There was a lot of good in the Dallas Stars 4-3 shootout loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Black Friday.
In general, the Stars work-rate was good, and they were able to generate several Grade A chances around the net of Jonas Gustavsson. They answered one-goal deficits twice with goals from the third line, where Eric Nystrom continues to be a revelation. And even the shootout misses were quality, with Jamie Benn hitting the post and Mike Ribeiro barely getting stuffed at the goal line.
But there were a few defensive breakdowns that led directly to Maple Leafs goals, one of which is highlighted beautifully in the picture accompanying this article.
And naturally, those breakdowns got a lot of focus in coach Glen Gulutzan's post-game comments.
"I thought we played real hard. I don’t think we started as good as we have in the past. We put some shots on net, but they had a good transition game and few too many odd-man rushes. But as we settled in and got into our rhythm, I thought the second was a very good period for us and the back half of that third we were good too. We made a couple of errors in our system, in our structure and it cost us two goals. We’ve to got reinforce that, clean it up and hopefully it doesn’t happen for another ten games."
After the jump, more on the Stars loss to the Leafs, some clarification about the Brenden Morrow injuries and a nice article about new owner Tom Gaglardi.
- Mike Heika takes us through the decision to put Philip Larsen at the point on the power play as well as the laundry list of injuries Brenden Morrow has been dealing with, which include an infected elbow, tweaked knee and chronically-achy back. That explains a lot. [DallasNews.com]
- Mark Stepneski brings you the gamer about how the Stars were ale to stretch their points streak to three games but couldn't pick up the second one in the shootout. [ESPN Dallas]
- The Toronto media gives the Stars a pretty favorable write up in this gamer, which says they were probably the better team for most of the game. [The Globe and Mail]
- The rare visiting media compliment to Steve Ott, who is hailed as one of the best and most effective agitators in the league in this notes package. [Toronto Sun]
- Since the staff took some time off to spend with our families, eat ourselves into comas and see The Muppets this Thanksgiving, we neglected to update you that Brenden Morrow will be out at least two more games (three when it was announced before they played the Leafs) with a variety of upper body injuries. This has a little bit of the same quote as the above notes package, but like I said, it explains a lot about why he hasn't looked like himself. [DallasNews.com]
- Super annoying headline but very good quasi-profile of new owner Tom Gaglardi. [The Globe and Mail]
- Meet the enemy, part the first: The Phoenix Coyotes get to stay at home for their half of a back-to-back with Dallas, but they are coming off a 5-0 drubbing of a loss at the hands of the Vancouver Canucks. [Vancouver Sun]
- Meet the enemy, part the second: Dave Tippett, as one might imagine, was not a very happy man after that one. [Arizona Republic]
- Around the Pacific Division: The Stars might have only gotten one point out of Friday night, but that's more than the other Pacific Division teams could say. As stated, Phoenix lost to the Canucks and the Anaheim Ducks lost their sixth consecutive game in a 6-5 decision to the Chicago Blackhawks behind a Patrick Sharp hat trick. [AP]
- This is from Thanksgiving (or Thursday, to you non-Americans), but it's still a nice story nonetheless. Lacking an immediately available backup goalie with the call-up facing some travel, the Minnesota Wild signed a 51-year-old to an emergency contract for Wednesday's game. [Puck Daddy]
- If you check your news here first, and we hope you do, here's something in the wide world of sports you should be aware of. Breaking at 2:37 a.m. central time (or when I should be asleep) was the news that the NBA players and owners had reached a tentative deal to end the lockout. [USA Today]
- The Stars were on their way to Phoenix, so they didn't put up their post-game videos promptly enough for me to get them on the links post. So in an effort to show you it could always be worse, I bring you a red-line goal from the KHL.