Stars Drop Game 3, Down 2-1 In Series With Wild

Stars Drop Game 3, Down 2-1 In Series With Wild
Credit: Tim Heitman / Dallas Stars

A lot is made about how you need a little bit of luck to win the Stanley Cup. The thing is, when games are so tight, you've got to do the little things to create your own luck. And the Dallas Stars did not do that tonight.

For the second time in this series, Dallas was flat to start the game. If it being a playoff game is not enough, what is needed to come out with a better start? At one point, they were being outshot 6-2 and Dallas only saw the offensive zone because they drew an early power play chance.

One way to create some luck for themselves would have been to take advantage of those power plays at key moments. Less than two minutes into the game, a goal would have sucked some of the energy out of the building. Instead, Dallas got exactly one shot on goal and didn't look particularly dangerous. They also had a late power play chance that could have led to going into the first intermission tied at one, but yet again, had nothing going.

Dallas went down 2-0 after a turnover inside their own line (a sure-fire sign that the Stars are absolutely not playing their game is their inability to get out of their own zone and turn the puck over in the defensive zone to extend their opponent's shift). But Luke Glendening punched right back 11 seconds later to cut the lead to 2-1. That could have been a momentum changer for Dallas.

It was not.

They continued to struggle in their own zone, getting hemmed in quite often. The post-whistle shenanigans and penalties and lack of skating from Dallas played right into the style of game Minnesota likes to play. In other words, it felt like they were beating themselves. They've shown that in the periods they out-skate the Wild, they can't keep up. They can't match the pace Dallas sets. The problem is, they're being passive and letting the pace come to them instead of going out there and imposting their will.

A borderline-just-this-side-of-legal high stick deflection by Marcus Foligno on the power play extended the lead to 3-1, and Dallas never recovered from that hole.

Some will say that Jake Oettinger can't allow three goals if Dallas hopes to win the series. But if you look at those goals, there's not a lot more you could ask him to do. And where is the goal support in front of him?

Jason Robertson and Roope Hintz were very effectively taken out of the game with the home team getting their preferred matchup. That's going to happen on the road. What the Stars needed was some depth scoring, and Mason Marchment, Max Domi, Wyatt Johnston, Jamie Benn, and Evgenii Dadonov were ineffective in the offensive zone. The Stars need one of those middle-six lines to provide more than getting caught up in the Wild's desire to mix it up to try to draw penalties, and it's been pretty quiet from that part of the roster this series so far.

At best the Stars can hope to split these two road games to try to take back a home ice advantage in the series. It would be good to see some adjustments from the team to try to generate more 5-on-5 offensive chances consistently. Maybe it'll help them create some of that luck they speak so highly of.