Stop me if you think you’ve heard this one before: The Dallas Stars put 42 shots on goal (against a backup goalie), came back from two separate deficits, forced a game to overtime, and still ended up losing in 3-on-3.
Such was the case against the Montreal Canadiens last night, and here’s the quote you already thought (and will probably resent coming from the organization):
"I thought we beat ourselves," Stars coach Lindy Ruff said. "They didn't earn it, we gave it away."
Ruff had a point, though. Stephen Johns’ puck-over-glass penalty that resulted in Montreal’s go-ahead goal came right after the Stars had let the Habs draw even on a previous power play:
"The disappointing part is it's on a nothing play," Ruff said. "When it comes down to it, if you're under pressure or under duress you may see that play. But when you're not under duress and there is no immediate danger, to throw a puck in that area is just a fundamental mistake. It's a sloppy mistake, it's mistakes that hurt you eventually and that hurt us tonight."
Yet, also predictably, the Stars keep providing those bits of steadily improving play that keep hope alive. Last night’s exemplar was John Klingberg, who had a gorgeous goal and a well-timed assist on an Esa Lindell tally as further demonstration that his own slump is behind him:
"I think, with the homestand we had here, we were able to build some momentum to our game and get some energy, too," Klingberg said. "The defensive game has been a lot better. We want to execute more on the defensive part of the game as well, and that's our next step."
You can read more at Mike’s place (if you clear your cookies). [SportsDayDFW]
Antoine Roussel felt good but wished he’d played better following a four-game injury-related absence:
Here’s a little extra perspective on The Captain’s injury:
Tonight's absence snaps Jamie Benn's 221 consecutive game streak (reg season & playoffs). It was the 14th longest active streak in the NHL.— Josh Bogorad (@JoshBogorad) January 5, 2017
That said, Jamie doesn’t actually feel that hurt and is hoping to return sooner rather than later. [SportsDayDFW]
Did you notice the new #NHL100 patch on the Stars’ sweaters?
Last night, in #Death:
- Mikael Backlund scored in his fifth consecutive game as the Calgary Flames beat the Colorado Avalanche 4-1. [Mile High Hockey]
- Patrik Laine had a goal and an assist, and Nikolaj Ehlers concussed Seth Griffith with a controversial yet unpenalized first-period hit, as the Winnipeg Jets defeated the Florida Panthers in Sunrise, 4-1. [Miami Herald]
The Panthers also honored the memory of Marti Huizenga, who passed away on Tuesday, Jan. 3. With her husband, H. Wayne Huizenga, Marti helped bring the Panthers to Florida – and also helped enshrine the custom of throwing plastic rats on the ice after a home goal.
P.K. Subban is staying “optimistic” as he works his way through the upper-body injury that’s kept him out of action for the past three weeks. [Associated Press/ESPN]
Right now, there are about 75 NHL players who voluntarily submit to electrical-current application to achieve enhanced athletic performance and recovery. Does it work? Washington Post writer Isabelle Khurshudyan investigates. (Click the embed to read Khurshudyan’s own follow-up tweets and learn even more about the process.)
T.J. Oshie (& others) are attached to a device 12 hours/day that pumps electrical current through them. They love it https://t.co/Bf8dmgLx2x— Isabelle Khurshudyan (@ikhurshudyan) January 4, 2017
Speaking of player conditioning: One big reason the Columbus Blue Jackets are riding a record-setting win streak is starting goalie Sergei Bobrovsky – but Officer Bob came into the season struggling with injuries both physical and mental. Here’s how he put himself back together.
Also at THN: On the 10th anniversary of Patrik Stefan’s career-defining misfortune, Stefan himself talks about how he uses that missed-empty-net moment in his current career as a coach. (Doubly poignant for Stars fans: those sweet, score-tying dangles by then-Oiler Aleš Hemský.) [THN]
ICYMI: A year after the on-ice injury that left her paralyzed, the Boston Pride’s Denna Laing continues to fight back. Just before Christmas, she received the Dana Reeve Hope Award from the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation for her work as an advocate for people living with spinal injuries.
The USA and Canada have won the right to fight for gold in the Battle of the Hockey Superpowers that is the 2017 World Juniors. But never forget that reminders of Denis Gurianov’s stellar tournament for Team Russia are everywhere:
Epic celly from Denis Guryanov after giving Russia the lead. One of the best parts of the World Juniors pic.twitter.com/Vkt6WzPuqc— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) January 4, 2017
It won’t be a moment too soon before Gury returns to the Texas Stars, who can really use his scoring touch right now.
Sad news: Milt Schmidt, the only person in Boston Bruins history to serve as a player, captain, coach and GM, died yesterday at the age of 98. He was the oldest living former NHL player.
Rip Milt Schmidt. One of the greatest Bruins of all time.— Milan Lucic (@27MilanLucic) January 4, 2017
Ron Smith, who coached and scouted hockey at every level during a long career, passed away on Monday, January 2, at age 72. He won the Stanley Cup with the Carolina Hurricanes in 2006 and was one of the NHL’s earliest advocates for evidence-based analysis using advanced stats. [Waterloo Region Record]
Condolences to family/friends of Ron Smith, the former Guelph Platers/ NHL coach. Went to his hockey school as a kid. I remember him fondly.— Steve Fitzsimmons (@playbyplayguy) January 4, 2017
Finally: You’ve no doubt read Taylor’s post about a mystery Good Dog and his human who made their presence known at last night’s Stars game. Here’s a little more info about the pair, including their names. Good dog, Six.