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Dallas Stars' Execution Not There, Lose To Detroit 3-1

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The Detroit Red Wings weren't going to be stopped from making history tonight. They won their 21st straight home game by beating the Dallas Stars 3-1 tonight.

Dallas Stars started aggressive - a little bit too much, it seems. Jamie Benn got a little anxious to get in front of the net and ended up IN the net. He took out Red Wings' goaltender Joey MacDonald on his way and was called for goalie interference. The first powerplay of the game lead to the Wings' first goal, and that was how the night was going to go. They would allow Detroit to get 20 shots on Kari Lehtonen in the first period, leaving them chasing for the majority of the game.

After the first period, the Stars had dug themselves a two goal deficit that proved too difficult to overcome against a rolling Wings team. Powered by frustration, and possibly a little bit of reputation, Steve Ott would take two minor penalties almost literally back to back midway through the frame. First a slashing and then a hi-sticking, the Stars' penalty killers did a great job of keeping the Wings off the scoreboard with the man advantage. After both of those kills, the Stars seemed to get some momentum going and started to spend extended time in the offensive zone. Unfortunately, they didn't put much in the way of shots on goal as the Wings had enough of a lead to be content to sit back and play solid defense to the win.

The third period was much of the same - the Stars were sniffing the offensive zone, had the Wings playing more in their own zone than in the Stars' zone, but the execution just wasn't there tonight. They had several wide open net looks in the third, and had several opportunities by Loui Eriksson and Michael Ryder to pot one and make the narrative of this game different.

The ultimate takeaway for this game is not that the effort wasn't there for the majority of the game, it's that the execution wasn't. The two things are very different, and it's important to note. The Stars players were playing hard, almost trying to will the puck into the net. You can tell that the offensive struggles for several players are starting to lead to defensive miscues - missed passes, uncharacteristic turnovers due to trying to be too aggressive with the puck, and Lehtonen's apparent frustration at letting in goals all prove that the team is trying very hard to win games. They had scoring chances, they just couldn't put anything past the Wings' goaltender.

Had the Stars been able to execute on some of their chances, this could have been a different game tonight. But the better team won, and the Stars need to take that intensity and work ethic displayed through the second and third periods (minus the penalty troubles) and build on that for the next game.