What Happened: The Dallas Stars looked to end their four-game roadtrip with a better effort tonight after having a bad evening last night in Pittsburgh, but had an even less inspiring effort tonight. While the evening again started with the Stars scoring first, Loui Eriksson picked up his 9th of the year on the powerplay, but after that the night belonged to the Detroit Red Wings. The Stars almost had a repeat effort from last night. They were outshot, took some penalties at bad times, and spent way too much time in their own zone. The Stars knew the Red Wings would be a difficult opponent, but the home team jumped all over the Stars tonight. Surprisingly with all the goals against Dallas did not give up a powerplay goal against, but the Red Wings used their PP to apply pressure and a couple of times take away any momentum the Stars had. The Red Wings top lines produced and got shots through from the points, and in the end the Stars and Andrew Raycroft were left running around in circles at times right around their own net. Johan Franzen had big third period with two points and netted the goal that made it 3-2 early in period. Detroit got traffic and pucks to the net and the Stars didn’t have an answer for it tonight.
What It Means: The Stars now will return home after splitting the roadtrip at 2-2. Dallas started the trip off with two excellent wins in Carolina and Pittsburgh, both by a score of 5-2, and started to get some national recognition for their hot start. But the team and their fans might have fallen back to earth with two L’s in two nights against of the other top teams in the NHL. While Pittsburgh and Detroit are strong teams and should be playoff contenders, the Stars efforts in both games are what worries me. They were again severely outshot in both games and looked like the Stars team from last season on the road. While the long trip and a couple of injuries are noticeable contributors to the rough two nights, the Stars can not place blame on those factors. While they were a little more disciplined (only 4 penalties tonight), they still gave the opponent more chances (Detroit only took two calls, but should have had at least two more) and were not what you would call “disciplined” tonight. They will now have a couple of days off and with a rested Kari Lehtonen and home ice Tuesday, we will hopefully see a return to the Stars we witnessed for most of the opening 14 games. With a couple of days off here and two more in-between games after their next one, the team should have a few days to work some kinks out and address their issues.
What’s Next: Dallas will now return home to play the Florida Panthers on Tuesday night. After this one home game, the Stars will play the Avs on the road before then having four straight at home.