The Dallas Stars know what’s wrong with their game right now. They just have to find a way to fix it, and maybe hope the hockey gods get over whatever it is that’s ticking them off.
In their final appearance at Joe Louis Arena, the guys in green gave up two power-play goals and failed to convert a 5-on-3 during a 3-1 loss to the Detroit Red Wings. Former Star Steve Ott scored the empty-net goal that ended a frantic extra-man rally in the final minutes, one which had already been stifled adequately by Petr Mrazek and his .971 save percentage.
"Our execution on the special teams wasn't good enough," Stars coach Lindy Ruff said of the inability to beat Detroit goalie Petr Mrazek, who had 34 saves. "We missed the net too many times. We had a couple of good looks, and he made some good saves, but you've got to get the job done."
There were good things about the Stars’ play last night. The increasingly indispensable Esa Lindell scored on the first shift, and the Stars’ newly Ruffled lineup looked sharp during the first period – until that first penalty, on Stephen Johns, let the Wings tie the game on the power play.
Asked if he thought the changes worked, Ruff said: "I thought our game tonight was a lot better. It wasn't as reckless, it wasn't as careless. We're going to win a lot of games if we play like that."
Asked if that means he might stick with those six defensemen Thursday at Pittsburgh, Ruff said no, that he would re-evaluate Wednesday.
There’s always more at Mike’s place. [SportsDayDFW]
As of this writing, there has been no update on that third-period injury that left No. 28 face-down, bleeding and clearly dazed.
Stephen Johns going off the ice, got cut in a collision with Henrik Zetterberg.— Mark Stepneski (@StarsInsideEdge) November 30, 2016
So let’s get back to the good things about last night in Detroit – and Dave Strader’s brief return was one of the best. [SportsDayDFW]
The joy was contagious as he said hello to some old friends.
Dave caught up with Razor during the pregame show, and @DallasStars was kind enough to share the segment on social media.
And as it turns out, Dave the Former Wings Announcer isn’t the only Stars broadcaster who’s been responsible for some good memories in the Joe.
Heika’s postgame Cold Facts point out why the Stars “are the epitome of a .500 team” at the moment. [SportsDayDFW]
On a happier note, Canadian Olympic superstar Penny Oleksiak shared a little game-recognizes-game about her brother Jamie’s performance in St. Louis.
Last night, on the #Death front:
- Loui Eriksson scored, and so of course the Vancouver Canucks defeated the Minnesota Wild, 5-4. [Hockey Wilderness]
- Patrik Laine scored, and so of course the Winnipeg Jets beat the New Jersey Devils, 3-2. [Arctic Ice Hockey]
- Artemi Panarin scored, and so of course the Chicago Blackhawks won a shootout against the Florida Panthers, 2-1. [Second City Hockey]
- And Austin Watson earned a Gordie Howe hat trick, so of course the Nashville Predators won against the Colorado Avalanche, 5-3. [On the Forecheck]
Mrazek wasn’t even the best goalie in the NHL last night: That distinction probably belonged to Steve Mason and his 45 – that’s a 40 (as in a four and a zero) plus a 5 – stops to boost the Philadelphia Flyers to victory over the Boston Bruins.
Steve Mason the difference maker in Flyers' 3-2 shootout win vs. Bruins https://t.co/r0n2JiKwtq— Adam Kimelman (@NHLAdamK) November 30, 2016
The Battle of the Network Hockey Messiahs has ended for the season, and Auston Matthews’ Maple Leafs have swept Connor McDavid’s Oilers.
Elsewhere, former Blackhawks agitator Andrew Shaw is up to his old tricks with the Canadiens. (NSFW, if you work with lip readers.)
In happier news, Brent Burns reached a new milestone in doing Brent Burns things.
Elliotte Friedman writes that “[p]layers understand change…when you are losing,” and then tries to figure out the Florida Panthers’ firing of Gerard Gallant, in his latest 30 Thoughts. [Sportsnet]
Also at Sportsnet: Current Star Tyler Seguin and former Stars Jason Demers and Kris Russell make appearances in the latest Down Goes Brown, as differing illustrations of the seven best kinds of NHL contracts. [Sportsnet]
More great stuff from The Players’ Tribune, as Oliver Ekman-Larsson writes about sharing the ice with his hockey idol, Nicklas Lidström, and the NHL’s current embarrassment of Swedish defensemen riches (John Klingberg, he’s looking at you).
And speaking of Connor McDavid (which we were, up there, somewhere), he took time out from being Edmonton Jesus to make a 10-year-old fan’s day.
Former Star Travis Moen has officially announced his retirement at age 34.
The NHL Players’ Association has posted a great summary of his career.
* Officially, which is the best kind of having one.
Finally: Movember ends today, and it’s time to pick your favorite NHL ’stache. No Stephen Johns or Loui Eriksson in the CBC’s admittedly incomplete roundup, but you can always add them in the comments. Enjoy.