"We lost the game in that two-minute span" said Stars coach Lindy Ruff.
And it was a rough span, coming as it did at the end of the first period, with the Stars having created a number of good scoring chances during the early stages of the match, and even taken the lead on a pretty goal by Erik Cole. However, two forgettable minutes as a member of the Stars defensive corps then followed. And it was here that, arguably, the game was lost in a thirty second span, when the Stars went from having a one-goal lead to having a one goal deficit. Not that a one goal deficit should be an insurmountable challenge, but tonight, with rookie Carter Hutton starting in goal for the Predators, it proved to be.
Story of the game though? Special teams. The Stars were given looks multiple times, and even produced some quality scoring chances on the powerplay, but eventually that wasn't enough. On the defensive side of things, on Tuesday night Dallas was able to kill an early 5 on 3, a result of a penalty taken and an additional minor when a defenseman cleared the puck over the boards on the ensuing faceoff. Well, last night, the Stars didn't fare so well. Exact same situation, but this time they were only able to keep the Predators from scoring on the 5 on 3 for about 11 seconds. And the following 5 on 4 powerplay wasn't much better.
Winning the 5v5 game ultimately doesn't count for much unless one wins the special teams battles as well. And with last night's defensive breakdowns coinciding with an anemic powerplay, the Stars were unable to do that.
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And last night's game notes. [Stars Inside Edge]
Today's 'Three Periods' over on Yahoo focuses primarily on the off-ice aspect of things: management changes for the Flames, Pat Quenneville doing a not so bad job, and are the Islanders struggles the fault of the coaching? [Yahoo Sports]
Games galore! A rundown here of all the other less-important games being played last night. Just in case you want to seem knowledgeable. [ProHockeyTalk]
Fancy stats are getting fancier. Shot quality factored into Corsi to produce 'Expected Goals'? The name needs some work, but color me intrigued. [SB Nation]
Down Goes Brown talks HBO, Evil Alfie, and Mike Babcock's F-bombs. [Grantland]
And lastly, what is going on in our nation's capital? Somebody save us. [Puck Daddy]