Vancouver 3, Dallas 1
Dallas takes a home loss 3-1 to the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday. Before the game the Dallas Stars had been winners of three in row at home and had 5 goals in each of their wins this week at home against the Blackhawks and Ducks. But they met someone Saturday afternoon that has given then problems before. Roberto Luongo held Dallas to only 1 goal with some great play in net, a goal by Brendan Morrow called back because it went off a skate, and a couple of just plain luck saves. Again Luongo was great and showed why he is one of the top 5 goalies in the league. He stops 31 shots from the Stars and was the main reason Vancouver leaves Dallas with a win.
Vancouver decided to just shut it down and play D after taking a 2-1 lead, and some how it worked. The Canucks defense kept turning the puck over as the game went on, but Dallas could never get another goal past Luongo. Overall the effort for the Stars was pretty good as they showed up, played physical, and only allowed two goals as the third came as an empty-net goal in the final seconds. That effort will wins games more often then not for Dallas in the NHL, but not Saturday and not against this goaltender.
As I sit here and watch the Cowboys game against the Eagles (Go ‘Boys!), I can’t help but look forward to this next stretch for the Stars. Dallas now heads back out on the road after playing good at home recently, which could be big if Dallas wants to continue to try and creep back up in the West. Dallas is 1-2-3 with 5 points in their last 6 road games and now heads out for 5 out of 6 on the road. First up is a visit to the East leading New Jersey Devils, who Dallas beat at home 5-3 earlier this season, and the following night a trip into New York to play the Rangers who are only 8-10-3 at home.
While NJ has been playing amazing this year and could be the first to 30 wins with a win against Dallas, Dallas has at time stepped up from their inconsistency to play great against the leagues best. So far this year against NJ, Chicago, and San Jose (three of the NHL’s top teams), Dallas is 5-1 with 2 Shootout wins vs SJ. Dallas has at many times this year played up against top teams, and played down against some of the lower teams. While that could be good against the Devils, the next two are at NYR and at home vs the NY Islanders, two teams closer to the bottom. If Dallas can pick up 4-5 points this week it can be big for Dallas to continue gaining confidence and momentum as they are finally starting to look as though the team is coming together. Dallas for the most part is healthy, top offensive guys like Eriksson, Richards, Neal and Ribeiro (who I haven’t liked at times this year) are clicking and if Turco can start stringing consistent efforts together this team will be in good shape.