You know how in all those old TGIF sitcoms, there was usually a goofy dad who embarrassed his kids? It would go something like this: Daughter has big cheerleading tryout in front of all the Cool Kids, and she does her best not to let Goofy Dad know bout it lest he show up and embarrass her. Inevitably, the girl will be with said Cool Kids at the mall (kids are always at the mall) and run into her dad. The Cool Kids all laugh at the Goof-Man when he knocks over an entire stack of pies or something, and the girl (his daughter) castigates him to his face. He is hurt, and the episode has to spend its second half in reconciliation between the two. Here is an example of such a scene sans mall.
Well, tonight was that scene as narrated by Pierre McGuire (who would obviously be Fake Uncle Joey, if this were Full House). Every ominous narrative, every harbinger of doom that had been trumped up for the Stars going into this series came crashing down on their heads in Scottrade (Scott Trade? Scotttrade?) Center last night.
Dallas keeps scoring first in this series, but they've been unable to really pull away at any point, and they've been caught themselves twice (although they did come back to catch St. Louis in Game 2, of course).
You can draw all sorts of nasty conclusions from Game 3, if you want. The Power Play is growing less eponymous each game. The goaltending didn't get it done until garbage time. The Blues were creating scoring chances almost at will. The Penalty Kill did not save anyone's bacon. The top line couldn't break through to save its life.
Jason Demers must still be seeing that crossbar in his nightmares. That was the point where I sort of resigned myself to the fact that this game probably wasn't going to be stolen (since theft looked like the only vehicle for a Dallas victory even at that point), and started looking ahead. But still, this is about Game 3, not Game 4, so let's ponder.
Dallas is not that bad. I mean, yes, they were that bad, but it's not like being at home suddenly turned the Blues into Kryptonite laser beams or something. We've seen this movie before, even way back at the beginning of the season against Colorado. When Dallas gets behind due to sloppy play and starts to open things up, it has the potential to get even sloppier. Tonight, fittingly, was their worst margin of defeat this season. It validated every pundit who picked the Blues to win this series and then some (and goodness gracious me, it wasn't tough to discern which team Pierre's bookie has penciled on a large stack of Loonies).
The real test is whether Dallas can bounce back. It's possible, you know. That bounceback ability is what defined this club for much of the season, and even though it hasn't always been pretty, they've found ways to buckle down after getting slapped across the face.
I don't have much more to say, really. Dissecting a game like this is kind of like doing an autopsy on your beloved 19-year-old dog. You'd sort of prefer to just say one or two things, look at old pictures, and move on. Can't say as I blame you.
Dallas will likewise have to move on from this game, but I wonder if Ruff won't force them to take their medicine a bit tomorrow in the video room. Getting this team boiling with calm, directed fury before a pivotal Game 4 isn't a horrible idea if you think they were complacent on Tuesday.
Alternatively, they could just replay that Backes elbow headed for Jamie Benn's face. That should stoke the fires just fine.
The second half of those sitcom episodes usually involve the daughter (it's always a daughter) finally understanding how wonderful and caring and lovable her dad really is after she sees past the Goof-Man exterior. Often, she is collared by an older relative and taken to a soup kitchen, wherein she glances her dad singlehandedly feeding 40,000 hungry children while simultaneously curing psoriasis. She is overcome with guilt at her own shallowness, and a tearful hug wraps up the episode.
Dallas may not be able to manufacture quite that much heartwarming bliss in Game 4, largely because their studio audience will be 20,000 screaming Missourians. But even if they can't get every touch just right, it surely would be nice if they could at least make it watchable. If Stars hockey has been anything this season, it has been watchable. That's what made this game so odd. That's also why I'd bet on a much better effort come Thursday evening.