Remember those games last year where the Dallas Stars started a game well but a series of miscues led to what felt like really preventable losses?
Yeah, this was one of those.
The Stars did a lot right, at least in the first two periods, against the Colorado Avalanche in the team's first road game of the season, but some preventable second period penalties and a shaky penalty kill gave Avs all the momentum they would need for a 6-3 comeback victory that included five unanswered goals.
The key for Mattias Janmark is apparently just to play a first shift. Any first shift. For the second game in a row to start his NHL career, Janmark opened the scoring for the Stars by knocking home a centering feed, this time just 30 seconds into the game from Jason Demers. He got loose behind the Avalanche defense almost too easily and was able to slip it in.
The Stars were pretty solid with the puck for most of the first period except a bad interchange that started with a turnover off of Jamie Benn's stick and ended up with the speedy Nathan MacKinnon in by himself, who roofed a shot in all alone on Niemi. Benn made up for it quickly, though, finding Tyler Seguin for a shot in the slot which led to a rebound kicking out to Cody Eakin, who slipped it through Semyon Varlamov's five-hole.
It was Eakin again in the second period, this time on the power play as Ales Hemsky and Demers had another very pretty zone entry that left Eakin isolated on the left side for a wrist shot.
But Niemi shot the puck out of play soon after, and the Avs took advantage their power play with an Erik Johnson point shot that sailed by a Patrick Eaves screen and over Niemi's right shoulder. And they tied the game on a Jarome Iginla stuff play as he beat Demers to the front of the net. That power play came because the Stars were caught with too many men.
Instead of continuing to play their game, the Stars came out scrambly in the third period and were caught with three players covering two Avs behind the net about halfway through the period. John Mitchell was the open man and roofed a shot from close, handing the Stars their first deficit of the season.
The Avs extended the lead to 6-3 against the first line less than a minute later on a goal Niemi probably wants back from Gabriel Landeskog. Landeskog put the game away in the final three minutes with a stuff play as he took advantage of the Stars pressing forward trying to get some offense going.
It wasn't an impressive game from the Stars, particularly in the third and on the penalty kill, where they really (really) need some work. But it's still Game 2, and since we weren't declaring them Stanley Cup winners after beating Pittsburgh, it's not fair to call them chumps after losing to the Avs. That didn't make it any more fun to sit through, though.
Maybe there really is some sort of curse on the Pepsi Center...