Sorry about to the delay folks, I was out and about Saturday for this game. And then yesterday was spent laying down sick and watching a little bit of football when I could stay awake. The Dallas Cowboys winning and getting into the playoffs is great, but it was a rough weekend for the Dallas Stars.
Saturday : Avs 4 – Stars 1
Saturday night the Stars continued their recent road struggles, and their struggles to string together wins. After picking up a 3-1 win Wed. night, the Stars looked like a different team on the road in Denver. Both teams started their back-up goalies, but Peter Budaj played the best I ever remember him playing while Alex Auld got his second start in a row due to Turco having the flu, and Auld looked average. The Stars outshot their conference rivals, making Budaj stop 39 shots, but many it seemed many of the shots came from the outside of the crease and Dallas didn’t get to many rebounds. But when Dallas did get a chance to score, Budaj was there to make some strong saves. Both James Neal and Mike Modano had great chances with an open net, but Neal put his shot too high and Modano whiffed on his chance. Dallas fought back with a nice goal by Steve Ott in the third, but could not get another one and Chris Stewart added a goal to make it 3-1 and an empty netter later to make it 4-1. The frustrating part was when Dallas pulled Auld with about 2 to go in the game and then could not even get a decent chance or push.
After the home win against Columbus made them 6-1-2 at home recently, this loss on the road makes Dallas 1-4-3 in their last 8 on the road. Although the 1 point on the SO/OT games is good, Dallas CAN NOT keep losing the second point. Dallas’s best win streak of the season is 2 games. TWO GAMES?!?!?!? It has to be addressed and addressed soon! Dallas has the talent, even with a young and banged up blue-line, can be a decent playoff team. But the way they are playing is lacking. Lacking consistency, lacking heart, lacking confidence.
Now Dallas has a chance to put some points together. Dallas has three games this week at home. Sure they are against Chicago, Anaheim, and Vancouver. But Dallas could put up 4-5 points over these three games. And they need those points because after this three game home-stretch they travel to play 8 out of 11 on the road. Dallas will hate the month of January, but it evens out with lots of games at home toward the end of the year when they may be trying to push for the playoffs.
Things heading into the Stars vs Blackhawks game:
1. Marty Turco and Brendan Morrow both practiced and should be in Tuesday night’s game after neither played in the Avs game.
2. James Neal apparently did not practice Sunday due to him becoming the newest victim of the flu in the locker room.
3. Richard Durrett of Espn Dallas has reported Crawford is switching some lines again, as the two top lines in practice today were Eriksson-Richards-Lehtinen and Neal-Ribeiro-Ott.
4. No news on Modano, but he could be back at center on that third line.
5. And lastly, as off Saturday, Mark Fistric and Trevor Daley both fully practiced over the weekend and could be back at some point this week.
Chicago visits Dallas 7PM Central time start, broadcast on VS nationally. Chicago comes in as the best team in the West with 55 points, while Dallas has 43 points and is dancing around the bottom of the playoff line each day. Chicago is one of the teams I like besides Dallas because they hate the Red-Wings also, and they are talented and fun to watch. I got to visit Chicago in high school a few years back, and enjoyed the city. Besides great food, fun places and history around the town, sports-wise it was a city where everywhere I went I saw people wearing sports gear and everyone that I talked to about sports was passionate. It seemed like a town with these band-wagon fans like Dallas at times, and more die-hard fans who bleed their teams colors.
Tomorrow’s match-up should be good. I see Dallas glad to be home and coming out playing like we have seen them recently at home. But the Blackhawks are 9-5-2 on the road. Prediction: I see this one going to OT, and sadly I don’t really trust Dallas past regulation. Dallas starts the home-stand with a solid game but takes a L, 4-3 in OT/SO