The Dallas Stars rolled into the Xcel Energy Center with last season’s finale fresh on the veteran’s minds. The Stars allowed the Wild to score five goals, just as they did back in April of 2011. Also, like last season finale, the Stars’ scorers failed to get pucks past the Minnesota netminder, losing this time by a score of 5-2.
Dallas took a 1-0 lead when former Wild, Eric Nystrom charged in front of the net and tipped in a Stephane Robidas bid from the blue line. The seemingly inspired Stars enjoyed the lead until half way through the second period when Devin Setoguchi trickled a shot over Kari Lehtonen’s left shoulder, just under the crossbar. Two minutes later, Stars defenseman, Philip Larsen scored his first NHL goal, as he sent a seeing-eye puck past Josh Harding through a screen of Adam Burish and two Wild players. Then, Hockey Day became Hockey Night as the home team exploded for three goals in 61 seconds. Cal Clutterbuck, Chad Rau and Kyle Brodziak ultimately ended the Stars bid to end their four-game losing streak and the night of Lehtonen. Dany Heatly, who just seemed destined to score, welcomed Stars back-up goaltender, Richard Bachman just two minutes into the third period. From there, the Stars appeared like all they wanted to do was to leave the Twin Cities without incurring any additional injuries.
What It Means:
It’s becoming more evident that though no one associated with the organization will refer to this season as a “rebuilding year,” Dallas has quite a ways to go before they make their way back into the top eight. One point out of a possible ten is an enormous hole to climb out of in the ever-so competitive Western Conference, let alone making a run at the divisional crown. Dallas now finds themselves in eleventh place in the West, as the suddenly hot Calgary Flames jumped over the Stars with a win tonight. However, despite the need to put things in perspective with a very young team with a first time head coach, Dallas is only three points out of the eighth spot (held by Minnesota), and seven out of the divisional lead, held by the San Jose Sharks.
What Is Next:
One last brutal game before a much needed All-Star break with the Anaheim Ducks. Don’t look now, but Anaheim has strung together four wins in a row, and are only nine points behind Dallas. If claiming that pretty much everyone on the team was tradable could have that effect for the Ducks, perhaps Stars owner, Tom Gaglardi should threaten to move the Stars out of Dallas (no, there is ZERO chance the Stars move).