You keep coming, Dallas Stars fans, to your credit. And you keep leaving disappointed as Lindy Ruff's bunch dropped their sixth game in a row- Their sixth in seven tries on home ice this season, to the Nashville Predators.
Pekka Rinne rolled into town and stole their lunch money in a 3-2 affair that was pretty evenly matched. The Stars showed more life and more battle this evening, finally pushing past the single goal they've been held to in their previous three contests, yet the finger has a cornucopia of things at which to point this evening...
Cornucopia. Because of, you know, Thanksgiving? See, I'm being festive.
For one, they lost the special teams battle again, allowing two power play goals to the league's 27th ranked power play after allowing two to the 30th ranked power play in Minnesota the other night. On the flip side of that they drew just one penalty and had only one crack at the power play themselves- That in the game's opening seconds.
They were out-goaltended, certainly. Pekka Rinne made some spectacular saves, and so did Lehtonen, especially in the first, but that third-period goal was a little painful, though perhaps he did not expect the shot. That's the way hockey goes, of course. Sometimes you get stopped by a hot goalie.
Does anyone want to hear that they ran into a hot goalie after their sixth loss in a row, ninth in their first 13 games this season? It's probably not a popular topic of conversation in the locker room.
No, this one is another failure of the offense to generate. The Stars, going back to the third period of the St. Louis game, have now scored 5 goals on their last 119 shots on goal. 4.2% shooting. Unlucky? Perhaps. It's on them to turn it around.
The scorers of those five goals? Roussel, Horcoff, Fiddler, Daley, Eaves.
The cast of characters you'd like to see, you need to see carrying them in these games, is not connecting right now, for whatever reason.
There was some shuffling of those names this evening. Eaves started out with Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin, while Nichushkin tried it with Jason Spezza and the still scoreless Ales Hemsky. When that didn't work Benn went with Spezza in the third and Roussel tried it with Seguin, but to little effect.
Still, the Stars out-shot them 35-33, though they were out-attempted. They looked dangerous at times. It was a better effort. It really was.
But it's still six games in a row. Nine losses and four wins on the year, while Nashville walks out of here with their eighth victory already.
It kind of feels like January all over again. And the solution came painfully slow then. The question is how big of a hole they'll dig before this obviously talented group of players starts to put it together a little bit. They will. But when?
San Jose is next on Saturday.