The Dallas Stars are 0-4-3 when they record 40 or more shots on goal. Including shot differentials in the +20's on several occasions. Like tonight, as they dominated the Colorado Avalanche mercilessly for huge stretches of play, and get a 4-3 loss for their trouble.
They dropped four of five against Colorado this year in a season series that could single handedly damn them in April when it's all said and done.
Shots are an empty stat sometimes, but not tonight. They had quality looks at will throughout as the Avs leaned entirely on Semyon Varlomov.
Varlamov book-ended his performance in the team's first meeting this year with another larcenous outing stopping 41 of 44 tonight. Shot attempts were 71-41 in favor of Dallas.
The Stars dominated for the vast majority, out-shooting the Avs to but the opening minutes of the first period proved problematic as they fell behind quickly, and then by two before getting their game in order.
Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn were on a mission tonight, accounting for all of the Dallas Stars offense and close to so much more throughout, but key power play opportunities in the third period that would have tied the game eluded them, and they received no help from their counterparts.
In the end it was a lucky bounce off of Sergei Gonchar's skate in front of Kari Lehtonen was the difference. Lehtonen was named the league's first star of the week today but faltered in unison with the play in front of him, and some unfortunate bounces.
They weren't going to win them all, but to waste another one of these golden performances on home ice is quite painful.
The crispy nature (according to Cody Eakin) of the previous three games was thrown out the window with facility in the first as the defensive coverage could not catch up to what the Avalanche were doing, culminating in a very quick Avalanche goal after a Goligoski turnover and a lost battle in front.
Then things went from bad to worse as the Stars lost Jamie McGinn in traffic and he made it 2-0. Matt Duchene started the play, and was being countered by the Shawn Horcoff and Alex Chiasson combination, with another mistake by the Goligoski/Daley pairing to boot.
Luckily Jamie Benn continued his hot play of late, cutting the deficit in half as time wound down in the period off a nice find from Tyler Seguin.
The Stars then enjoyed a lengthy three-second power play to end the first before Erik Cole was whistled for interference off the faceoff.
Dallas would get their power play back to start the second thanks to a trip on Tyler Seguin, and he himself would do the damage, tying the game on a pretty passing play, and breaking his goal drought in the process.
The Stars would use that and the remnants of another power play after the smoke cleared to bull their way to a 10-1 shot advantage and a number of quality chances throughout, yet no lead after wave and wave of attack.
The period was not without its bouts of self inflicted wounds as Antoine Roussel took a retaliatory penalty and a too many men on the ice call in the late stages gave the Avalanche good looks on the power play to erase all the hard work.
And it was enough. The Stars were the much, much, much better team through 40 minutes, but they trailed to a team that doesn't lose when leading heading into the third.
But Tyler Seguin was back, baby, and I'd give all my Star Wars cards to be able to release the puck like he did on that game tying goal from the right circle just before the period ended.
Another dangerous Dallas Stars power play started things off, but when it didn't connect the Avalanche got the lucky bounce they really didn't earn down at the other end, and the Stars found themselves chasing the game for a third time.
That turned out to be the game as Dallas pushed and pushed and pushed, including another power play with more golden opportunities. In the end it was the Avs that were favored with the puck luck while the Stars were left to wonder why.
How relieved was Tyler Seguin? And that puck, the slow motion replay revealed, was waffling and knuckling its entire way there off Jamie Benn's stick. Amazing concentration to make that work.
How long did the have too many men on the ice? We don't do that in my rec league.
The second mouse gets the cheese, Razor likes to say, and that goes for goal scoring and, when Antoine Roussel is involved, taking penalties. You can't retaliate. He's got to know better than that. But the Stars killed it anyway. Then he got out of the box in the midst of more quality chances and nearly caused another unnecessary disturbance in a tie game they worked hard to get that way. Too much. Just way too much.
The Maple Leafs, winning while getting out-shot and enjoying outrageous performances from their goaltenders, eventually fell off. The Avalanche seem to do the same every time we see them and yet keep on keeping on.
Val looked just along for the ride at times tonight, but when Seguin and Benn are skating like they did how many could keep up?
Goligoski had a dreadful first period defending. Then added two assists quickly in the second. Emblematic of what most of the Stars can do when they're worrying about attacking rather than being attacked. They need that puck.