If not for a bad mistake and an even worse penalty call, the Dallas Stars might have finally getting back in the win column last night against the Columbus Blue Jackets. But these moments of misfortune mainly pointed to the team’s deeper problems.
One of the biggest knocks on the Stars this season – and even last season – is that they can regularly put together a great period, but rarely seem to manage a great game. The Athletic’s Saad Yousuf examined the Stars’ latest loss and found some familiar patterns:
The Stars and Blue Jackets ended up equal on high-danger scoring chances at nine apiece. That’s the kind of third period the Stars had, outperforming the Blue Jackets 7-2 in the final period. Hockey is a 60-minute game, though, and when you throw away 47 minutes, you’re not only playing with fire, you’re burning in it. The Stars came alive and scored a couple of goals in the third period but that’s not the story. At least, it shouldn’t be the story. An NHL team scoring two goals is a highlight if you’re talking during the first intermission, not after the game. The Stars’ scoring drought over the past week made scoring goals — a goal — in the third period feel like a win. It’s not. The Stars left the building with zero points while Columbus added two points to their cushion on Dallas.
A bad giveaway by Joel Kiviranta gave Oliver Bjorkstrand the Jackets’ second goal. But the real momentum-killer was that overzealous penalty call on Andrej Sekera. It was an infuriating moment, but the context is as important as the incident:
The Stars had been zombies for most of the game but in the nine minutes before the penalty, they scored two goals to cut a 3-0 deficit to 3-2 and were buzzing for the tying score. With the penalty called at that juncture in the game, it halted any momentum the Stars had built, which they were clearly feeding off, and put them on the penalty kill. Then, they’d have to regroup and try to score a goal in less than 90 seconds. It was truly the dagger in the game....
To be clear, the Stars didn’t lose because of the referees. They lost because of an inept offense and a horrible turnover.... But that was still an egregious call that should have never happened and ruined what looked to be a very interesting ending.
There’s more behind the paywall. [The Athletic DFW]
On the upside, at least Miro Heiskanen is getting his score on again.
And it was indeed a beauty.
Meanwhile: The unexpected upside to pandemic protocols is that a handful of Stars now have the free time to go back to school.
"I was sitting there looking for TV shows to watch, when I figured I could be getting my mind working and moving." https://t.co/6H7Enbez5Q— Matthew DeFranks (@MDeFranks) March 4, 2021
Around The Leagues
- Andrei won the Battle of the Svechnikovs, scoring two points for the Carolina Hurricanes as they defeated brother Evgeni’s Detroit Red Wings 5-2. [Canes Country]
- And the Chicago Blackhawks snapped Andrei Vasilevskiy’s shutout streak, but the Tampa Bay Lightning pulled out the win in overtime, 3-2. [Raw Charge]
Another pandemic postponement – this time, it’s the IIHF Women’s World Championship.
Sad news: Walter Gretzky, the former Bell Telephone technician who became the world’s most famous hockey dad, has died.
“You were my first teammate."— Toronto Star (@TorontoStar) March 5, 2021
Walter Gretzky, father of ‘The Great One,’ dead at 82https://t.co/5sz4c7sVCh
Greetings From Scenic Cedar Park
Texas rallies behind a 4⃣-point game from Cole Schneider and 35 saves from Tomas Sholl to top Tucson 5-2 on the road. The #txstars have won 3 straight away from home. #TEXvsTUC— Texas Stars (@TexasStars) March 4, 2021
Meanwhile, word is getting around that head coach Neil Graham was also a gracious host to the stranded San Jose Barracuda during the ice storm that wrecked Texas in February.
Colton Point turned 23 yesterday. Wish him a happy birthday weekend!