SAN JOSE, CA - MARCH 31: Toby Petersen #17 of the Dallas Stars gets knocked away from the puck by Douglas Murray #3 of the San Jose Sharks in the first period during an NHL hockey game at the HP Pavilion on March 31, 2011 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
I'll try to keep this short because if you stayed up to watch tonight's game then you really don't want to think about it any more and if you didn't then I won't subject you to all the gory details of a 6-0 loss to the San Jose Sharks.
The Dallas Stars did show effort tonight. I won't sit here and say they didn't try or that they don't care or whatever the trendy thing is to say by some people. There was effort out on that ice tonight for Dallas, or as much as can be expected from a club that may be as worn out as this team seems to be.
What was missing and not on the ice tonight for the Stars tonight was mental alertness.
Too many passes missed. Too many shots gone wide. Too many times players were well out of position. It wasn't even that the Sharks were that much better tonight. They were good and did what they had to do, but the Stars looked like a club that was playing in a pre-season game and just getting familiar with each other again, and not a team going into April where passes should be on target more, exits out of defensive zones and entrances into offensive zones should be crisper.
There was lots of "try" tonight, just no execution. The Sharks scored on one of their two power play chances. The Stars got three power plays in near succession in the second period and barely managed two shots on goal in the six minutes and that is when the game really turned against Dallas.
The Sharks were far better in the faceoff dot, they matched the Stars in physical play and they had far more dangerous looking scoring chances just by throwing pucks on net and being at the right places at the right time. San Jose is about to win the Pacific division again and they showed why tonight. They did everything the right way. They played smart, they stayed within their system and executed when they had the chances presented to them...
They did what the Stars probably have every intention of doing every game and wanted to do tonight, the difference is they have the depth and - lets not kid ourselves here - more talent to do it.
Though at the risk of having most of you roll your eyes permanently into the back of your heads, I'll take this moment to remind you that the Stars are still in a playoff race and still have a chance. Maybe some of you would prefer that we just put the toe tag on the body already while the chest is still moving up and down, but that's not how they do things on Miami CSI and that's not how things work in the NHL.
Saturday afternoon is yet another chance for the Stars to turn "try" into "results".
- Tom Wandell, Jamie Benn and Jamie Langenbrunner had very solid games tonight. The problem is as we've pointed out a few times lately is that the liked of Brenden Morrow, Brad Richards and Loui Eriksson have not and that's the start of issues for the Stars. A team's best players have to be their best players and Dallas hasn't had that for a couple of weeks now.
- Kari Lehtonen got yanked after the fourth goal allowed... Not that he was bad saving 29 of 33 shots, but he was getting no support so thus he got the break. Andrew Raycroft came in and did as well as could be expected from a backup goalie who hasn't seen actual game action in forever and has no real defense in front of him.
- Look at the defense all you want - and it wasn't good as a unit of course - but the forwards for Dallas did not do enough to back-check and help take some pressure off the goalies and defensemen.
Defending Big D Three Stars
1 - Stars fans who watched start to finish and gutted it out (DAL)
2 - Fans who stopped watching early not wanting to subject themselves to pain (DAL)
3 - Stars fans who still "believe" (DAL)