The Dallas Stars started there tilt with the Vancouver Canucks encouragingly enough, with multiple scoring chances and jumping out to a quick lead in shots, but the Canucks derailed that quickly. After the flurry of shots (and saves by Corey Schneider), Henrik Sedin found Mason Raymond all alone on the door step for an easy goal and quick 1-0 lead. The rest of the period was marred by fights, scuffles, and general chaos between the two teams. This predictably led to a slowed down pace and the first period ended 1-0 in favor of the Canucks. The second period’s entertainment was brought to you by a rash of penalties and a Mike Ribeiro penalty shot. Unfortunately, for all parties involved, no one converted on anything. Ribeiro’s penalty shot was foiled, and the Canucks couldn’t convert on any of their power plays, including a 5-on-3 opportunity. As fate would have it, the Stars entered the third period still down by a score of 1-0. The Stars needed to bounce back, but it was the Canucks who capitalized, scoring a goal just over four minutes into the final frame, this one from Kevin Bieska. The way the Stars had been playing, this could have been seen as a dagger, but Vernon Fiddler took advantage of a crazy rebound and mistake from Schneider less than three minutes later to cut the lead in half at 2-1. The push continued, and it came down to an empty net for the Stars to get a final shot at tying the game. Despite a late Vancouver penalty, the Stars still couldn’t convert, and dropped the decision 2-1.
What It Means:
The Stars just did not look like they were playing 100% tonight. Another night of frustrating hockey and missed chances and crucial mistakes. Even just one point would have them secured in the third seed, but with a regulation loss, they can find themselves in the pack at the end of the night depending what happens elsewhere. Another point to make is that this game was slow, it felt like every other shift would end in a scrum, slowing down the pace of the game. Just when it felt like the Stars were getting momentum they would take a stupid penalty, or get derailed by the Canucks. Again, it was just frustrating to watch them lose this game. The Fiddler goal was crazy and a fair bit of luck went into it, but the Stars needed to have more decent chances. Gulutzan tried to spread the talent around by moving Eriksson down with Benn and Ott and Morrow up with Ribeiro and Ryder, but it bore no results. On the bright side of things, they didn’t lose to a team they were directly competing with and it’s not some kind of dagger for the reason. The Stars are still very much in the Pacific Division race, and could still be on top if things swing their way tonight.
- Kari Lehtonen earned his second assist of the year.
- Similarly, Eric Nystrom earned just his 5th assist of the year despite being a 16-goal scorer. We know his role.
- If Los Angeles or Phoenix wins tonight, they will move ahead of Dallas for the third seed in the Western Conference and first place in the Pacific Division.
The Stars are next in action versus the Calgary Flames in a Saturday afternoon match up. This game will wrap up the current home stand, and is the last home game until April 3rd. Unlike Vancouver, this Calgary team is in the pack and chasing for a playoff spot. These are the kinds of games the Stars need to win. Pack the AAC and cheer the Stars on as they continue to fight for a spot in the playoffs.