I wouldn't get too worked up about it, though, Stars fans.
The Panthers dressed Ekblad, Kulikov, Booth, Huberdeau, Barkov, Jokinen, Mitchell, Gudbranson, Bolland, and some guy named Jagr - pretty much their NHL roster.
The Stars dressed Cody Eakin on the second night of a back-to-back, Valeri Nichushkin, and not much else you'd expect to see in an impact, top-nine forward or prominent offensive-defensive role with Dallas this season. The offensive chances were a little sparse.
See the two first-period shots for our heros for reference.
One of them was a goal, though, and there lay a bright spot for the lineup this evening in Mattias Janmark. You may remember him from such films as "What did the Stars get back for Erik Cole?", and
The 22 year-old lefty was noticeable from the opening faceoff and had the lion's share of the Stars' offensive chances in the first two periods, capitalizing on a long one-timer from Jokipakka that Roberto Luongo would surely like back.
Other standouts tonight were hard to find. Devin Shore continues to impress. Remi Ellie's goal in the 3-on-3 exhibition was pretty, as most of those 3-on-3 goals will be, by the way.
Beyond that there was a lot of grit out there and it showed up in the form of an unusually feisty pre-season contest against an Eastern Conference team. Vern Fiddler, Curtis McKenzie and Travis Moen were mixing it up out there - the latter two receiving fighting majors.
Few substantive takeaways exist to tell. The Stars will dress a lineup like the Panthers did soon (hopefully Tuesday where we can observe it and report?) and we'll know more then, but without Jamie Benn and Ales Hemsky it is hard to say how this is going to pan out. This game lacked Seguin, Sharp, Benn, Spezza, Hemsky, Klingberg and Goligoski.
The Faksa/Eller/Moen line was under siege for much of the night, recording a combined -26 Corsi sum. Still, Faksa looks the part in a defensive role, and he had some tough customers to handle this evening.
Any meat to be found on this metaphorical bone tonight has to be in the form of one Mr. Kari Lehtonen, who did not do enough to silence his critics - but one wonders what that effort really entails at this point, and if it's realistic.
The first goal against scored by Jussi Jokinen looked stoppable, but he may have been screened. Limited replay in the building due to lack of a television broadcast makes this difficult to say. He may not have seen it. Reilly Smith made a nice shot on the second.
The third was a puck-handling gaffe behind the net that was not altogether encouraging. He was, however, stellar in the 3-on-3 session, making two or three huge saves, as they all necessarily must be with so much open ice and chaos out there.
That's all that need be said. They march on with relative health and decisions to make in the next week or so. One spot that might not be working out according to plan? Patrik Nemeth, who had a bit of a rough one tonight early on, though his possession numbers landed in the green thanks to the Stars' strong third period.
The Stars were +21 in Corsi events (shot attempts) when Cody Eakin was on the ice tonight.
They'll take on the Blues here at the AAC again before finishing with two on the road.
11 more sleeps until Pittsburgh.