The Dallas Stars' nightmares recur this 2014-2015 season with disturbing uniformity and specificity.
The third period leads squandered. The growing pile of home losses- Among the league's worst. The goaltending situation.
The goaltending situation...
"We need him to be better. There is no masquerading that point," Ruff said as February began after a meeting with Tampa Bay. "Met with him again this morning. We'll just take it one game at a time here. It seems like every night the other goalie is out-dueling us."
"My opinion of the game hasn't changed," Ruff said again yesterday as February ended. "We'll put it behind us and move on. We've got to have better goaltending. It's that simple for me."
"It's like déjà vu all over again," to reference a quote attributed to Yogi Berra. And so the Dallas Stars continue- A league worst 0-8 in overtimes and shootouts when extending the game beyond regulation at home. Dallas has 20 losses in front of their season ticket holders- Only Buffalo and Edmonton (21 a piece) have more.
Tyler Seguin and Val Nichushkin have been taking very light skates in Frisco after practice in a ramp-up to possible returns in March and April- Neither is close. Travis Moen has been out for a couple of weeks, and could be another few according to Ruff.
"He's still struggling," Ruff told media. "He's got the type of injury that could be three, four days or it could be six weeks."
Meanwhile, Patrick Eaves went through a whole practice on Saturday and could be ready to get back in the lineup after being sidelined with a concussion-like injury the same awful night Seguin was torpedoed by Kulikov.
After all the talk about Kari Lehtonen- Knowing what Enroth did in his last outing- It's unclear what could happen in the Dallas net Sunday evening. The guess is that Lehtonen will get the chance to either sink or swim with the team's desperately fading playoff hopes and mathematical situation.
The Ducks are in pursuit of the first-seed in the league's much better conference- A place they held at the end of the season last year, if you'll recall. They'll at least have home-ice advantage in the first round, and are sitting relatively pretty.
So I won't bore you with the details.
Except this one, owing to its relevancy and foreboding: The Ducks, like so many of Dallas' opponents of late, found themselves down by two heading into the final period against those rival Los Angeles Kings- What happened next? They scored four in the third. A familiar story.
Anaheim made a spot of news Saturday when they acquired Tomas Fleischmann from the Panthers on Saturday. Fleischmann, 30 years old, has seven goals and 14 assists in 52 games this season. He was expected to join the team in Dallas (weather permitting) and could even be in the lineup tonight. Check back here later, for the latest. As it were.
"You've got to have that payback attitude where obviously they beat us last year in the playoffs, and we want to get the payback," Jamie Benn told dallasstars.com. "The points are on the line, and we need them more than they do. We're just going to have to play desperate hockey."
From Stars PR:
"YOU MIGHT SOLVE A MYSTERY, OR REWRITE HISTORY"
The Stars play host to the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday night in the second of three contests between the two teams, and the first since Oct. 31. Dallas fell in overtime in the last meeting with Anaheim, 2-1, as Stars forward Antoine Roussel scored the lone goal for the home team with assists from Trevor Daley and Ryan Garbutt. Roussel comes into Sunday's contest with four career points (3-1=4) in nine regular-season games against the Ducks, including scoring all three of his goals against them in the last three games.