The Dallas Stars, the faithful hope, will go through a lot in their efforts to course-course correct this so thoroughly blindsided season. The process will necessarily be multi-tiered, consisting of stretches of health combined with excellence, but also periods of pure desperate survival.
The Thursday-Friday back-to-back in Alberta, of course, being the latter.
The outing in Edmonton, in particular, was not in any way a good template to follow- Rather it was good old fashioned desperation, and a netminder doing what was required behind tired legs on a back-to-back set. Kari Lehtonen was brilliant Friday night.The Stars were not, and that's OK.
The Oilers took advantage of the weary Stars to the tune of 73 shot attepts to just 39 (39!!) in The Stars win. Kari's rebound control contributed to the larger number a bit, but credit to the big Finn for keeping a clean sheet in the final 40.
It's the kind of two points you take without looking back. Each game brings the Stars closer and closer to bodies returning while you hope the stress put on the healthy few driving offensive play isn't too much in the meantime- Separating the two of which I write has been at least a temporary boon for Lindy Ruff, as the offense has ticked up, however slightly.
They'll try to squeak their way to three or four again tonight as the Western Canada trip continues- This time to visit the Sedin twins Bennguin love so much, led by Whiteboard Willie Desjardins- Though for how much longer?
Not so long ago things were looking good for the Vancouver Canucks. They got off to a hot 4-0-0 start on a masterful homestand that saw them allow just six total goals in the set. That seemed to bode well in the down Pacific Division- Then their first forray on the road was an OT loss in Los Angeles. Points in their first five games. Good, right?
Then came an eight-game losing streak that included four goose-eggs along the way. Overall they've lost nine of their last ten and boast just a 5-9-1 mark.
Now, you could argue they've been a little unlucky. They out-shot the Canadiens 42-21 and lost. They out-shot the Red Wings 37-27 and lost. Their power play has managed to hit in just three games this year.
Elliotte Friedman, speaking on NHL network recently, said that Vancouver brass sees the difficulty as such- bad luck...
"If you ask the people in Hockey Operations- Trevor Linden and Jim Benning- they will tell you that they don’t think Willie Desjardins should take the beating over this," said Friedman. "They don’t want to fire him. They just don’t want to make a coaching change.
"They feel he’s been victimized by an offense that’s started really slow. For example, before they played in Toronto on the weekend, they had dressed 24 skaters this year. Two-thirds of them -16- had a shooting percentage of zero. 11 games into the season, that doesn’t happen. It’s such a stunner for where their offense has gone."
"Last night, three of those players- Loui Eriksson, Alex Burrows, and Sven Baertschi all scored. And those are three guys, if you ranked all the current NHLers in shooting percentage, they’d be right in the top 50. And Eriksson is 13th." [fanragsports.com]
So the Stars will desperately try to avoid being the team that let's that bunch get on track. And hey, Loui Eriksson, how you doing bud?
From Stars PR:
WHAT TO WATCH
I'M ROLLIN' ON OUT TO VANCOUVER
The Dallas Stars travel to Vancouver to take on the Canucks in the final game of a five-game road trip on Sunday afternoon. The Stars and Canucks face off for the first of three times during the 2016-17 season, with two of the three meetings occurring on the road at Rogers Arena. Dallas has won 10 consecutive games (10-0-0) against the Canucks, the second-longest active win streak in the NHL by a team against an opponent (longest: 11 games, Montreal against Toronto). The 10-game win streak is also tied for the second-longest in franchise history against any opponent (longest: 11 games, most recently vs. Los Angeles from March 17, 1998 - Jan. 26, 2000). Additionally, Dallas boasts a five-game winning streak (5-0-0) at Rogers Arena dating back to the 2012-13 season. In the most recent regular meeting between the two clubs in Vancouver on Dec. 3, 2015, the Stars defeated the Canucks, 4-2. Forwards Tyler Seguin (1-0=1), Patrick Sharp (1-0=1) and Jason Spezza (1-0=1) all potted a goal for the Stars and goaltender Kari Lehtonen stopped 14-of-16 shots to record the win.
THE BEST THERE'S EVER BENN
Stars captain Jamie Benn recorded two assists (0-2=2) on Friday night against the Edmonton Oilers and has points in two-straight games (2-2=4) and points in three of his last four games (2-3=5). Benn has 13 points (4-9=13) in 15 games during the 2016-17 campaign, ranking second on the club in points (13) and assists (9) and sharing second in goals (4). The captain leads the club and shares 17th in the NHL with a 56.3% faceoff percentage (85-of-151). The native of Victoria, B.C. has points in three of his last four games (3-1=4) against Vancouver and has registered at least a point in 11 of his last 13 games (8-8=16) against them. Benn has registered points in five of his last seven games (2-3=5) in Vancouver. Over his NHL career, he has skated in 21 career games against the Canucks, recording 19 points (10-9=19).
IT'S ONLY THE SEGUIN-ING
Stars forward Tyler Seguin registered two assists (0-2=2) against the Oilers on Friday night and is now riding a four-game point streak (2-3=5) and has points in six of his last seven games (3-7=10). Seguin shares third in the NHL with 17 points (7-10=17) in 15 games this season and is tied for ninth with seven goals. Additionally, the 24-year-old is tied for second in the NHL this season with 10 points (6-4=10) away from American Airlines Center and is tied for third with six road goals. Last season, Seguin finished tied for seventh in the NHL with 37 points (19-18=37) on the road and was tied for fifth with 19 road goals. The native of Brampton, Ont., has a four-game point streak (2-3=5) against Vancouver and a two-game point streak (2-1=3) at Rogers Arena, registering 15 points (6-9=15) over his nine games against them while wearing a Stars uniform. Over his NHL career, Seguin has skated in 11 games against the Canucks and has recorded 16 points (6-10=16).