Ah, the three-in-three. She giveth, and she taketh away.
The Texas Stars played that AHL novelty, the three-in-three weekend, two weekends in a row. Their first venture was a fantastic showing. Five out of six points put them up to second in the division. Last week's effort was lacking: just one point, earned a shootout after spotting the Chicago Wolves (St. Louis Blues) a 3-0 lead in the first period.
Whether the trouble is the goaltending or the defense, the final result is the same: too many goals against. Coach Laxdal notes that too many players are doing their own thing and not buying into the defensive schemes they have set up. The goaltending is of course not showing up on the regular. Jack Campbell has a 4.27 GAA and a .868 SV%. In his five starts this month, he's allowed 27 goals.
At some point, we're just writing the same story every week. Texas' offense scores like crazy. So does the other team though...
After falling behind 3-0 in the first, Texas rallied in the third to salvage a point with a 4-3 shootout loss Thursday in Chicago. The Stars gave no help to their starting goalie, John Muse, as he was pierced for those three goals in quick succession in the opening frame.
Jack Campbell entered in relief and held down the fort through the rest of the game. He was a perfect 28 for 28 during regulation and overtime. Neither team scored in the second, but Texas found an opening in the third on the power play. Brett Ritchie potted his fifth in three games with the extra man, and the Stars had life. Two minutes later, Greg Rallo scored on another power play. Mattias Backman added his first as a Star late in the frame and it was a new game with just under three minutes left.
The Stars would go to overtime and later a shootout to determine the outcome. Texas was held scoreless but Chicago collected a goal off the stick of Jordan Schmaltz for the shootout victory.
When you're hot, you're hot. The Griffins (Detroit Red Wings) set their winning streak at thirteen despite trailing the Stars to open the third period. A quick goal less than a minute in and two in the last six minutes set the final at 5-4 Grand Rapids.
The Stars collected a power play goal in the game but allowed two as well, including the go-ahead goal at 14:26 of the third. There were plenty of opportunities for the Stars to tie the game late, but ultimately the Griffins got the bounces.
The Griffins got offensive Saturday night in Grand Rapids. Six goals sunk the Stars and ended their three-in-three weekend on a sour note with just one point. That is in stark contrast to last weekend's five in the same stretch. Grand Rapids pushed their winning streak to fourteen.
The game was a good study in how the Stars can be successful with their high-flying offense. The true measure of the game came down to the goaltender play of Jared Coreau in the first. Once the team had gotten through that stretch, they began to score and took off.
The Week Ahead
Three games are on the schedule this week, but Texas will get all of four days to play them. Each game will be against San Antonio (Colorado Avalanche). Saturday and Tuesday will be at home. Sunday will be in San Antonio.
Texas has a few injuries that have racked up this week. Branden Troock returned to health. Devin Shore is still out with his injury sustained two weeks ago. The team also suffered the loss of Jesse Blacker, and Radek Faksa missed two games with unspecified issues.