The Dallas Stars that played the Vancouver Canucks today were not the Stars that just strung together five straight wins. They looked uncharacteristically sluggish, and couldn’t seem to get their legs under them enough to find a spark to jump-start their game.
It seemed like it was going to be one of those nights from the very first goal against Dallas.
On a play that was reviewed and eventually ruled a goal, Reid Boucher scored on a wraparound attempt on Ben Bishop’s pads just two minutes into the game. It was by far the quietest goal against scored in Dallas this season, as it wasn’t called a goal on the ice. (Jason Spezza would have a similar play reviewed later in the game but his potential goal would be ruled that the puck did not completely cross the line, so would not count.)
Bishop let in three more goals after that – one off of a shot that beat him fivehole, in which he appeared to be square to the play enough to make the stop, as well as a snipe by Thomas Vanek and a power play goal to Bo Horvat. That would end his night, when Kari Lehtonen came into the game. The Canucks hit the back of the twine once more off of a Boucher tip-in goal to complete the rout of Dallas.
The Stars, meanwhile, were unable to do much in the way of generating shots on Jacob Markstrom. Their one power play chance didn’t look all that lethal. They had trouble getting cleanly through the neutral zone, and most of their chances in the offensive zone were of the one-and-done variety.
Puck possession was an issue tonight, and the Stars had a decent parade to the penalty box, making it hard for the team to get into any kind of cycle from the second period onward. To be honest, it’s tough to find much positive in this kind of game. It’s the kind you hope they can take away lessons from and then burn the game tape of then move on to the next.
Honestly, the biggest positive was the fact that John Klingberg, who missed a chunk of time in the second period after taking a puck to the face, was not seriously hurt. He skated off shaking his hand as if he had blocked a shot with it. Instead, he needed a few stitches and returned to the game. Klingberg going out for any significant amount of time would be a major blow to the Stars as they fight down the stretch for a playoff berth.
It’s been a good amount of time since the Stars were beaten so soundly. You have to go back to November 16th when the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Stars 6-1 at Amalie Arena for their last loss of more than four goals. In fact, they’ve only been beaten by four or more goals in two games this season (the second came two days prior to the loss in Tampa on the road at the Carolina Hurricanes, a 5-1 loss.)
Today’s game is the worst home game loss this season. They’ve more often been on the other side of lopsided contests at American Airlines Center. But tonight, Vancouver flipped the script.
Now, the Stars get four days off due to a quirk in the schedule. That will give them the time to figure out what went wrong today and get some practice in before they take on the team they’re chasing for third in the Central Division, the St. Louis Blues, on Friday night.