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Stars Drop 4-1 Decision Against Senators

There aren’t a lot of silver linings here.

NHL: Ottawa Senators at Dallas Stars Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Stars are home again tonight for their second game of the season against the Ottawa Senators. The Stars begin tonight’s game as one of three teams that have yet to win in regulation, all of whom play tonight.

The other two teams are the Arizona Coyotes and the Chicago Blackhawks who lost their games and remain without a regulation win, so at least the Stars are still among company.

You wouldn’t know it from tonight’s game, but the Senators aren’t having the greatest start to the season either. They’ve got 15 goals for (the Stars began tonight with 13) and have a -12 goal differential. Their goals-against average is also higher than the Stars.

In net for the Senators will be Filip Gustavsson, playing the 12th game of his career. That’s always gone well for the Stars.

The Stars are without Jani Hakanpaa, who is out on covid protocols.

First Period

A large part of the first period was a back and forth goalie battle, with some close chances on both ends of the ice.

The Stars pressed early and had good chances against Ottawa goalie Filip Gustavsson in the opening of the first period. Unfortunately, they couldn’t quite figure out how to get the puck around Gustavsson.

With a little over five left to go in the first Andrej Sekera was called for cross-checking Dylan Grambell. The ensuing power-play lasted all of fifteen seconds before Josh Norris found the back of the net.

A little over two minutes later, the Stars iced the puck, then turned it over in the offensive zone for Brady Tkachuk to score with.

Holtby made several amazing saves for the Stars in the first, the only reason the game wasn’t 6-0 by the end of twenty.

The Stars had the shots on goal in this period, what they didn’t seem to have was cohesion. Missed passes, terrible zone entries, offensive zone turnovers that led to chances and goals against. Score effects hit the Stars hard, but they need to figure out how to keep the pressure up and connect on plays before they’re down 2-0.

Shots: Dallas 13, Ottawa 15
Score: Dallas 0, Ottawa 2

Second Period

The second period was dominated by incredibly frustrating good chances for both Roope Hintz and Jason Robertson that they just couldn’t convert on. This is made even more incredibly frustrating by the fact that the Stars managed to keep the Senators to only two shots in the second period, one of which the Senators scored on.

Some beautiful passing on this goal and it was all because all five Dallas Stars skaters on the ice left three different Senators players open at one time. Artem Zub cleared the puck from the boards across the zone to Drake Batherson who had a quick one-touch pass to Josh Norris in front of the net.

Not a chance that Holtby even sees that, let alone saves it.

The Stars are very committed to zone defense and putting pressure on the guys with the puck, which by design leaves players open. Sometimes it works for them, but sometimes it really, really doesn’t.

The Stars got their chance on the power play on a hooking call against Nikita Zaitsev and Joe Pavelski got his first power-play goal of the season.

The Stars also enforce zone rules on the power play. They don’t move themselves much but they pass a lot and this time, they passed well enough to beat Gustavsson stick side.

There were two more penalties this period, one each for the Stars and Senators, but no more goals.

Shots: Dallas 24, Ottawa 17
Score: Dallas 1, Ottawa 3

Third Period

Early in the third period, Connor Brown picked up his first of the season (his fourth point against the Stars though) on a give-and-go with Victor Mete off a turnover down in the Stars offensive zone.

Jamie Benn was called for a tripping penalty which lead to a shorthanded opportunity for John Klingberg, but he was caught by Zach Sanford before he could get a shot off.

And that was the game. The Stars gave too little too late. With the goalie pulled for the extra attacker, the Stars managed one shot on goal.

Shots: Dallas 39, Ottawa 24
Goals: Dallas 1, Ottawa 4

The Stars will have the weekend off before traveling to Manitoba for a Tuesday night tilt against the Winnipeg Jets. Puck drop will be at 7 pm CST.