Saturday night had a familiar feeling of disappointment and disgrace for the Dallas Stars in their loss to the Colorado Avalanche. But, they will have to find a way to turn the defeat into motivation as this interesting 2018-19 season rages on.
“I thought we battled in the third and then pissed it away after that.”
There’s something about the feeling of disappointment that always stings, perhaps like nothing else. Everyone has experienced this feeling at some point, and it never seems to get any easier. There’s rage, pain, and even a flicker of disgrace involved.
The Stars took on a full dosage of this feeling on Saturday night in Denver. Going up against the Avalanche in their first meeting of the season, Dallas was looking to bounce back and pick up an important division win.
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And for 57 minutes, it looked like they were well prepared to do it. After falling into a 1-0 hole midway through the second period in a tightly-contested game, the Stars clawed back in the third period. They put on a furious assault in the early part of the final frame, pushing the Avalanche back in a furious attempt to tie the game. Midway through the period, they finally achieved their goal when Radek Faksa potted a goal on the rebound.
The Stars didn’t stop there, either. Just 3:31 later in the period, Jamie Benn scored on a feed from Tyler Seguin to take the 2-1 lead with only 4:57 remaining in the game.
The stage was set. Dallas was approaching their first win of the season on the second night of a back-to-back, a big win on the ever-challenging road, and an important two points against the Central division.
It’s a game that no team should or really can lose. Regardless of how they are composed or how strong they are, blowing a lead in the final five minutes and not at least salvaging one point is unacceptable. That’s what is stinging the Dallas Stars, who now sit at 12-10-2 on the season, right now.
Perhaps what’s even more frustrating than how they lost was what they lost. Dallas lost a chance at winning the second game of a back-to-back for the first time this year (they are now 0-4-0 in those games this season). It could have served as a motivational factor with their next back-to-back chance coming on Wednesday night.
It was also a chance at beating a divisional foe on the road. The Stars are now 1-2-0 against the Central this year and have a heavy dose of divisional competition on tap over the next two months. The loss to Colorado took away a chance at building a momentum in the division and gaining ground on the team right in front of them in the standings.
And finally, it was a chance to salvage one of their worst weeks so far this season with two wins in a row. In a rare five-game week, the Dallas Stars posted a 2-3-0 record. In their two wins, they scored 12 total goals. But in their three losses, they averaged 1.33 goals per game. Their inconsistencies took center stage throughout the week and showed that this team still has a ways to go in getting where they want and need to be. Key players recovering from injuries will help, but there has to be more consistency.
That’s where a game like this can come into play. Though it’s painful to walk away without a single point after practically having the game in hand, this is where motivation must come into play.
Whenever you lose in this fashion to a divisional rival on the road, it leaves a sour taste in the mouth; it also leaves a fire in the belly. You could tell from the postgame interviews that various Dallas players felt these emotions.
It leaves a lot to be desired, and those feelings must be corralled and used at the earliest possible moment: their next game.
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The Dallas Stars will finish up yet another November road trip with the annual swing through western Canada. They take on the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday night, follow it up with a game against Calgary on Wednesday, and close out the trip in Vancouver on Saturday.
That’s three chances to improve a subpar road record, win conference games against teams in the playoff race, and build some momentum before returning home.
These games sting; there’s no other way around it. But not only do the Stars have to learn to use them to their advantage, but they also must figure out how to win them. Otherwise, we’ll be talking about more grief as the season goes along.
The Dallas Stars took a painful shot of familiarity and humility on Saturday night. They didn’t get the job done when all the pieces were there for them to do so. But, that’s where the lessons come in, spanning from the players to the coaching staff.
It’s a learning process for this 2018-19 Stars squad. Let’s see where this loss pushes them.