The Dallas Stars looked tired and unfocused as they scrambled their way to a 3-1 loss to a rookie goalie who stood on his head to give them only one goal on 38 shots.
It's a familiar refrain, as the Stars bring their best against the best yet somehow end up letting down their guard to the league's basement dwellers – in this case the Arizona Coyotes, who aren't coming near a playoff spot this season.
A few notes:
- The Stars spent 12 minutes on the penalty kill. When you spend that much time on the penalty kill, you're gonna have a bad time.
- The silver lining was it gave Radek Faksa a chance to show off his one-man PK skills. On one kill, he wrestled Max Domi practically to the ice and successfully fought Anthony Duclair for possession moments later. Is he a keeper, what do you think?
- Kari Lehtonen made some great saves, but one of his best plays may have been when he did nothing at all and let Brad Richardson blow his own penalty shot. It was a good display of the patience and calm that we associate with vintage Kari.
- But you can't win games if you can't find twine. Dallas put 38 shots on the Arizona net and only finished the deal once (although it bears mentioning that Louis Domingue is good at goalie-ing).
- You have to love Ales Hemsky. Nine seconds after Tobias Rieder deflected one in during the first period, Hemmer got the Stars even with his soft Palmolive hands (™ Daryl "Razor" Reaugh) and a nifty feed from Antoine Roussel and his galvanized-steel mitts (also ™ Daryl "Razor" Reaugh).
- The Coyotes won a lot of faceoffs last night –
nearlymore than twice as many as the Stars, which caused some tense moments, especially on the PK. This was one area in which Our Gang looked like a tired team that was missing a few pieces. Keep an eye on how they handle this as the regular season winds down.
- The Stars also gave up a shortie to Martin Hanzal mid-third period – his second goal of the game – that gave them the dubious distinction of moving into second in the league in shorties allowed, behind only – wait for it – Arizona.
- The Stars have killed 33 of their past 34 penalties (the Hanzal goal in the second period came seconds after Jamie Benn's puck-over-glass penalty expired). This is a good trend.
The Stars now make the trip to San Jose to battle the Sharks on Saturday. Let's hope the old Pacific rivalry puts the spark back in their game.