One of the most frustrating things about the recent stretch of the Dallas Stars schedule is that even when they play well, they seem to find ways to give points away.
They lost a point against the Buffalo Sabres by losing a late draw. They gave away a point to the Calgary Flames by letting them score in the third period before eventually winning in overtime. And they may have lost a point against the Phoenix Coyotes from a pretty terrible Mark Fistric turnover in overtime.
When you look at all those games, you can objectively say the Stars were playing pretty good hockey for the most part. But at what point does is that not enough anymore?
Mike Heika has a thought-provoking (and free!) column on this issue, which centers on the almost exhausting cycle this thing has settled into for fans over the past 3-4 months.
This passage focuses on the duality of what's going on right now. They're right in the race, and they're not falling out of it. But they're not taking advantage of the opportunity to move up in the race either.
They're officially 3-4-2 in that stretch, and the points do count for something, but this is not a happy time. During one of the most manageable stretches of the schedule, Dallas dropped the ball. It failed to put together the winning streak it needed. This team has not won three games in a row since December.
But if they can just get that win over Nashville on Sunday and stop the 0-8-2 jinx that has haunted them on the second night of back-to-back games....
After the jump, more on today's game against the Nashville Predators, a former Star goes a little stupid while playing for the Minnesota Wild and are the Los Angeles Kings just trying not to score goals?
- Hmm, so after a turnover cost the Stars in the first period and then an even more egregious turnover led directly to the game-winning goal, I wonder what angle Mark Stepneski will use for his game story. [ESPN Dallas]
- I'll admit, the elementary schoolgirl in me giggles a little bit at Ryan Garbutt's name. But he was a pretty solid part of the fourth line in his NHL debut, and I always like to see guys who had to take the long road eventually get rewarded with an NHL appearance. [DallasNews.com]
- Radim Vrbata has been really, really good this season, so it's no surprise that he came through in the end for the Coyotes. [Arizona Republic]
- Here's how our friends over at Five For Howling saw the game. Their take - the play of the goalies was probably the most impressive thing from either team. [Five For Howling]
- The best thing about the game on Twitter? Seeing all the people with their quizzical reactions to the Alice Cooper bobblehead promotion. [FoxSports.com]
- Warren Peters was recently in the Stars minor league system before getting a chance with the Minnesota Wild because of the team's 1.2 million man games lost. But he lost his mind for a moment in Saturday's loss to the St. Louis Blues, cross-checking David Backes in the ear late in the game. Now, it's not the worst cross-check to the face I've ever seen (hi Milan Lucic!), but it's certainly suspension worthy, and he has a phone hearing with the league. [Puck Daddy]
- Since throwing a big pile of money at Ilya Bryzgalov hasn't solved their goaltending woes, the Philadelphia Flyers are apparently determined to trade for every defenseman on the market. They added another blueliner Saturday as they picked up Pavel Kubina from the Tampa Bay Lightning for a pair of draft picks. [Philadelphia Inquirer]
- The Rio Grande Valley WhiteWings of the CHL have been involved in some less-than-sportsmanlike moments already this season. But Aaron Boogaard, brother of the late Derek, is catching some serious heat over punching a photographer from a Texas Brahmas fan site. Now, any photographer who is actively chirping players during games should have his credential pulled. But the athlete can never stoop to the level of physical retaliation, either. [Puck Daddy]
- Meet the enemy, part the first: The Nashville Predators are looking forward to the debut of their new very large pylo.... er, Hal Gill, formerly of the Canadiens. This article describes him as a "premier defensive player," which is what I think the Predators hope they're getting and not necessarily how he's played over the last few years. [The Tennessean]
- Meet the enemy, part the second: Our friends over at On The Forecheck are very excited their team is apparently stocking up for a playoff run, and they have their own set of relevant links about the deal. [On The Forecheck]
- Around the Pacific Division: I really shouldn't be this amused by the struggles of the Los Angeles Kings offense, especially because they've scored three or more against the Stars three times this year. But they were shutout yet again, this time in a 1-0 regulation loss to the Calgary Flames. [ESPN Los Angeles]
- Other scoreboard watching: The Chicago Blackhawks are trying to make up for all the offense they didn't muster in their nine-game losing streak with a 6-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. And the Minnesota Wild are now only one point ahead of the Anaheim Ducks for 13ths place after a 4-0 loss to the St. Louis Blues that was ugly in more ways than one. [Chicago Tribune/Minneapolis Star-Tribune]
- I missed this yesterday because I fail as links girl. I apologize. But still, even late, the Thursday Morning Cupcheck is always good for a laugh, especially when Rick Nash and trade rumors are involved. [Thursday Morning Cupcheck]
- Stars coach Glen Gulutzan was short, sweet and rightfully a little angry in his post-game media scrum.