The Dallas Stars ended their season with a 3-2 loss to the St. Louis Blues Saturday night at the American Airlines Center. The Stars effort was there in game 82, but Stephane Robidas, Mike Ribeiro, Steve Ott, Sheldon Souray, Radek Dvorak, Mark Fistric, Jake Dowell, Kari Lehtonen and Toby Petersen were not. Some were scratched due to injury, and some were scratched to accommodate the debut of several youngsters.
The loss puts the Stars in 10th place in the Western Conference and leaves them with just 89 points on the year. The Blues had a chance at the Presidents Trophy tonight but a Vancouver win negates it.
St. Louis showed a fairly lackluster effort in this one despite having lost four straight. A lucky bounce and a screen helped them find two fortunate goals and they got their wheels turning in the third period a bit. They'll have to do much better as the Kings or Sharks come to town to start round 1.
Fan appreciation night made for a light atmosphere at the arena, but the absence of the high stakes of the last several weeks left a gaping hole in the building felt by all.
"It was a different game, but I thought we competed hard, and I thought some of our young guys showed pretty well," said Glen Gulutzan afterward.
Among those who showed well were Brenden Dillon and Jordie Benn on defense. Benn recorded his second assist of the season in the third period when he started the play that led to Ryan Garbutt's goal, with brother Jamie in the penalty box watching.
Dillon was solid on the back end in his NHL debut and had a number of nice hits and defensive plays. He recorded a game high 6 shots on goal in 20 minutes of ice time, had an even plus/minus rating and blocked three shots to go along with four hits.
Neither Reilly Smith nor Scott Glennie recorded a shot on goal in limited ice time. Both recorded even plus/minus numbers and both took their first NHL minor penalties - Smith for high-sticking and Glennie for holding. An inauspicious debut Glennie and inauspicious continuation for Smith, both of whom now return to Austin to finish the season.
Richard Bachman continued delivering a solid performance on net and two of those three goals were really beyond his control, and the third was a perfect shot by Perron in a one-on-one situation. Bachman availed himself well yet again, and will look forward now to settling his RFA situation with a nice new contract to backup Kari Lehtonen for a full season next year.
The Stars went 0-4 on the power play.
Enjoy Easter/Passover and think kindly of the Stars, who took the short end of the stick this season and battled themselves to a real chance through 81 games. We'll be back Monday to start the autopsy.