Feb 19, 2012; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen (32) stops a shot by Nashville Predators left wing Colin Wilson (33) during the first period at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-US PRESSWIRE

Game Reaction: Predators Top The Stars 3-2

What Happened:

The Stars wasted no time tonight in making a difference early and taking a quick lead. Michael Ryder continued to pile up goals, scoring his 23rd of the year 6:49 into the game. An encouraging start to the feared back to back, but it was not to last. Gabriel Bourque tipped a pass in front just right to sneak the puck past Kari Lehtonen, tying the game at 1-1 with less than five minutes to go in the first period. Philip Larsen took a minor penalty with less than a minute to go, and it seemed the Stars were going to take the penalty into the second period, but Shea Weber‘s slap shot crossed the goal line with 0.01 left on the clock. A dagger that the Stars would never recover from. The Predators kept the momentum throughout the second period, and added a tally from Colin Wilson with less than four minutes left to give the Predators a commanding 3-1 lead that would hold up into the third period. Dallas played hard all period, but Alex Goligoski‘s goal with 4:49 to play was too little to late. The extra man rush and power play thanks to a Hal Gill penalty could not come through and the Stars dropped a 3-2 decision.

What It Means:

Plain and simple, the Stars cannot keep affording to be a roller coaster team. No back to back wins since the All-Star break? Inexcusable. The Stars are not playing like a playoff team and if they keep this “win one lose one” status quo, then they won’t be one. Tough decisions are going to have to be made before the trade deadline, because this is not a team built to be successful in the playoffs. There is a curious sense of nostalgia when you take a look back at the beginning of the season, when the Stars began 11-3, and looked lethal night in and night out. What happened? Is it the grind of the season? Did teams just learn how to play against the Stars? Is the loss of captain Brenden Morrow that huge? Ultimately it does not matter, because whatever has happened, the Stars have failed to adapt and it shows every single night.

What’s Next:

The Stars will board a plane for Montreal tomorrow in preparation for their match up Tuesday night. The Canadiens are one of the bottom teams in the Eastern Conference and are considered sellers this year. The franchise is in a period of disarray and if there is a moment to take advantage of a bad team and grab two points, tomorrow would be the moment for the Dallas Stars. The game is scheduled for a 6:30pm start. Kari Lehtonen is expected to start in net as the Stars seemingly plan to ride their starter all the way to the trade deadline. Tune in on FS-SW or listen on 1310am the Ticket


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Tags: Alex Goligoski Hal Gill\ Loui Eriksson Michael Ryder Mike Ribeiro Ryan Suter Shea Weber

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