The Dallas Stars have not found much success in Mile High City in recent memory, with just one win in about the last nine trips up to Denver. Needless to say, the Colorado Avalanche have banked many a point against their now-division mates on their home ice.
One thing that Stars/Avalanche match-ups do provide, even if the outcome is not generally in the Stars’ favor, is entertaining hockey. Tonight was no exception, as the Stars had a typical Stars game in a 6-5 loss.
The Stars got off to a strong start, with Adam Cracknell drawing a holding penalty in the first 30 seconds of the game. Tyler Seguin, who many felt was quite rusty in the season opener, wasted no time taking a puck thrown towards the net by Jamie Benn to score a power play goal and put the Stars up 1-0.
Devin Shore, after being hampered by injury in training camp, scored his first NHL goal on a clear shot towards Avalanche goaltender Semyon Varlamov. He buried the shot fivehole after a slick, subtle change in direction of the shot. Otherwise, Varlamov probably would have had a very good chance at saving it as he was squared up and his view was unobstructed.
Then, the Stars decided to play typical Stars hockey.
Colorado started to press the attack, and managed to get on the board with their first power play goal of the night coming off of a scramble in the net mouth, with defenseman Stephen Johns in the box for a hooking penalty. There was a non-call on the ice on the play, and the review showed that the puck bounced off of a very unfortunate part of Nemeth’s body as he was in the net and clearly crossed over the goal line.
The Stars would allow a second power play goal, to the same culprit (Joe Colbourne), late in the period with Patrick Sharp sititng in the box for committing a tripping penalty.
Before I describe what happened in the second period, here’s a graphic representation of the period:
There were five (FIVE) goals scored between the Stars and Avalanche in the second period. After taking a 2-0 lead, the Avalanche would score five straight goals (and, subsequently, end Antti Niemi’s night). Since the Stars were #Starsing tonight, they of course fought back and managed to end the second period down only one goal, for a score of 5-4.
The Benn and Seguin dynamic duo were the key of the offense for the Stars in the second period, scoring both goals for the Stars. Benn tipped in a Seguin shot on the power play and then Seguin scored his own goal late in the period to bring them within one and make the feel of this game quite different from when the score had been 5-2 earlier in the second.
The Avalanche would come close on several bids early in the third period, with pucks gliding right along the goal line but not going in. It almost seemed as though the Stars were fated to then score a tying goal after dodging bullets like those plays.
Unfortunately, that was not meant to be thanks to one poorly-timed decision by Kari Lehtonen, in net on clean-up duty, to play the puck behind his net and then find himself not quite settled for a fluttering, on-edge puck that worked its way into the net.
The Stars would do their best to get it back to even, with Shore making a cross-crease pass to a streaking Brett Ritchie to bring the score to 6-5. Even with a late power play in the period and an extra attacker with the goaltender pulled, Dallas fell just shore of making the comeback and getting a point out of the contest. One they definitely would have worked to earn.
But they leave Mile High City empty handed.
P.S. What about that low goal scoring in the league? If you want goal scoring, just watch the Dallas Stars any given night.
*For the second straight game, the Stars allowed double-digit shots on goal in the first period. That is not a trend that needs to continue for a club that wants to be better defensively.
*Learn the defensive miscues from this game and then burn the tape. Put it in the rear view mirror and let’s never speak of it again.