I know the old saying goes "you can't win them all" but no where does it say anything about the ones you can't win being as ugly a loss as possible. Still, that was exactly the case for the Dallas Stars tonight who were out-pretty much everything'ed tonight on the way to being shutout by Peter Budaj and the Colorado Avalanche, 5-0.
Where do we start with this one? It was like one big long line of sucktitude tonight. To begin with, the Stars overall looked tired and worn out - and for good reason being that it was the third game in four nights. Not to mention the late arrival time into Denver earlier in the morning (about 2am CST to be exact) and of course the thin Colorado air that always grinds down on teams not used to playing at that elevation level.
Not that we're about to make a ton of excuses for the Stars, but it was pretty apparent that a more rested and harder skating Avalanche team made it their goal to play the body as often as possible, get pucks on net and send two if not all three forwards crashing in following, and pressure the Stars hard enough to force turnovers and missed passes.
Even worse yet, it wasn't the Avs top players that did in the Stars, but rather their role players and fourth liners. Kevin Porter, Philippe Dupuis and David Van Der Gulik accounted for three of the five Avalanche goals on the night. Milan Hejduk and Brandon Yip had the other two goals for the Avs.
(After the jump, I look over some of the gory details of the game..)
- Andrew Raycroft got the start in goal for Dallas tonight and I thought all things considered he was ok. I don't know how much difference Kari Lehtonen would have made considering how soft the Stars were playing around their own net. He did look like he was fighting the puck most times and he was playing a very scrambling game all night which was partly his own doing for giving up poor rebounds in some cases and at other times over committing to an angle.
- The Stars work in the faceoff dot was BRUTAL! 38% on the night and you can chalk most of that up to Mike Ribeiro who was a horrible 1 and 13 in faceoffs and should have been told to stop taking them halfway through the game. Also bad was the fact that again an opposing team for the third game in a row was able to get a goal directly off a face off win in the Stars zone when the Avalanche did it tonight to open up the scoring in the first period. I think we can all agree the Stars defensive unit has made some strides the last two weeks to get better, but one area that remains a sore spot is their positioning and play on faceoffs.
- The Stars penalty kill didn't have to work often tonight and at the very least did a respectable job killing off both times the Avs were a man up. The powerplay on the other hand was just as quiet as the overall 5 on 5 offense was if not a little worse as they game up a shorthanded goal in the second period.
- Only one Stars player wasn't a minus on the game and that would be Tom Wandell who ended up even. Everyone else was a -1 or -2 which kinda demonstrates just how poorly all four Dallas lines played.
Bottom line, it's a bad and very frustrating loss... But it's also to be expected at times. There is no reason to start worrying that the scoring has dried up or hoping you'll never see Raycroft in goal ever again or assuming that the defense is back to it's porous ways because this loss was a total team effort (or lack thereof) and you should expect that once the Stars get a few days rest in them, they'll play more to the form of how they had the previous three games rather than play like they did tonight.
Defending Big D Three Stars:
1 - Kevin Porter (COL)
2 - Phillippe Dupuis (COL)
3 - Peter Budaj (COL)