If you just saw the score, just the score of this game and not the expanded boxscore or the game itself, you'd see a 5-4 Dallas Stars loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning tonight and think to yourself: "Huh, that's not so bad..."
If that is all you saw then I am here to tell you it was worse than that, much, much worse. Remember the Islanders game where the Stars gave up a lead and then gave up three power play goals? It was like that, only worse.
That's three usages of the word "worse" in the span of three sentences. That somehow doesn't convey how bad this game really felt. I just looked in a thesaurus to find words like "worse" and found the word "slipshod" ... yeah, that about sums it up nicely.
Four power play goals against out of five times shorthanded. Outshot 44-19 which included a 20-3 difference in the second period. This game wasn't as close as the final score would indicate. The Stars were pretty much outplayed in every aspect of this game, and yet managed to keep it close by virtue of a still present decent work ethic, so they have that going for them. They also had the shaky resolve of Mike Smith in the net whom every time I see him work in goal makes me think the Stars completely got the better end of the Brad Richards trade even if some of us still miss Jussi Jokinen.
Toby Petersen, Adam Burish, Brenden Morrow and James Neal had your four Dallas Stars goals.
Look, we knew that the Stars wern't going to go 82-0 this season. We also knew that the odd bad game would rear it's ugly head with this team as it does all NHL teams. But this penalty kill issue that the Stars have is really starting to become a huge... uhh...
*Looks in thesaurus for another snazzy synonym for the word: predicament*
It's starting to become a huge mess!
A few more thoughts on the game after the jump..
- Amazingly - and I really don't ever recall seeing this before in a game - a lot of Stars were in the plus category of plus minus while a lot of Lightning players were in the minus side including Dominic Moore who had two goals and yet was a -1! Crazy...
- Mike Ribeiro added two assists in the game, Brad Richards also had a helper.
- The Stars did take care of the puck a little better in this game than they had in previous efforts, though I do feel the scorekeeper in Tampa must have been feeling generous because the Stars were only charged with five takeaways while the Lightning were credited with 9 takeaways. Not sure how one comes at such odd numbers...
- Ugly, lazy defense is starting to creep back into the Stars play. The Lightning had multiple second chance opportunities and in the second period, the score could have been much larger than the 4-2 tally it ended up as.
- How bad was the penalty kill tonight? Lets put it this way, we're going to be spending a lot of time over the next couple of days analyzing how bad it was tonight. We can only hope Marc Crawford and the coaching staff do the same. They were constantly chasing the puck, allowed more than a few multiple chances on goal, allowed Lightning players to crash the net constantly. Never was the Stars lack of a shut-down defenseman more apparent than on the penalty kill tonight.
- The power play wasn't much better for the Stars going 0 for 5 and only generated four shots in total.
- Kari Lehtonen wasn't great, but then it's hard to look great when you're allowing five goals in a game and it's hard not to give up that many goals when you face 40+ shots for the third time in five games and your team plays as soft as they did in front of him when down a man. I'm not suggesting that he in any way was the reason the Stars lost tonight although in some cases it would be nice to see him stay upright a little more on some of those Lightning scoring chances...