Another home contest for the Dallas Stars yesterday. Another loss. Their sixth in a row at home and eighth overall in nine tries.
Lindy Ruff was contemplative after the game, and while the Stars lost yet another home game he thought the contest was "a different animal" than their other failings.
"It's part of what the League is. It's getting tighter. That's why we are all sitting in the middle, most of us. That's probably why Chicago has had their problems. Our biggest issue has here been at home, where we've beat ourselves. We didn't make the number of mistakes that we've made. The last two games have been a lot better when it comes to cleaning up the game."
So they try again today. On the road, where they've been better. Good news. Against the Chicago Blackhawks in a matchup nightmare where Toews and Kane get the last change. Bad news.
Those struggles Ruff mentioned for the Blackhawks have them sitting at 9-7-1. Had the Stars won yesterday they'd have had a chance at passing Chicago by today, but instead sit three points back trying to keep pace.
Chicago has been consistent, with no lengthy winning or losing streaks. They've not won three in a row, nor have they lost three in a row. They've lost four of seven. Or have three of their last five, as you like, including wins over good teams in Tampa Bay and San Jose.
The struggles have come offensively for them, as they've been held to two goals or fewer 12 times already on the year, including being shutout twice (Anaheim, Winnipeg).
They're quite good at home, though, as you'd expect. 6-3-1, and they've needed overtime to get three of the victories. They've allowed only two power play goals at home against all season, and for good reason- They've given the opposotion an average of just 2.4 man-advantages per game.
Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews summed up the team's season thus far in pretty spot-on fashion Friday: "We always seem to take a couple steps forward and then an extra step backwards."
That again was the case against the Detroit Red Wings.
Trying to string together their first three-game winning streak of the season, the Blackhawks fell 4-1 at Joe Louis Arena as two costly turnovers in their own zone led to a pair of Detroit goals.
"It's frustrating when you take a couple steps forward and then one step back," said Patrick Kane, whose miscue led to Detroit's second goal. "I think we all have to take ownership of it and accept it. Make sure we fix the problem. No one likes to be on the ice when the other team is scoring goals. It's not a good situation. Both of their [first two] goals we gave the puck away."
I think their coach said something to them about a couple of steps forward and an extra step back. Either way, the word "careless" was thrown around quite a bit after the loss, and they'll be a hungry bunch this evening, while the Stars are on that dreaded back-to-back.