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Game 80 Afterwords: Stars Outscore Ducks at Even Strength, Kill All Penalties, Lose Game

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Antti Niemi was actually quite good in this one despite the two goals allowed. I attribute that to his loud-whistling countryman sitting in my row at Honda Center.

"I dunno, guys...maybe we should score a goal in the other net on this power play."
"I dunno, guys...maybe we should score a goal in the other net on this power play."
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Well, the Stars played their third game in four nights Sunday against Anaheim, and it definitely was a hockey game that counted as part of the regular season.  You can't deny that.

I had barely gotten to my seat when Radek Faksa put a puck off the post, which speaks to both how differently this game could have gone from right off the bat as well as how Faksa's goal-scoring luck has been going this year.  He had Gibson down, and the puck got through the Ducks netminder only to clang off the post.

It wasn't the worst thing though, because the Stars were headed to the power play.  All right!  Nothing like a power play to get some momentum, maybe score a goal, and show the other team who's boss.  The Dallas Stars are boss, that's who, you bunch of lackadaisical waterfowl!  Well, the power play started, and

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Hey, would you like to hear about the sandwich I ate before the game in Anaheim instead?  Great!  It was called The Count of Monte Cristo, and it was a very delicious sandwich.  Here is what it looked like:

What you are looking at is a ham and turkey sandwich on a deep-fried waffle with gruyere cheese and a bit of gravy, all topped with a fried egg.  The maple syrup and strawberry jam are served on the side, but believe me, they didn't stay there!  No sir, those would go right on toppa that there concoction right before finding their way into the ol' intestines de Roberto, and ain't nothing in the world was going to stop that from happening. I believe this sandwich contained 5,200 calories.

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You may remember losing another game in which the Stars surrendered two shorthanded goals.  It was this one, and it was also against a particularly loathsome team at the time. Of course, that Red Wings team had the league's worst power play whereas the Ducks are the special teams overlords of the NHL this year. So I guess I'm saying, at least the Stars got themselves humiliated by a team good at killing penalties?  That probably isn't consolation I would offer to most Stars personnel in person after that game.

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John Klingberg, John Klingberg.  After nearly beating Quick twice on Saturday, he found himself wearing goat horns thanks to a first bad giveaway off a rough pass into his skates (from Spezza).  Patrick Sharp came back to knock the puck heroically aside from the in-almost-alone Silfverberg, and things seems okay again.  Then, uh, things got worse.  Klingberg fumbled the puck, and Nate Thompson saw Niemi overplaying the shot and deked around him.

The ice was actually pretty horrendous from what I could tell in person, but that's not exactly a valid excuse.  Both teams have to deal with those conditions, and it's on the players to manage the puck all the more carefully when bounces are less predictable.  Klingberg did not that.  He instead tried to salvage the power play rush with a fancy blind backhand pass across the neutral zone.  It, unlike my sandwich, did not work!

I love John Klingberg's game.  It's something the Stars desperately needed for years, and now that they have it, we're remembering just what else occasionally accompanies that sort of panache with the puck.  Risky plays and overconfident decisions are what else. I'm glad Klingberg wasn't benched, as Dallas needed the offense even more after that, and I am extra glad that Klingberg made no bones about his bad pass after the game.  Players occasionally make bad decisions, and Klingberg is beyond the "bench the rookie to drum the lesson into his head" phase.

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That sandwich was seriously amazing though.  The best part was that Former DBD Links (etc.) Maven Trevor Sudbury was in town to enjoy his own such sandwich with me.  We enjoyed sporting Stars paraphernalia in Anaheim before the game a lot more than we enjoyed the game itself, and that's okay.  This is why you should write for DBD: you get to eat unhealthy food with Robert once every couple of years.  Hooray!  I did not pay for Trevor's food.

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The second shorthanded goal was credited to Former Shorthanded Goal Preventor P. Sharp, who either got a weird bounce off the back boards or just didn't get all of his pass to begin with.  Either way, Ryan Kesler (about whom I may have yelled something uncomplimentary earlier in the game) was fed the picked-off pass, and Niemi was dead in the water.  It wasn't the best way to start a third period in which your team was already trailing.  I have written about hockey a lot this year, and that is my analysis of that play.

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Antti Niemi really did play well aside from over-challenging on the Thompson goal a tad.  He had a couple of world-class saves, and the Stars still were *holds out thumb and forefinger* this close to tying it up with a second extra-attacker goal.  That is the 2015-16 Dallas Stars: they can sabotage themselves twice, score nothing for 57 minutes, and almost force overtime just because they feel like it.

Radek Faksa deserved a goal Sunday, but I surely wish he had scored it on his chance with one minute elapsed instead of remaining.

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Dallas was noticeably tired tonight.  That can either make it extra disappointing that they gave the game away by surrendering goals during what should be the lowest-risk scenario imaginable, or it could make it impressive that they hung in there with a rested Ducks team even so.  They are missing a lot of players, and they still find ways to force the issue when they put their foot fully 'pon the gas. You are free to reject my proferred optimism.

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Ales Hemsky was victimized by a tough Getzlaf stick check that resulted in the third Anaheim goal, but if you were surprised at some bad luck befalling Hemsky and leading to a goal in the Stars' empty net, then you maybe are not super familiar with how the universe has been operating for the past couple of years.

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No, I am not joking about the waffle sandwich.  I ate that, I used all the jam and syrup, and then I sat down and watched a hockey game.  Did you do that?  Probably you did not. You ought to have done that.

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The Stars went 0-for-4 on the power play (-2-for-4, really).  That is going to lose you some hockey games. The Ducks also did a pretty good job of shutting down the Stars' power play for the most of their last game in Anaheim, as you may recall.  (The Stars scored a shortie of their own in that contest, for the record.)

Bruce Boudreau is a good coach, and it certainly appears that the Ducks had a good plan for dealing with the Stars' power play.  If you are the Dallas Stars, this can be instructive.  Also if you are the Dallas Stars, you look forward to getting Tyler Seguin back.

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I have absolutely no other conclusions to draw from this game.  It was weird, the second period was horribly uneventful, and the Stars did not deserve a point.  They did not get one!  So, you can take solace that this wonderful universe of ours occasionally doles out karmic justice in a predictable manner.  (Except to whatever poor turkey I ate.  He was probably an okay dude before being turned into a sandwich.)

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Home ice is eminently clinchable, still.  The Stars are *probably* going to play Minnesota or Chicago, and both of those series hold loads of delectable potential.