The undefeated streak ended tonight, and the Stars were lucky the final score did not look far worse. The Dallas Stars once again gave up far more shots against then they took, and the Tampa Bay Lightning took advantage of the chances and a horrible night killing penalties. The two trends that were not good for the Stars early on in the season both hit low points tonight, and were huge reasons why Dallas did not stay undefeated and go 5-0.
First the Stars were severely out shot, by a final tally of 44 shots for the Lightning and just 19 for the Stars. A 25 shot advantage to one team is extremely huge, and when the shots are that lopsided in a game then there is normally one team that dominates the play. The Stars only lost the game 5-4, but the game was not that close to those that watched the game closely. It is getting scary to see how badly the Stars are getting outshot in every game. So far after the first 5 games, the Stars have been outshot 190 to 109. That is 81 more shots against in 5 games, coming out to over 16 more shots on average. Just goes to show how good Kari Lehtonen has been in games so far this season, even when he has allowed goals, he has faced so many shots and turned away tons of chances.
Something just as noticeable is the Stars lack of shots. Tonight they only put up 19 and at 109 total in 5 games, the Stars are averaging under 22 shots a game. That makes them dead last in the league for shots a game. And wait…dead last in shots allowed per game? Yea this does not look good. For the early wins and offensive numbers in the goal and assist areas, Dallas is not putting a lot of shots on net. Not a lot on net, and a lot going towards your own net is not a good formula in the long-run.
A big factor in the Stars surprising shots and shots against numbers is the play in the special teams areas. The Stars went 0-5 on the powerplay tonight and after being an above average PP team last year and looking good in the preseason, Dallas has only gone 2 for 20 so far in the season. Sure it is early on, but when an opponent is letting you stay around in a game and gives you 5 PPs then you would hope to score on 1 or 2 of those chances.
An even bigger issue is the continued struggles on the PK. The Stars were only able to kill off one of the five penalties that they committed, bringing their PK numbers to a shocking 6 out of 14 killed on the road and only killing off 15 of 25 total. For those who do not closely follow PK percentages, a great one is over 90% killed. Even the bad ones in the league are in the low 80s. Right now the Stars have only killed off 60% and are below 50% on the road. No matter how good the Stars have been at scoring goals so far in the season, if you are giving up that many PP goals to the other team, you will be constantly shooting yourself in the foot. Besides the fact that the Stars need to cut out some bad penalties, the team should still not have to play in fear of getting a penalty. It keeps you from playing physical and getting scrappy at the times when it is needed. Something has to be done soon or even great goaltending will be able to keep the Stars in every game.