On Saturday night in Denver, the Dallas Stars looked just like a team that was trying to replace half of its top six while playing on the second night of a back-to-back against the Avalanche. It was a rough night all around for the Stars until about midway through the third period, but that final push just wasn't enough in a frustrating 4-1 loss to Colorado.
The Avs scored once in each period while the Stars offense struggled to find a rhythm with all of the changes that were made in less than 24 hours, taking a 3-0 lead off two deflected pucks while Jhonas Enroth worked hard to keep his team in the game.
Dallas worked hard to get back in the game after a crazy scrum midway through the third period, when Jason Demers kicked off a heck of a scrum when his stitches were opened up after a play. The Stars would get some lengthy power play time and then nullify it with a too-many-men penalty, prompting Lindy Ruff to pull his goalie with just over 10 minutes remaining in the game.
Turns out, it worked -- Jason Spezza launched a laser over Semyon Varlamov to give the Stars life and get a tired team back into the game. Dallas would build momentum after that goal but never could get another puck past the Avs goaltender, and the game was eventually put away with a late goal by the Avalanche in the final minute.
Enroth was good, but his defense really didn't do him any favors. The Stars defense, aside from perhaps John Klingberg, struggled mightily in this game and once again reverted to committing turnover after turnover when pressured in their zone.
Tough to tell whether this is how anemic the offense will be without Hemsky and Seguin, or whether this is just an example of the circumstances coming back to haunt them -- tough travel, lots of change on the roster, and an obviously-tired team taking on a rested Avalanche in the Mile High air.
Not much else to say about this one, although this might be the first time in six weeks where the Stars actually lost a game in which they struggled as much as they did tonight as a team. It was an odd game, the Avs got some breaks while the Stars did not -- but this was just not a good game by hardly anyone not named John Klingberg.