USA TODAY Sports
The Stars continued their season-long march to the box and the Phoenix Coyotes made them pay at Jobing.com Arena.
Stop me if you've heard this one before - the Dallas Stars start a game fairly well but get themselves into penalty trouble and let a game get away from them in the second period.
While the Stars seemed to have conquered some of the things that plagued them recently in Friday's shootout victory, it was more of the same Saturday in a 2-0 loss to Phoenix at Jobing.com Arena.
The Stars took eight penalties, drew only two, and were outshot by a large margin in an ugly road loss. It continues their streak of futility in back-to-back games as well.
Here's how it happened in the desert.
It would have been a more-than-acceptable road period for the Stars if not for their old friend - offensive zone penalty troubles. The Stars took a pair of high sticking minors from Michael Ryder and Ryan Garbutt and compounded that with a hooking call from Vernon Fiddler to hand the Coyotes three power plays.
The Stars gave up a few prime chances as well, including a tip deep in the zone that died in Richard Bachman's chest and a rebound that lay tantalizingly in the crease before being cleared. But Bachman was up to ever task as the Stars were outshot 11-6.
Dallas finally got a power play of its own late in the period when Loui Eriksson took advantage of a neutral zone turnover and broke in between the Coyotes defensemen. Radim Vrbata was forced to hook his arms to avoid giving up a prime scoring chance.
A familiar storyline played out in the second. The Stars continued to dig themselves a hole with their penalties, handed the momentum to the other team and spend much of the second chasing.
Jamie Oleksiak and Stephane Robidas continued the Stars penalty parade in the second with a tripping and interference call, respectively. And while the Stars continued to string together strong penalty kills, the familiar plot of "power plays lead to momentum for the opposing team" reared its ugly head.
The Coyotes rode that momentum for an 11-3 shots on goal advantage, and they finally broke through Bachman late in the period when several Stars forwards got caught up ice by a Mike Smith pass. The Coyotes fourth line came down on an odd-man rush, and Nick Johnson capped it off with a shot that bounced off the post.
After a promising start to the period with some solid 4-on-4 work, the Stars sent themselves right back on the penalty kill after Michael Ryder was called for boarding. While the hit wasn't much, it did launch the Coyote off his feet and caught the attention of the referee.
Things went from bad to worse to Stars quickly as Mikkel Boedker found a big rebound off the pad of Bachman and put the puck into a yawning net to make the score 2-0. From there, the Coyotes clamped down on defense and never allowed the Stars to really threaten other than a few chances in transition.
I'll have more tomorrow on this game, including the player's thoughts on penalty problems.