You want to talk about horrible starts? Let’s talk about horrible starts. The puck dropped for tonight’s tilt against the Chicago Blackhawks, and the Stars were down 1-0 ten seconds later. Ten. TEN! That’s a new franchise record. Dave Bolland brought the puck right up the middle and shot the puck in the general direction of the net, and it went in. That’s not even the worst of it, though. 92 seconds later the Blackhawks scored again. This time from Patrick Sharp, who found a spot through a screened Kari Lehtonen. Yep, two goals in less than two minutes, the first two minutes no less. Fortunately the Stars stopped the bleeding, but the damage was done. The Stars couldn’t bounce back for the rest of the period, and they could not score in the second period either, despite some decent chances down the stretch. The Stars took a 2-0 deficit into the final period, where they had to be thinking a come back was possible. Well, 33 seconds into the frame the Hawks eliminated that thought. Marian Hossa sent a rocket at the net that find it’s way in off of a deflection, and then, as if history was repeating itself, the Hawks put yet another in the net less than a minute later from Patrick Sharp for his second of the night. Jamie Benn added a late tally to break up the shutout bid, cutting the Hawks lead to 4-1, but that’s how the game would end. The Stars disappointed and handed the Hawks a resounding 4-1 victory.
What It Means:
It’s hard to put into writing how disappointing this game was. Not just for me, but for the 19,000+ that showed up tonight for one of the largest crowds in the history of the team. Two bad starts doomed the team, but they showed no life, no ability to bounce back. The crowd was dead (except for the legions of Hawks fans), and who can blame them? They deserved better. The Stars owed them that much. You could see the arena slowly start to disperse, as every goal killed the desire for the fans to continue watching such a disappointing performance. If we have to look at the bright side, it’s that the Stars are still on top of the Pacific, for now, setting up Tuesday’s game against Phoenix to be enormous. The Winnipeg loss was bad enough, another one tonight in Chicago is just killer. The leaders in the room need to step up and get this time back on track, and quickly. The Stars are just a couple games away from being out of a playoff spot. That’s life in the Western Conference. They know that as well as we do. Game notes:
- The attendance tonight was announced as 19,099. That would be the largest crowd in Dallas Stars history if it’s accurate. Unfortunately, the Stars couldn’t give the crowd what they deserved.
- Jamie Benn tied his career in goals (22) and set a new career high in points (57) with his third period goal.
- Adam Pardy was a game high (low?) -3. Not a good showing for the beleaguered defenseman.
The home stand continues in a match up against the Phoenix Coyotes on Tuesday night. This game could decide ownership of the Pacific Division lead. It seems like this every game, but it is the biggest game of the season thus far. The Coyotes were 11-0-1 in the month of February, then collapsed and are finally getting back in their groove. We might be seeing something similar from the Stars, but the Stars can’t afford to lose against teams like Phoenix. The four days off should help the team, they’ll need it.