The overtime issues of the Dallas Stars are well-documented. The team is 2-7 past sixty minutes this season. That lack of overtime panache extends to the AHL club as well, which is 2-9 in the extra period. Thanks to the modified overtime rules in the AHL this year, Texas has yet to find itself in a shootout so those are all OT losses.
Only a truly addled mind would believe that Texas could have pulled off an 11-0 record in those games. It would have been great for them, but let's be realistic. Many nights when you make it to overtime, you're salvaging a point you may not have earned with your play through the full sixty.
If you take a look at the Stars' playoff race right now, they sit in ninth place, and are on pace to finish there after playing the full 76 game slate. If everything played out at the current points percentage, Texas would miss the playoffs, missing on the final spot by two points.
The Stars are on pace for what would have to be an AHL record 19 overtime losses and a record of 32-25-19-0. If, by the end of the season, the Stars can win just a quarter of those overtime games instead of losing them, it's a record of 36-25-15. Still not a great overall number but it puts them on pace for 87 points. The current eighth place pace is 84.
There is probably some examination to be done about the organizations overall record in OT. The Stars have been pretty horrendously bad in Dallas and Cedar Park. Only Idaho is holding down a positive record at 5-3.
In fact, I did the math. Dallas's NHL and AHL clubs have the worst combined record in OT/SO among all 30 organizations. (Note: Data are accurate for all games played through January 12)
So that might be a point of improvement. A few points here and there can and will make the difference for both of these clubs.
Two Texas mistakes came back to bite them as the Stars lost to the visiting Iowa Wild by a 2-1 margin at home tonight. Both Wild goals came off miscues in the Texas zone that put the puck on the stick of a visiting skater.
"Iowa worked hard, but two turnovers cost us goals," said Coach Laxdal. "If you take those out, you'd probably like the result of the game. You can't make that critical mistake."
The Stars appeared to be rolling great guns in the first period, taking aim at Johan Gustafsson nine times before the Wild registered a single shot on Jack Campbell. The Stars scored an almost inevitable goal just five minutes into the game and looked like they were going to roll through the contest with the way they came out of the gate.
"We got some great looks but we're trying to look for the pretty play."
Despite a 15-8 shots advantage after twenty, Texas only led 1-0. It would be their only goal of the game.
Laxdal continued, "I want to see the trigger pulled quicker. We're waiting too much and when we do get a shot through, we hit the guy on the net-front screen."
The power play did not connect despite five chances and fell victim to looking for that pretty play at times.
"If you take that extra second, things close pretty quick," said Derek Hulak, who extended his point streak to five games with an assist. "There was evidence of that tonight, myself included, where we have to be a half second quicker and take that first option to get pucks through."
Iowa got the tying goal in the second period when Jack Campbell came out of his net to clear the puck and it was intercepted by a forechecking Iowa skater. Campbell got to his net and rebuffed the first bid, but Stu Bickel scored on the ensuing scrum for a 1-1 tie.
Gustafsson stood tall in the final frame for Iowa to hold the Stars at bay. The opportunistic Wild made it worth his while with a goal off missed Texas breakout pass. The pass up the middle was intercepted by Iowa and came back into their own net as Brett Bulmer got his second of the year.
Texas was unable to come up with the equalizer to force overtime and fell to last place Iowa.
After overcoming two one-goal deficits and charging ahead in the third, Texas fell to Toronto in overtime on Saturday night by a 4-3 final.
"It's a big point when it looked like we weren't going to get anything early," said Coach Laxdal.
The Stars had quite a few positive signs in the game: they scored twice on the power play after getting blanked last night; Brendan Ranford had two goals and an assist to pace the team; and the team weathered a first period storm to give themselves the chance to win.
However, it was overtime that once again bit Texas, which fell to 2-9 in the extra session this season. Their nine overtime losses lead the league in that regard. Laxdal continued, "We don't get a lot of bounces in overtime for some reason."
Jack Campbell got the start in back-to-back games after Jussi Rynnas took a shot in the hand earlier in the day and couldn't go. Laxdal called Campbell's effort 'solid' and pointed out that his goaltender kept the team in it as he saw a lot of rubber in the first.
The Stars' best opportunity of the overtime play came as Gemel Smith slipped a pass over to Julius Honka off the rush. Honka fanned on the pass and didn't get all of it. Laxdal said Smith is the type of player you want out on the ice in OT despite his rookie status. His offensive upside is big in that situation.
Stuart Percy was the OT hero for Toronto though. His first goal of the season was the game winner. A bad defensive change and a turnover by Texas created a 2-on-0 for Percy. He shot the puck and beat Campbell for the 4-3 final.
The Week Ahead
Justin Dowling and Curtis McKenzie both returned from injury. McKenzie played on Saturday, and Dowling was a full participant in practice on Monday. Branden Troock is still out with a lower body injury. Radek Faksa is out for a while after shoulder surgery last week.