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Stargazing: The Thrill (At Home) is Gone: Stars Lose 4-2

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Story time: On November 17th, 2007, The Phoenix Coyotes claimed Ilya Bryzgalov off the waiver wire. Then he proceeded to screw the Stars over frustrate Dallas for the next 5-7 years. The end.

I didn't say it was a good story. The Stars have played the Coyotes 14 times since then and have compiled a record of 4-8-2, scoring 2.14 goals per game against Bryzgalov. Tellqvist may have been in goal a time or two in there, but you get the picture. Included in those 14 games were back to back shutouts of the Stars last season, and all three Phoenix wins this year. The Stars must play Phoenix each of the next two Saturday night's before the Olympic break. There are a great many reasons for the statistical unlikelihood that Dallas can make the playoffs, but should their record against this division rival drop to 0-5 before the break, I am bumping it up the list a few spots.

When Fabian Brunnstrom scored that goal last night in the third period (really, he really did) I thought the universe was engaging in some kind of massive course correction, and that the Stars were going to pull points out of that game after all. Why else would that have happened? Alas, the mistakes were too large and too numerous to overcome. Turnovers are a tricky stat to keep in the NHL. The Stars were credited with 9 giveaways, but how do you classify what Karlis Skrastins did? That was essentially, to put it in football terms, a pick-six, though he never had the puck.

Is the magic at home gone? They'll get Minnesota (on Versus) Tuesday night to prove otherwise. The Wild have only 1 point fewer than the Stars and both have played 55 games. Minnesota, St. Louis and Anaheim all sit within 2 points of overtaking Dallas, and the Red Wings managed a point on the road in Pittsburgh yesterday.

There's still time...?

Follow the jump to read what Marc Crawford and everyone else had to say about this one...


Mike Heika outlines exactly why the Stars game-plan plays right into Dave Tippett's hands:

Bottom line, Joe Nieuwendyk fired Dave Tippett and hired Marc Crawford because he believes that Crawford's aggressive system is the kind of hockey he would like to see in Dallas. It is the hockey that teams in Chicago, San Jose, Washington and Pittsburgh are winning with, and it could be the kind of hockey that more teams try to play in the new NHL.

But it's not an easy way to play hockey. In fact, it plays right into the hands of a team like Tippett's. The Stars want to move the puck quickly through the neutral zone and try to out-man the opposition defense. The Coyotes like to sit on those teams that want to move the puck quickly through the neutral zone, steal the puck and go in on the counter-attack.

We've seen this against other teams as well. (New Jersey comes to mind) The Stars run around trying to force their way through the D, and teams are content to sit and wait for their opportunity to counter-attack. The Vrbata goal was a perfect example of that, and Auld or Turco, Dallas doesn't have the presence in net to mop up those kinds of mistakes.


The Arizona Republic has some Coyote-Quotage:

"There are a lot of great friends that are on that team," Tippett said. "I had a great time here, seven years is a long time to be in one place, great memories. But I think they've moved on and I've moved on. Once the puck drops, the game's on, just like any other game."

Doan continues on a hot streak with five goals and 10 assists in his last seven games.

The Stars had won five straight at home and were 13-2-2 in their previous 17 in Texas, so Doan knew winning in Dallas would be a challenge, especially in Tippett's homecoming.

"I think that you're naive if you don't see (that the game was special for Tippett)," Doan said. "You hear about it and you read about it, and at the same time we know how good Dallas is and that they're trying to make a run and we want to make it as hard as we can on them."

Did you ever think there would come a day when the Coyotes would be looking down on us like that?


The Stars have recalled Warren Peters, presumably because of Brian Sutherby's upper body injury:

Frisco, Tex. -- The Dallas Stars announced today that the club has recalled center Warren Peters from the Texas Stars, Dallas’ primary affiliate in the American Hockey League (AHL).

Peters, 27, has skated in eight games for Dallas this season, recording one goal with a +2 rating. Peters has played 34 games for Texas in 2009-10, recording 19 points (13g, 6a) and 21 penalty minutes. The 6-0, 198-pound center signed with Dallas as a free agent on July 6, 2009.


Mark Stepneski gives his take:

The Stars were flat and the Coyotes were the team that started strong, got the early lead, extended it in the second and the Stars were forced to play catch up and that’s playing into the hands of a team coached by Dave Tippett. 

Mistakes were killers for the Stars because mistakes led to all four Phoenix goals. Poor coverage on one, a turnover on another, a bad decision at the Phoenix blue line on another and then Alex Auld giving up a goal just 11 seconds after the Stars had cut the lead to 3-2 with seven minutes to go.

The Stars were all over it in the third period, but Coyotes goalie Illya Bryzgalov was outstanding. He’s a big reason the Coyotes are where they are in the standings right now. His teammates were in full scramble mode in front of him at times and he was cleaning things up in goal. It was a solid performance.

That 4th one was a real killer. Auld definitely didn't look like "he who will save us all" on that one.


The Morning News had a note about the Stars physicality making them a better team:

"When you play a physical game, what it does is it makes you stay on the play," Stars coach Marc Crawford said. "If you hit people, you win the battle back into the play and that's how you win hockey games."

The Stars did that in a big win over Calgary. They did it against Colorado on Friday. They did it for parts of Sunday against Phoenix, earning a 39-18 edge in hits. And when they played physical hockey against the Coyotes, the Stars got the better of the scoring chances.

Sutherby hurt his shoulder Sunday and could be out for a while. Ribeiro is recovering from throat surgery and hopes to return soon. But no matter what changes the Stars make to the lineup, they need to keep the hitting in.

It changes the entire personality of the team.

They got the better of the scoring chances, all comes back to that one position, doesn't it?




"We gave away the pucks a little too easy a couple of times, and we turned it over in the neutral zone a couple of times," Grossman said. "In tight games like these, especially this time of year, that will cost you."

I think we battled back well in the second and third and I think we were the better team out there, but there were some big mistakes that cost us goals in the back," Grossman said. "They play well, so we’ve got to eliminate those mistakes and try to clean up a little bit."


"It was a tough one to take," center Brad Richards said of the loss. "We’ve been playing well at home, but we didn’t play a full 60 minutes tonight. It was a little too late to try to turn it on. Obviously, our goals against were pretty blatant mistakes by us. We’ve been better at that lately. Tonight, for some reason, they were pretty easy goals."

"He was really good in the third, obviously," Richards said of Bryzgalov. "With all of us banging the net, crashing the net, you’d think one of those would go in, but it didn’t."


"I turned the puck over in the second and it ended up in the back of our net, a bad play by me and they got the 2-0 lead with that and give them momentum and you’re kind of chasing the game," Robidas said.

Alex Auld:

"When they have the puck down low and off the rush, you’ve always got to be aware of their back side," Auld said. "You saw that on their first goal, Doan just waited and waited, and found the guy streaking down, backdoor. That’s a huge part of their game."

Marc Crawford:

"We made some big mistakes tonight that ended up in our net," Stars coach Marc Crawford said. "We didn’t make very many, probably the number of goals that we had against us tonight were just the big mistakes that we made. I thought we were the better team the last 40 minutes of the game. Our game was actually pretty solid tonight, both offensively and defensively. We did a lot of things that you need to do, we were great on the fore-check, we had great maintenance of the puck, but never could quite get it to a tie, we were always looking for a comeback goal and that’s a tough way to play."

It's easy to say that some of his comments this season have been of the "maddening" variety, but what else is he supposed to say?