It had been eight games since the Stars had lost in a shootout, and despite a spirited comeback effort in the third period they are now 1-for-6 in the skills competition after falling 4-3 to the St. Louis Blues.
Brenden Morrow scored his first goal in eight games, when he deflected a Mike Modano deflection past Ty Conklin with 26 seconds remaining in regulation to tie the game at three and send the contest to overtime. The Stars had gone up 1-0 and 2-1 in the first period only to have the Blues tie the game each time, before going ahead 3-2 in the third period off of a T.J. Oshie goal. Stephane Robidas had a power play goal to open the scoring and Toby Petersen blasted a slapshot past Conklin in transition, his third of the season.
It's tough to really gauge the Stars in this game, as the outcome was a result of both a hard working St. Louis team and some extremely poor execution in the defensive zone. The Stars once again showed their tenacity and resolve when their backs are against the wall, outshooting the Blues 9-1 after going down 3-2 in third period before tying it up in the final minute. At the same time, this was yet another game where the Stars came out and played as the better team only to allow the opposition to climb back into the game.
It was a hard fought affair and once again the Stars sought to exert physical dominance, outhitting the Blues 43-23 led by ten hits apiece by Steve Ott and Stephane Robidas. While the ramped up play was fun to watch, it's still discouraging to see the Stars continue to make the same mistakes around their own net while not taking advantage of early chances on offense. I'll get into this more below, but it also seemed that the Stars were so intent on playing this ramped up style of playing that almost forgot the basics of the system they were playing in. There were fundamental breakdowns throughout the game after a fast start, and the Stars were on their heels for most of the night
Overall, it's good for the Stars to at least pull a point out of the game. It could have been worse and while there were some good things to take away, once again the Stars must find a way to maintain consistency not only night to night, but within the confines of the game itself. The Stars will now travel back to Phoenix, to take on the Coyotes on Friday night at 8:00 p.m. CST.
More thoughts after the jump.
- I wanted to talk a bit about the physicality aspect of the Dallas Stars before we got into some specifics from the Blues game. I've gone on record a few times as saying that there are times when the Stars need to be more physical and to play with an attitude; this sentiment usually comes after a disappointing and lackluster effort against a sub-par opponent. The past few games the Stars have ramped up their physicality, led by Brenden Morrow and of course Steve Ott. I must point out that there is a fine line to walk between being aggressive and assertive along the boards and in the neutral zone and being effective at it, and being reckless in the process. The Stars played sloppy hockey tonight at times and overall the game could be classified as a bit 'ugly'. Despite some great offensive chances for both teams (that led to a high level of excitement), the Stars failed to maintain that pressure they established in the opening minutes. This led to the Blues gaining momentum and never allowing the Stars as much a space as they enjoyed to start the game. Being a physically dominant team is not built to match the Stars' style. While they do need to have the presence to establish a tough forecheck and not allow much space in front of the net, you cannot sacrifice positioning for a big hit.
- As for the Steve Ott fight with Eric Brewer: You knew something was going to happen and it wasn't going to come unprovoked. Ott techinically did nothing wrong as he swiped at the puck that was sitting between Conklin's pads, yet Brewer punished Ott with a brutal cross check to the back of the neck. Ott obviously took exception and the fight was on. While Brewer certainly got the best of Ott during the fight, it was good to see Ott stand up for himself there and really throw the punches. While normally Ott would just take the cross check and accept the penalty that would be awarded, it was apparent he was not pleased with the treatment of his back in front of the crease.
- Can we all just acknowledge the greatness of Brad Richards and how valuable he is to the Stars? He didn't have his best game and struggled defensively at times, but once again Richards had a hand in multiple goals for the Stars. While he didn't have his best overall game, he turned it on in the final minutes of the game and was instrumental in the pressure the Stars put on in order to tie the game at the end.
- I actually don't have a problem with Richards, Ribeiro and Robidas on the shootout. At some point, however, shouldn't we give Jamie Benn a shot?
- While I commend Karlis Skrastins for his toughness, it seemed at times that he just wasn't as mobile as he needs to be. His first pushoff was always awkward and slow and several times he was unable to actively get to a puck around the net and was constantly chasing. A pass across the crease went right through him, leading directly to an easy goal. He was also unable to track down David Backes as he got to a juicy rebound in front of Turco.
- The Dallas Stars were horrible on faceoffs yet again, winning just 38%. Modano struggled, Ribeiro was bad and when the Blues were gaining momentum the Stars were constantly unable to gain control of the puck off the faceoff. At this point, this is just going to be something we have to live with because it's obvious that none of the centers on this team are good in the circle.
- Officially, the Stars had 18 giveaways compared to just 9 for the Blues.
- Here are some notes from the Dallas Stars on the game:
Stats and Stuff:
• Dallas has earned at least a point in four of the last five games (3-1-1 record) and 12 of the last 16 games (8-4-4).
• The Stars scored a power play goal for the third consecutive game. They have scored five power play goals in their last three games.
• Stephane Robidas scored his fourth power play goal of the season. He came into the game ranked tied for second among defensemen in power play goals. Robidas now has seven points in his last seven games.
• Brad Richards picked up two assists tonight, giving him eight points (1 goal, 7 assists) over the last three games. He picked up his 12th power play assist of the season in the first period. Richards came into the game ranked third in the league in power play assists and tied for fourth in overall assists and points.
• Tom Wandell's first period assist gives him three points (1 goal, 2 assists) in his last three games.
• Brenden Morrow's goal gives him points in each of the last two games (1 goal, 1 assist).
• Mike Modano's two assists give him points in five of the last seven games (3 goals, 4 assists).
• Dallas drops to 1-5 on the season in shootout games, and 33-19 all-time.
• THREE STARS OF THE GAME: 1) David Backes, 2) T.J. Oshie, 3) Brad Richards