The Stars dropped a 3-2 decision to the visiting New York Rangers Saturday afternoon, and now they've the same 19 games remaining that the bolstered Blackhawks do. It's a race to the finish, but the Stars are going the wrong way. The loss drops them to 1-4-0 in their last five games, stuck on 82 points and mired in a defensive slump.
Even in the lopsided losses to the Jets, Coyotes and Bruins the Stars' offense still managed pump out its standard three goals per game- But that faltered today when the goals against total was reasonable. So no points.
With Henrik Lundqvist in net for the Rangers, three was enough as the New York MVP stopped 36 of 38 on the afternoon.
Chris Kreider, Ryan McDonagh and Kevin Klein bested Kari Lehtonen while Val Nichushkin and Colton Sceviour managed tallies for Dallas in a frustrating afternoon. Frustrating when the Rangers, who hadn't scored a power play goal in three games, needed just four seconds after Jason Demers went off for delay of game.
Perhaps most frustrating of all? The Stars had the puck enough to put 38 shots on New York's net and 86 shot attempts over all- And through all of that could not draw a single penalty? The power play is a bif part of their game. Denied a single chance, their goal total sat at two.
New York didn't get six or seven today, but the turnovers and opportunities in front of Kari Lehtonen were as plentiful as they've been. It's their 15th Saturday loss of the year. Losing Ales Hemsky to illness at the first intermission did not help.
Three things to talk about out of this one-
Ryan McDonagh's third period goal that put the Rangers up to 2-1 was an adventure on social media, and Lindy Ruff's view on it is yet come- But there seemed to be two different takes.
some more angles of McDonagh's goal from behind the goal line pic.twitter.com/Om5LgVCIUl— Stephanie (@myregularface) February 27, 2016
The first was that Kari Lehtonen can't allow that puck to get into the net. Watching it looped on a GIF would give that impression. Taking the longer view of the play might make more sense.
Lehtonen makes an initial save before the goal play develops and the puck goes airborn. Neither Kari or Oleksiak, unfortunately, seemed to have any idea where the puck was. By the time it lands and McDonagh corrals it Lehtonen has seen where it is and darts to left.
By that point the puck was already traveling toward him and there was no going back. It was going to hit the back of him and it was likely going to enter the net. The failure was not on the save attempt, but perhaps on tracking the first shot. And that's on Oleksiak as much as it is on Kari.
The Stars fought back in a mad scrum and felt that they had perhaps tied the game. They hadn't. Or maybe they did. You can't prove it.
Video replays gave the impression that the puck fully crossed the line under McDonagh, but the camera view was obstructed and there were no conclusive angles that showed the puck completely across the line.
The official on the ice, who was in proper position to see the play unfold staring through the back of the net, waved off a possible goal, knowing that it would be reviewed. If his call on the ice was that the puck crosses the line then perhaps it goes the other way.
It's an unfortunate play because it adds to the frustration the Stars were obviously feeling in trying to best Lundqvist, but by the letter of the law and replays available it appeared to be the right thing to do. Even if we don't like it.
It's largely immaterial, however. The Stars did eventually tie the game. How they would have behaved on the shift following either potentially game tying goal- We don't know.
I'm Val Nichushkin
The man that tied it was Val Nichushkin. He was Dallas' best player tonight and I don't think it was even close.
Seven shots on goal for big Val, including a chance in all alone in the first period that was elevated, but not deposited.
He was strong on the forecheck. He turned the Rangers over time and time again. He was tenacious. He could have finished a couple of those chances he was generating, sure, but it was quite a display.
Something happy to go along with more of the same overall.
So they move on. Still in first place, somehow. The Red Wings and the trade deadline approach. It's a fun time to be a hockey fan but a scary time, too, after the Stars raised the expectation bar so thoroughly in the fall.
Oh and if you didn't come to the game you missed Marty Turco mic'd up at the Alumni game after, and him talking to himself on the big screen.
See if you'd have come out you could have seen Mary Turco talk to himself on screen. pic.twitter.com/PJ3ZzZ0Ecm— Brad Gardner (@bradgardnerDBD) February 27, 2016
Question- Why does Turco on the right have such a mess of chest hair showing?