The Dallas Stars dropped to 1-2-0 in their preseason record after a 5-2 loss to the Minnesota Wild on home ice.
On the plus side, the fans in attendance tonight saw actual goals scored, unlike in the first preseason game where they got blanked. They’re still evaluating the roster and instilling their systems. But there’s a few things we can take away from this contest.
LET’S GET OUT OF THIS ALIVE, OK?
Dallas had quite a scare in the first period after Roope Hintz took a late hit behind the play by Minnesota forward Brandon Baddock. As soon as the hit was leveled, Stars defenseman Jared Rosburg dropped the gloves with Baddock for the hit. Both received 5-minute majors for fighting, but Rosburg got a 5-minute major for interference as well as a game misconduct (from the fight, according to the box score).
“It’s a dirty play,” Stars coach Pete DeBoer said. “Liberties taken with a really good player that’s unnecessary. Anytime you’re dealing with concussion protocol, that’s the kind of stuff we’re trying to get out of the game.”
“I think guys are fairly respectful. I think everyone plays hard. But you get the odd case where you see what happened tonight, you hate to see that.”
Hintz would go down the tunnel after the hit and not return to action the rest of the period. Minnesota scored a shorthanded goal on the 5-minute power play and Dallas failed to convert.
A sigh of relief came when Hintz was back on the ice for the start of the second. That relief was short-lived when Ty Dellandrea exited the game in the second period after blocking a shot with his hand. He didn’t return to the game due to the ever-illuminating “upper-body injury” label.
One key to getting off to the solid start to the regular season the team harped on during training camp is health. That’ll be the primary focus for the remaining few preseason games - get out of them with minimal injuries.
SHORTIE LIKE A MELODY IN MY HEAD
Dallas had seven shorthanded goals all of last season. They have scored two in three preseason games this year. Is it a sign of an aggressive penalty kill mentality? Possibly. They sure seem to be looking for an outlet pass or carry out option into the offensive zone when on the penalty kill. Tonight’s goal came courtesy of a Miro Heiskanen pass (as he does) to Jacob Peterson, who made a slick cross-ice feed to Dellandrea who buried the puck to tie the game up, 1-1, with 6:25 left in the first period.
Special teams seemed to be the main theme in the first period, with the Wild tacking on a power play goal to make it 2-1 late in the period. Because of all of the time both teams spent on special teams, it was a hard period to really evaluate anyone, as some players don’t appear on either side of the special teams coin.
CALL US ABOUT YOUR CAR’S EXTENDED WARRANTY
Ok, it’s not exactly an extended warranty, but the Stars are giving extended looks to all of the young talent for their opening night roster decisions. Logan Stankoven, Wyatt Johnston, and Mavrik Bourque all played again, and in all situations, too. Each had a turn on the power play and featured heavily on the penalty kill. You’ll never be able to say the Stars didn’t give them opportunities to show what they could bring to the lineup this season.
Nils Lundkvist was paired with Miro Heiskanen in this one. He played top-pairing minutes and didn’t look out of place for the most part. He called his own number on the power play and scored to make it 4-2 to try to kickstart the Stars’ comeback from a 4-1 deficit midway through the third period. It was a hell of a shot from the point that got through traffic, with Matej Blumel providing a screen in front of the goaltender.
That comeback was a mere whisper in the wind, as the Stars conceded another goal against not too long after. They’d eventually lose the game 5-2 with Peterson having a goal that would have made it 5-3 waived off for batting it in with his stick above the crossbar. (It was a very apparent over-the-bar-height, too.) I thought Peterson had a pretty strong outing this game.
Anton Khudobin played the whole game, and I wouldn’t say it was even an average outing for him. There were a couple that the defense in front of him absolutely broke down on, but also one or two of those that you would expect him to be able to make under normal Khudobin play. He’s still shaking off the rust from his hip surgery this past spring, and it was just his first full 60-minute game since then. It seems too early to make sweeping judgements on whether he’ll challenge Scott Wedgewood for the backup gig in Dallas to start the season. At this point, I’d wager he gets sent for a conditioning stint in October as he continues to round back into form.
Dallas will play their last home preseason game next Monday, October 3rd versus the Colorado Avalanche. Their regular season home opener will be October 15th when the Nashville Predators come to town.