The narrative of healthy taking down the Dallas Stars took another hit Saturday night at American Airlines Center.
Lindy Ruff eviscerated his team's effort Tuesday night after Jason Spezza and Cody Eakin came back into the fold. Patrick Sharp did the same tonight, the lines changed again, and the Edmonton Oilers, losers of five straight, destroyed the Dallas Stars to the tune of a 5-2 margin.
The Stars have now lost 12 of their first 19 games. Ouch.
The evening started where many evenings this season have left off- What's going on with Johnny Klingberg? What's happened to his confidence? Should he sit a game? And on it goes.
He scored a goal on a tip-in right in front of Kari Lehtonen's net in a rather off phenomenon that put the Oilers up, according to the official score-sheet, without having a SOG. Fox Sports put a shot on goal on TV but the officials disagrees.
That oddity aside, Klingberg ends up looking like the horse's rear end, but the root-cause involved a number of victory green jersey's in the 30 seconds leading up to the goal in which one of the team's chief flaws was exposed: Transitioning the puck from defense to offense across the blue line.
Their woes would continue when Patrik Nemeth stepped up on a puck he had no chance of retrieving, and Stephen Johns got stuck with the check, ending in yet another Tyler Pitlick goal. The Stars own the distinction of being the first team that Pitlick has ever scored multiple goals on.
The more I contemplate the matter the more unlikely it seems that someone named "Pitlick" has ever scored multiple whatevers against any team anywhere. But I digress...
Dallas' discombobulation aside, the bounces weren't with them. Patrick Eaves rang a beautiful deflection off the cross-bar in the first period, contrasted with a Kleffbom prayer from the point on its way to a solid four feet wide that found Nemeth's skate and sailed past Kari lehtonen for a 3-0 lead. Not to mention the moving screen/pick Edmonton set for the Kleffbom on the play that went un-called.
Mere seconds after that a scrum in front of the embattled Lehtonen would end with a puck squeaking past the pile to an unfettered Connor McDavid for a slam dunk and church for the Stars at 4-0.
There's a lot of what we'll call misfortune in there. There was also a lot of disorganization on account of the Stars at both ends. Entries at their defensive blue line were nary challenged, while anything resembling an effective counter-attack or forecheck was never established, and two power plays were squandered when the game was still in reach.
They would eventually find their way to some perfunctory, though ultimately meaningless offense i n the latter stages of the second when Z. Kassian took a hooking penalty and then followed it up with the running of his mouth, giving the Stars four minutes with which to work on the job. Patrick Eaves scored with a rolling puck and Jamie Benn got a piece of a John Klingberg bid from the point to give a litle hope heading into the third.
Hope wouldn't last long, however. A bench minor for too many men stemming from a breakaway chance for Edmonton carried over into the third and a Tyler Seguin minor for tripping kept the wrong kind of special teams going.
Edmonton used the momentum on their way to another lucky bounce as McDavid mishandled a puck in the Stars' end and then a blocked Puljujarvi shot that could have bounced anywhere somehow found the Oiler captain's stick for yet another slam dunk.
Shortly after that I heard my first ever "Let's go Oilers" chant at the American Airlines Center. Shortly after that the Stars took another minor for too many men on the ice.
Do you think it's a team full of guys who aren't quite sure who they're playing with?
Credit the Oilers. The Stars saw the Avalanche just dominate them after they got up a few goals. Edmonton did the opposite. They saw Dallas creeping past them in possession as the second closed, and instead of let "score effects" do what they do in any sport, they took it to the Stars, erasing a -9 Corsi deficit in the final frame to finish tied at 62 all.
Kari Lehtonen was quite good and made a few spectacular saves- because he had to- But Ruff got him out of there at 4-0, seemingly to spare him. None of those goals were his fault in the least. Antti Niemi found similar treatment in front of him- He played well in relief and couldn't do much about the one that went past him.
This brings the homestand up to a loss to the Devils, a win that Lindy Ruff called embarrassing, and then whatever he'll say about this one. They'll finish up the stretch with the Wild on Monday before taking on the Predators Wednesday in Nashville.