We've said it before and we went into detail during last night's post-game show; get ready because this season is going to be one hell of a bumpy ride for Stars fans. After forcing overtime in a game they should have won by four goals, the Dallas Stars lost once more in the extra frame. Instead of the normal 'here's a rundown of what happened' game recap, I'm going to give you ten thoughts on tonight's overtime loss to the Atlanta Thrashers; we'll have much more details and breakdowns tomorrow.
First thought: Ondrej Pavelec is incredible.
Ten more thoughts, after the jump.
- Before we get to all of the bad, bad stuff from this game, let's go over the good. Stephane Robidas rebounded from perhaps his worst game of the season and had yet another big game from the point for the Stars. He would finish with two goals, an assist and seven shots on goal and maintained the strong play on defense he's had all season long. He's developed a knack for knowing just when to launch a shot from the point, and you have to give the guys credit for creating big traffic in front of the net.
- I know we're all pissed off at the outcome, but it's just bad damn luck that in a game the Stars showed great execution, determination and hard work in, they face a goaltender that is a cross between Dominik Hasek and Patrick Roy. That the Stars scored five goals tonight is a testament to the offensive firepower the Stars showcased; this could easily have been an eight goal game. The Thrashers were completely unconcerned with covering the trailing forward or defensemen tonight, and it opened up some prime opportunities. Once again. the Stars were unable to cash in and they paid for it.
- After going through a stretch where the penalty kill looked so good and was giving this team ample opportunities to win, they have now allowed five power play goals in the past two nights. Tonight, the Stars took some unnecessary penalties and gave the Thrashers a chance to get back in the game with their top-ranked power play. Atlanta has some snipers on the team; giving them open chances time and again is a certain recipe for disaster.
- We've shouted from the rooftops all season long that Jamie Benn needs to shoot more. See what happens?
- Brenden Morrow finished the game with zero shots, one hit and was a minus-1. He was instrumental in causing some big messes in front of Pavelec, but that is not the game we need from our captain the night after the worst loss of the season.
- Here's a perfect microcosm for how the Stars' season has gone. On a night when the Stars explode with 47 shots against a team ill concerned with playing defense, on a night when the Stars score more than four goals for the first time in eleven games, the goaltenders decide to take the night off. Sure, there were some defensive breakdowns but when you're playing a kinetic team like Atlanta and in a system that's designed to expose the goalies at times, you need your netminders to be in top form. Allowing six goals on 25 shots is frankly pathetic.
- However, no excuse for one again absolutely putrid defensive coverage and a breakdown of fundamentals. The inability to cover the backside of the net, the constant lack of attempts to take out trailing forwards in the slot and a dark void where the transition game should be has left this defensive corps ragged and a pale glimmer of what they once were. Is the loss of Zubov and Norstrom affecting this team that much? Despite any offense the Stars may try and put together, this team will go nowhere until the defense finds a way at least be average. These players are better than they are showing right now; they may not be the best group but they are better than this.
- With Trevor Daley out indefinitely, and Mark Fistric leaving in the second period, I'm certain that the Stars' defense was gassed late in the game. Yet the sight of seeing Matt Niskanen make a poor clearing attempt then fail to adequately cover his man in front of the net is getting beyond frustrating. He's a good player who is better than the level he is performing at right now, and I'm at a loss at how you fix it. One idea would be to give him less time on the power play and keep him fresh throughout the game, especially if Vishnevskiy is called up.
- I agree with Crawford's decision to pull Auld after he allowed two quick goals to let Atlanta take the lead in the second period. Auld looked shaky in net, Turco had a somewhat decent game last night and Crawford wanted to keep his team's head above water as they fought to not be overcome by frustration once again.
- The next five games for the Stars: Detroit, San Jose, Columbus, at Colorado and Chicago. Get ready for one rough and dangerous two weeks.
- Finally, thank goodness for Eriksson's visor. While I'm happy for the goal it scored, I'm even more ecstatic that his nose/eyes/face were saved from a potentially serious injury. I'm still uncertain why players refuse to wear one.
Ok, so that was eleven.