In the final game before Monday's Trade Deadline, the Dallas Stars lost 3-1 to the Anaheim Ducks. Once again, the Stars lost the game in the third period after going into it tied 1-1. And once again, they lost a game in which the opposing goaltender was the best player on the ice for the other team.
In the first period, the Ducks controlled most of the play. The first half of the period was relatively uneventful, save for Ales Hemsky and Tim Jackman colliding with each other in the Ducks' zone. A few minutes later, the Ducks announced Jackman would not return to the game.
After a failed Stars power play, the Ducks caught the Stars in transition to take the lead. Newly-acquired Jiri Sekac skated down the rink with Corey Perry. Sekac delivered a really nice feed to Perry, who then put on a great display of skill and patience by waiting out Jhonas Enroth and burying the game's first goal above Enroth's right shoulder.
The Ducks entered the first intermission up 1-0.
In the second period, the Stars controlled the vast majority of play. They outshot the Ducks 17-3 in the second period, and generated numerous quality scoring chances.
Early in the second period, Curtis McKenzie finished his check on Clayton Stoner, which upset Stoner, so they fought. That really seemed to wake up the Stars, since they relentlessly swarmed the Ducks from that point on. Jason Spezza had a great point-blank chance on the doorstep, but John Gibson made a huge stop with his right arm to keep it 1-0 in favor of Anaheim.
Toward the end of the period, the Stars finally got on the board with a buzzer-beater power play goal by Patrick Eaves in his first game back from a concussion. Trevor Daley's initial shot was stopped by Gibson. Jamie Benn then found the loose puck to the right of the goal and fired a backhand pass to Eaves right in front of the goal, who roofed it past Gibson glove-side.
The Stars had a chance to take the lead at the end of the second period when Ales Hemsky went in all alone, but was stopped by Gibson. However, the Ducks took their third penalty of the game, and the Stars had 1:44 of power play time to begin the third period.
In the third period, the Stars had a great chance to take a 2-1 lead, but Gibson came up with a humongous big stop. A dump-in was not handled cleanly by Gibson, and McKenzie drove to the net to get another shot on net. After that, Vernon Fiddler found the loose puck and fired it toward a mostly-empty net, but Gibson sprawled out in desperation and made the save.
Not long after that, the Ducks took a 2-1 lead. A bad turnover in the defensive zone led to Clayton Stoner scoring his first goal of the season on a slap shot that squeaked through Enroth's pads.
That above sequence was the Stars' 2014-2015 season in a nutshell.
With just over 5 minutes left, the Ducks went up 3-1. The Stars let Ryan Getzlaf, of all people, go in on a breakaway against Enroth. The only skater back to try and defend Getzlaf was Ales Hemsky, as both Stars defensemen were trapped in the offensive zone. Getzlaf made it look easy, scoring on Enroth glove-side to give the Ducks a two-goal lead.
When all was said and done, the Stars lost by that final score. They outshot the Ducks 40-22, and yet again left empty-handed.
Before the game, the Stars dealt Erik Cole and a conditional 3rd round pick to the Detroit Red Wings in exchange for a 2nd round pick and prospects Mattias Jankman and Mattias Backman. The condition on the pick sent to the Wings is if Detroit makes it to the Eastern Conference Finals and Cole plays in 50% of their games, the Stars will retrieve the 3rd round pick they sent. After tonight's game, it'll be interesting to see whether or not Jim Nill makes any more moves before the 2:00 PM deadline.
The Stars have now lost six games in a row.