Last night after the Stars lost a late third period two-goal lead and then lost in overtime, Trevor Daley talked to reporters about Saturday night in San Jose. "We have a chance to fix things and get right back out there. I'm ready to go right now. We know what's on the line, and we need to go out there and perform.''
We hope he meant it, because less than 24 hours after Adam Burish didn't win the faceoff and Kari Lehtonen didn't make the save, they do have to go back out there and do it all again, and this time it's against a good team. A really good team.
The San Jose Sharks are an astounding 17-2-1 in their last 20 games following a six game losing streak in January when the Stars were at their best. They just beat the Red Wings convincingly at home, they're rested, they're confident, and they can do no wrong right now.
Once upon a time Dallas had a double digit point lead on the Sharks. They can get to within a point of having a double digit lead on the Stars now with a win tonight... a 20 point swing. Call that what you will: Unfortunate? Disappointing? Disturbing? Embarrassing? After what happened last night I don't think we Stars fans are fit to describe these matters with any tact.
The Stars themselves were upbeat, on the whole, after the game. My experience this year has been that after the locker room opens the players that remain to talk to the media will deliver the message Marc Crawford gave them before the doors opened. The overall mood and tenor of the team on the bus, on the plane, on the other bus, as they went to sleep...Who knows?
They should be angry. Can they channel that properly? Does fatigue prevent it? Does it only serve to fuel the Sharks power play? These are questions that must wait until 9:37pm CST when the puck hits the ice.
Only one thing is certain: The Stars must collect 20 of the 36 points available to them, and it gets harder every day.
Will Brad Richards play....?
Probably not, but you knew that already. Mike Heika has gone as far as to say that Brad Richards is "day to day" for the rest of the season, and that's just the unfortunate thing about concussions. It's a cruel twist of fate because the week of the trade deadline Joe Nieuwendyk based his decision to keep Richards partly on his seemingly increasing health.
Everything was on track for yesterday. Fast forward a week and things are cloudy and the teams playoff hopes are fading. If the Stars miss the playoffs, people (not me) will lambaste GM Joe for keeping him but it's the unpredictability of the human brain in these matters that's threatening to, pardon the vernacular, "screw him over."
Meanwhile there's the issue of blowing late third period leads. That's a good news/bad news situation there.
That they've had two goal leads in third periods of games on the road in the Pacific Division is a really, really good thing. They've battled hard and they survived quite a storm (like they'll have to tonight) to get it in Anaheim. But they can't crawl into a shell like that when it's almost over.
The collective record of every team in the league that takes a lead into a third period is 629-37-61, or .907. 91% of the team teams win, proving that it really is a two period game most nights. In Craig Ludwigs days the Stars took a lead into the third and it was church. Turn the tv off because it's not a question what's going to happen. These days: not so much.
So while the lead is a great thing to get and they're doing really good work to get there, something has to change once they do. When Brad Richards first came here in 2008 it was reported that he sat on the bench, observed the way the Stars played late in games and in these situations yelled "safe is death".
If Richie gets back in the game any time soon it might be time to dust that one off.
Injury updates are impossible to come back on the road on the West Coast so let's guess that Richards will not play, Grossman might play, and Raycroft will start in net.
Dan Boyle is questionable for San Jose tonight. Antti Niemi in net.
Join us at 9:30pm for the GDT fun, the joy, and the despair.