Beat the St. Louis Blues, in St. Louis. Lose to the dreadfully bad Calgary Flames. At home. There goes a point the Dallas Stars may come to sorely, sorely miss.
Up 3-1 in the third period the Stars had every statistical likelihood on their side and could not contain a roster bereft of NHL talent and a backup goaltender that had not started a game since November in the league, dropping a 4-3 decision in a game that never, ever should have gotten as far as a shootout.
Dallas had multiple breakaway and cycled opportunities to put the game out of reach in the third but could not beat Joey MacDonald a fourth time and paid dearly for it at the end of the night.
In one game-in-hand over the Phoenix Coyotes the Stars have now lost to a lottery team. In the other they are in a perpetual state of losing 1-0 to the Columbus Blue Jackets, until it can be rescheduled.
They are going to have to make some serious hay in the mean time against quality, quality competition with the Penguins, Flyers, Blackhawks, Blues and more in a very road-heavy schedule coming up.
Dallas raced out of the gate this evening with a volley of shots fired MacDonald's way that proved fruitless, then watched a Calgary team with nothing to gain and even less to lose nearly skate them out of their own rink, closing the first period on an 8-2 shot run while Tim Thomas kept the sheet clean.
An Antoine Roussel goal in the opening seconds of the middle-frame strengthened the Flames' resolve even more, and they dictated play at will until the latter stages. Erik Cole and Jamie Benn goals would see the Stars push back in the only place that mattered- the scoreboard- But Calgary was undeterred.
The Stars dominated play in the third period, and like the opening stages of the first, somehow were rewarded with not a single power play, and it was special team that would swing this one. A delay of game call on Kevin Connauton, of all things, gave the Flames their spark as the Stars could not kill the only penalty they took.
Alex Goligoski was caught turning the wrong way on the second Calgary goal, then lost a puck battle in front on the third. For all the good he's done lately, and there has been quite a bit of it, tonight's performance was a costly one against inferior competition.
Jordie Benn appeared to be set as the hero after scoring on the Stars' third shootout attempt, but Tim Thomas was bested twice in a row to cement the loss while Seguin, Benn and Colton Sceviour were denied by the Calgary backup.
The Stars were not sharp throughout, taking chances on defense that needn't have been taken and losing puck battles in the neutral zone from the word go.
Congratulations are due to Travis Morin for collecting his first NHL point on Erik Cole's goal that should have at least been the game-winner. He and Sceviour looked the part while Chris Muller won seven of his nine faceoffs in just under 11 minutes of duty with Ray Whitney on the fourth line.
Dallas was an AHL heavy team this evening without Cody Eakin, Rich Peverley and Shawn Horcoff, it's true, but those parts performed well enough to win, and Sceviour and Morin were both +1 on the night. The Fiddler line with Garbutt and Roussel was incredible all night long, providing a spark the team badly needed, but were on the ice for the tying goal in the third.
In the end they got out-goaltended by yet another backup, and now the Coyotes are one win from catching them. No more cushion. It's a dangerous game, and if they're lucky, it will remain so until the end.
It's on to a hostile road trip now as they visit the Pittsburgh Penguins, Winnipeg Jets and Philadelphia Flyers.
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