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Dallas Stars Daily Links: The Stars Are “Finding Ways To Lose Games”

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Mike Heika brings up The Ghost of Seasons Past. Plus, the Ben Bishop progress report, and the Brothers Benn meet again.

NHL: Dallas Stars at Montreal Canadiens Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Stars are facing their share of shadows right now: a grueling final push made up mostly of road games, and the lingering shade of their poor 2017-18 start among them.

Lately, as The Dallas Morning News’ Mike Heika points out, those shadows have taken the form of former teammates who have come back to haunt them in new jerseys (hello, Jamie Oleksiak). Last night’s 4-2 loss to the Montreal Canadiens brought another brutal irony:

Antti Niemi was the specter Tuesday in a 4-2 loss to the Montreal Canadiens. The goalie who was bought out by the Stars last summer came up with 36 saves. So in essence, the Stars paid Niemi $1.5 million to beat them.

Oh yeah, and they owe him another $1.5 million for next season.

Even more, the Stars have seen some terrible flashbacks to the team that can’t get out of its own way, that can’t close the deal when the season is on the line. Even last season’s historically bad penalty kill reared its head as the squad gave up three (3) power-play goals to a team that had just lost five in a row on the road:

Both Pittsburgh and Montreal played the night before and had to travel in while the Stars rested. Dallas is now 3-7-1 in games where the opposition played the night before. What’s more, Montreal was finishing up a six-game road trip and was 0-3-2 in its previous five games.

Bottom line, the Stars could not afford to lose this game.

And yet they found a way. ...

The Stars fall to 38-26-6 (82 points). They are still in playoff position, but they are 2-3-2 in their past seven and they are frittering away points they should be getting. As they continue on the longest road trip of the season, it won’t get easier.

There’s more at Mike’s place. [SportsDayDFW]

Head coach Ken Hitchcock talked about getting stuck on the three-quarter ice game and the dangers of careless sticks in the postgame press conference.

And captain Jamie Benn faced the cameras after the loss.

Heika also wrote about Alexander Radulov’s return to Canada and Ben Bishop’s return to practice.

No update at this writing on Marc Methot, who sustained an upper-body injury blocking a shot and did not return to the game.


More Stars

Arpon Basu writes about how Niemi has gone from a career “hanging by a thread” to stealing games from his former teams.

These are Antti’s stats for his past five starts, and I’ll just leave them here.

At least in Montréal we got the Brothers Benn photo we all wanted (yes, you too) when Jordie and Jamie paused for a tête-à-tête during warm-up. (Is that a Julius Honka sighting in the background?)

Another day, another town: The Stars take on Auston Matthews and the Toronto Maple Leafs at 6 p.m. CDT in Air Canada Centre. Here’s a late game-day preview from Scott Burnside.

Yes, Jason Spezza has had a 2017-18 to forget. But has he really had a chance to succeed in the Hitchcock system? (See: “Why would you keep breaking up Spezza and Mattias Janmark when Spezza and Janmark are magic?”)

Another small gem from the WFAA Film Collection of SMU’s G. WIlliam Jones Film and Video Collection – a confident declaration, circa 1971, that someday the Dallas-Fort Worth area would have its own NHL franchise.

Around the League(s)

#Murder By Numbers

Arizona Coyotes goalie Adin Hill made his NHL debut in a 3-1 loss to the Stars. Last night he became the 12th NHL goalie this season to earn his first league win. Hill pitched a 4-3 shootout triumph over the Los Angeles Kings (in which former Star Alex Goligoski netted the winning goal). Learn a little more about Hill via this in-depth analysis of his Dallas game.

Now that Alex Ovechkin has scored his 600th NHL goal, let’s take a look at how he measures up with the super-elite club he just joined:

And let’s do the same for Marc-Andre Fleury, now that he’s won 400 NHL games:

Former NHL defender Andrew Ference has been named the league’s new director of social impact, growth, and fan development. Let’s hope he brings the same panache to this role that he brought to Rich Peverley’s ALS Ice Bucket Challenge in 2014.

Greetings From Scenic Cedar Park

The Texas Stars celebrate Pi Day on Wednesday (March 14...get it?) with mascot autographs all around. Show up early for the T-Stars’ game against the Manitoba Moose – puck drop is at 7:30 p.m. CDT.

If you’re going to H-E-B Center any time during the next three games, you’ll also have a chance to bid on Curtis McKenzie’s AHL All-Star sweater. The winner will be announced on St. Patrick’s Day, Saturday, March 17, and all proceeds will benefit the Texas Stars Foundation.

Finally

Former Star Vernon Fiddler is back in Dallas and rejoining the community in a big way. Learn more about his new Fiddler Fights Cancer Golf Tournament and your opportunity to join #Team38. Enjoy.