They don't ask how, right? Maybe they should.
The goal horn blew six time tonight at the American Airlines Center Tuesday night and the masses left with smiles on their faces but by and large the Dallas Stars were run out of their own metaphorical gym tonight by the Carolina Hurricanes in a 6-5 win.
This was the Hurricanes as we previewed them this morning: A team that wins more faceoffs than anyone, has great possession numbers, and gets let down by bad goaltending. This was the epitome of their season so far, including the part where they just came up short.
Lucky for the capitulating Stars. Tonight.
Dallas was out attempted by 12 in the first period but built a 4-0 lead thanks to execution from Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin and Val Nichushkin, and that seemed like it would be enough. Uneven play continued in the second period and the Hurricanes cashed in for one that seemed as though it wouldn't matter.
Val Nichushkin's hard charging goal (that was inexplicably, though briefly, waved off) seemed to be enough insurance at 5-1 no matter how poorly Dallas played.
Then, as they so often have this year for both sides, things changed in the third period- Rather, tonight, the results finally started matching the play.
Carolina rattled off two even-strength and two-power play goals to tie the game at five-five with an eternity of 13 minutes remaining and the inevitable seemed at hand when once again the Stars' considerable talent covered up for their overall play.
Patrick Sharp's slap-shot on a late power play send the building into a mild tizzy bordering more on the side of relief with just 18 seconds remaining to steal two points from a deserving Hurricane squad.
The Seguin line was magic when the touched the puck, which wasn't much. Jordie Benn was on the ice for three of the four third-period Carolina goals. Johhny Oduya was on the ice for all four of them.
Kari Lehtonen was screened, interfered with and otherwise attacked in the shooting gallery tonight after being absolutely brilliant through two periods, but was sacrificed for a grab at changing momentum in the third. Antti Niemi winds up with the win, improbably.
It's a bad game. A "burn the tape" game. Two points, yes, but does it portend anything unpleasant? There have been too many "burn the tape" moments recently for Dallas, and the cracks in the foundation are really starting to show.
In the last few weeks the Stars have been blasted by the Ottawa Senators, barely survived the Canucks at home after a 36-25 shot disadvantage, saw the Wild jump all over them with a 3-0 start, blew a 3-0 lead in Calgary, and scored just once in Edmonton.
Then there was this performance tonight, which outside of poor goaltending from Carolina was a complete drubbing authored by the visitors to the tune of 68-40 in Corsi events. The Stars never once in this game had a lead in shots attempted.
They seemingly never had the puck. They need the puck.
Another two off-days to think about this one before the Flyers come to warm up the Stars for the first of many little Super Bowls this year with their biggest competition back-to-back on Saturday- The St. Louis Blues, winners tonight against Arizona.
At least the Stars in-game entertainment crew never lost the lead they built with this one...