Unanswered Goals and Special Teams Sink Dallas in Loss to Colorado

Four unanswered goals in 60 minutes. Eight unanswered goals since that 3-1 lead against Vegas.

The Dallas Stars dropped an 0-4 decision against the Colorado Avalanche to fall 0-for-the-bubble. The defeat, their second of the seeding round, overshadowed the NHL debut of defensive prospect Thomas Harley, and dual “unfit-to-play” departures of Ben Bishop and John Klingberg. This is the team’s eighth consecutive loss. The last time the Stars secured a win was February 25 against the Carolina Hurricanes. The loss keeps Dallas anchored to the Western Conference’s fourth seed, pending the result of tomorrow’s tilt between the Vegas Golden Knights and St. Louis Blues.

Penalties were a major factor. Cale Makar opened the scoring just 3:19 into the first period as Esa Lindell watched from the penalty box. Later in the first period, though technically an even-strength tally, Joonas Donskoi’s rebound effort came immediately after Tyler Seguin’s penalty had expired, and for all intents and purposes, was a result of a power play. All told, Colorado enjoyed a pair of opportunities with the extra man while Dallas received a single chance.

The second period was unfortunately similar. Diligent defensive work from the Avalanche forced an offensive zone turnover from Radek Faksa, and one rebound later Vladislav Namestikov had extended the Colorado lead to 3-0. The closest Dallas came was a partial breakaway by Denis Gurianov, but Colorado’s backup netminder in his NHL postseason debut, Pavel Francouz, was equal to the task.

Penalties struck again to start the final period. Old friend Valeri Nichushkin set an effective screen and teammate Andre Burakovsky went bar-down to extend the Avalanche lead to 4-0. Once again, Dallas’ best chance came in the form of a partial breakaway, but once again Francouz came up with a save on Corey Perry’s goal-bound effort. The final score was 4-0. Dallas were unable to answer any of the goals in the game tonight, and now have allowed eight unanswered goals since their 3-1 lead over Vegas on Monday.

Dallas was outshot (40-27), and unable to solve the question of Francouz in net throughout 60 minutes of play. The Stars were on the losing end of the special teams battle (5-2), and generally struggled to match the speedy Avalanche. Dallas will have four days to reflect and hopefully work on tactics in practice before closing their preliminary round on Sunday, August 9, against the St. Louis Blues. A victory there could see them slide into the third seed while a loss would leave Dallas exactly where they started as the Western Conference’s fourth seed.

Start time has yet to be determined for Sunday’s matchup against St. Louis.