So many of us have so much to be thankful for in North Texas heading into the holiday weekend, both Stars related, and personally.
That Dallas Stars game will not be remembered as such, however.
The Western Conference's hottest team heading into tonight again did what it has done for 25% of the NHL's season- Dictate play. This time, however, they dictated it emphatically in favor of the visiting Ottawa Senators.
The Sens had no fore-check, no transition game, and no real puck possession to speak of as their poor Corsi numbers continued true to their form so far this season, but the Stars made unforced error after unforced error that ended up in the back of the net behind multiple Dallas netminders en-route to an ugly loss to send them to Thanksgiving.
Dallas was out-shooting the Senators 23-9 (!!) by the time the fourth Ottawa goal was being released off the stick of Mike Hoffman to really put this one out of reach.
It's hard to fault the Stars defense as a team when they allow just 12 shots on goal through two periods, or the Stars' netmidners after such egregious mental errors in front of them hand the opposition grade-A chances on silver platters.
John Klingberg has been brilliant this season but he helped set the wrong tone tonight with a turnover to Bobby Ryan who was afforded exclusive access to Antti Niemi afterward- One of three unassisted goals for the Sens tonight thanks to the giveaways.
Patrick Sharp seemed to have the Stars headed in the right direction in the second period when his slapper beat Chad Anderson to cut things to one. Jamie Benn and Val Nichushkin nearly combined shortly after in an attempt to tie things at two and settle the game down but Anderson escaped with a fortunate bounce.
Five minutes later another ill-advised wayward puck up the middle of the ice found Stone and the resulting tally would chase Antti Niemi from the net- Presumably a move aimed more at rallying the troops than making commentary on Niemi's play after seeing so few shots.
Ottawa added the power play goal from Hoffman on Kari Lehtonen and took a 4-1 lead into the second intermission.
Dallas continued to find new and interesting ways to turn pucks over in the third when an errant pass sent Pageau on a shorthanded breakaway to pot a fifth for Ottawa, and again John Klingberg was chasing from behind.
Jamie Benn would add a shorty of his own and Tyler Seguin would help continue debunking the myth of Chad Johnson a few minutes later with a goal that cut the score to 5-3, but Pageau got loose on a second breakaway and scored again to bury the Stars' attempt at a rally.
Lindy Ruff's comments after this one should be interesting after this one, so stay tuned- Or they'll just burn the tape and get back to practice.
They may do so without Kari Lehtonen, however. On a night when the two-headed goalie monster experiment failed no matter who was in net, John Klingberg's horrible no-good very bad night got even worse when he crashed into #32, sending him into the quiet room for an apparent concussion protocol check.
The plot thickens, and they'll have to prove Friday tonight was a little bump and not a catastrophic moment.
You have to hope they're just getting that out of their system- The Western Conference looms. Vancouver, Minnesota, Calgary, Vancouver and Edmonton make up their next five in a critical stretch as the calendar turns to December.
Mistakes against the Eastern Conference they can live with- Even a statistically bad Eastern Conference team like the Sens that has been out-shot by an average of over ten shots per game over their last ten outings.
Mistakes against the West- Less so. See you Friday night back at the American Airlines Center where Willie Desjardins' bunch tried to avenge the Dallas' 4-3 OT win of a month ago.