For the fifth time in a row the Dallas Stars suffer a loss - this time by a 4-1 score to the San Jose Sharks - but your eyes do not deceive you for there is actually a crooked number where there had been a zero for the Stars over the last couple of games. Mike Ribeiro with the honors as he scored to make sure the Stars didn't go a whole ten periods without scoring a goal.
Happy days are here again?
As an added bonus, when the Stars played even strength tonight they were actually playing fairly well. Grated they were still out shot and gave up one more goal than they scored while playing 5 on 5 (or 4 on 4), but compared to the previous four games it was a much better effort overall.
But two things were the Stars undoing tonight. The Sharks power play which victimized the Stars two of four times was the biggest culprit but the Stars frustration that started to boil over midway through the second period was not much of a help to the cause either.
The last five minutes of the third were a clear demonstration that the Stars have had enough and aren't going to take it any more.
But for all the frustration on the ice, the Stars at least have to be a little happier with tonight's game right? Shots were a little more even, the emotion and energy was at a much better level. These are positives worth building on and a sign that the Stars may be close to snapping out of this funk sooner rather than later.
Aren't they supposed to kill penalties? - The Stars PK was the worst part of the game tonight by far and it was mostly because Dallas has become way to passive and have stopped boxing out opposing players from crashing the net or making cross ice passes in front of the crease. It almost feels like we've take a trip to last season when it was routine to see defensemen way out of position and not doing their primary job of protecting the front of the net. Bottom line, the defense needs to get tougher in a hurry.
So Raycroft lost another game huh? - Look, Raycroft wasn't sharp in net and I'm sure he would like another chance at stopping the goals from Brad Winchester and Jamie McGinn. That Winchester goal was especially smelly considering Kris Barch and Eric Nystrom had fired their team (and the crowd) back up and for a moment got the momentum pendulum swinging their way with two big fights only to have the air leave the building seconds later.
But with all that said, Andrew can't exactly score goals for this club and right now that's the biggest concern this team has. Lets see the Stars score more than once in a game, then we can worry about the state of backup goaltending.
But at least they did score - Hopefully that means the gripping of sticks will lessen which can lead to more accurate shots on goal. The Stars were credited with 22 missed shots which of course means if they had even gotten half of those on net they would have out shot the Sharks and given themselves a better chance considering that Antti Niemi was good for San Jose, but not overly great..
But yes they scored. Hopefully Razor's 'ketchup' analogy on the broadcast tonight (you know how ketchup stubbornly stays in a bottle until it starts coming out) proves to be true.
And they were really physical - 53 hits in a game? That seems a little ridiculous but the Stars were hitting anything that moved tonight as is seems to be the case when the Stars and Sharks meet. Mark Fistric had 11 hits, Stephane Robidas with 9, Steve Ott in 7 and Brenden Morrow with 6 were your team leaders tonight.
So what moves do the Stars make now? - Well outside of maybe getting Philip Larsen into a game (please Coach Glen?) there isn't much that can be - or needs to be - done. The forwards played better tonight and the defense needs to get tougher in front of their net (and part of that is the responsibility of the forwards as well) but it's silly to think the Stars will make any kind of roster moves yet.
Just know that tonight was a much better night for the Stars.
4:58 - SJ PP - B. Burns (4) Assists: J. Thornton (11), P. Marleau (9)
1:23 - SJ PP - L. Couture (7) Assists: J. Thornton (12), P. Marleau (10)
4:52 - SJ EV - B. Winchester (2) Assists: A. Desjardins (2)
4:34 - SJ EV - J. McGinn (2) Assists: M. Handzus (3), M. Havlat (8)
6:22 - DAL EV - M. Ribeiro (2) Assists: L. Eriksson (9)
Defending Big D Three Stars (aka: Who am I to argue with the picks of John Tranchina of DallasStars.com)
1 - Logan Couture (SJ)
2 - Joe Thornton (SJ)
3 - Patrick Marleau (SJ)