Stars Mistakes Cost Them Chance to Tie Series With Golden Knights
The Dallas Stars had every stat going in their favor after losing Game 1 in the Western Conference Final to the Vegas Golden Knights.
Jake Oettinger had 11 straight wins after a loss, dating back to the end of the regular season. He was a sterling 5-0 after losses in the postseason. Dallas was 8-0 when leading after two periods in the playoffs as well.
But they were 0-3 in games that went past regulation, and that was the stat that ended up becoming the storyline. Make it 0-4 for this team, that now finds themselves in an 0-2 hole in a series for the first time this postseason.
The thing is, this is one of those games where Dallas controlled the play. They had nearly 60 percent of the scoring chances. Oettinger looked good outside of a full two-minute of a 5-on-3 penalty kill after Thomas Harley was called for tripping and Joel Hanley was called for interference on the same shift. Not much he can do when the puck caromed off of Esa Lindell's skate and landed in the perfect place for Mark Stone to snap it in.
It was a harbinger of what was to come. Their own mistakes cost Dallas this game. That is either good (you believe that they can fix those and claw their way back into the series) or bad (it feels like the universe is sending the message that this is as far as this train goes this season), depending on your broader life outlook.
They had the game all but wrapped up, with Jason Robertson's power play goal in the second period standing as the game winner. But with less than 2:30 left in the game, Ryan Suter made a poor choice to play the puck to where he presumed defensive partner Miro Heiskane would be in the opposite corner. Instead, the pass got picked off, Jack Eichel maked a no-look pass to the front of the net, and Jonathan Marchessault, who was completely uncovered with Suter stuck puck-watching, banged it home from the slot.
That led to overtime, where the regular season trend of absolutely abysmal results past regulation reared it's head once again. It's interesting in that Stars coach Pete DeBoer tended to dismiss concerns about his team's performance in overtime, noting that the playoffs are different. There's no 3-on-3, no shootout, no five minute timer on the overtime period. It's 5-on-5 and play until there's a winner.
Well, Pete, that seems to have carried over into the playoffs. The Stars are 0-4 in overtime games, with both games against Vegas ending less than two minutes in. It's like there's a mental block when extra time is required. After being torched on line changes three times in this playoffs already, the Stars were burned again. The lack of awareness or hustle to get the changes in quickly cost them yet again, and the Stars now find themselves coming back to the American Airlines Center where they'll need to win both just to get the series back to even, a feat they have yet to do this playoffs.