bell and Rogers are uniting to buy an 79.53-percent share of the Toronto Maple Leafs. The deal, as reported, is worth $1.32 billion." [NHL.com]
- On a positive note, don't forget the fantastic price lowering efforts going on by the Stars and Mr. Gaglardi today. Get some cheap tickets and come join us in supporting these guys. Check out Mr. Gaglardi's letter to the fans here if you haven't already. [DallasStars.com]