Dallas 1 – Phoenix 4
There are a lot of ways to react to a loss like the one that Dallas had last night: Anger, embarrassment, indignation, pity, sadness but I felt only one thing, apathy. I just couldn’t get angry over how poorly the Stars played in one of the most critical games of the season because that’s what the Stars have become this year. They are a team that, at times, has shown that it just doesn’t care.
This up and down season just continued last night with a bad 4-1 loss to the Phoenix Coyotes, one of the most lopsided victories either team has had in this matchup in recent years (though Phoenix has beaten the Stars by three goals twice this season now). The Yotes didn’t just score four goals, they scored with their third and fourth liners.
Three of Phoenix’s goals came while the third or fourth line was on the ice while the other came from the one guy that Dallas should never leave open, Radim Vrbata. Defensive coverages from the Stars are just a joke. Nick Grossman had another abysmal game as he turned into the human turnstile once again. If it wasn’t for Kari Lehtonen, this game could have ended with Phoenix scoring six or seven goals.
Lehtonen kept Dallas in this game for a long time but just couldn’t cover up for the defensive miscues as it got closer to the end. He had an incredible point blank diving save on Ray Whitney that would have been illegal in 49 states. Michael Ryder had just scored the game tying goal two minutes into the second period as his shot slipped under Mike Smith’s armpit.
The Coyotes tried to answer immediately and Whitney had his chance just 17 seconds later. That save was supposed to provide the momentum that Dallas needed in this game but they just couldn’t get into it. Phoenix would score their second goal later in that period and all the air went out of the building.
The Stars had chances to get back into it with power-plays but those never looked dangerous enough. Dallas did a lot of passing and cycling of the puck but there was no movement from the players. Everyone just stood in the same spot and the puck would go into the same area over and over again as Dallas tried to get a shot and hope for a tip instead of trying to crash towards the net and force the issue. Heck, the players didn’t even rotate spots and made it very easy for Phoenix to defend.
The loss is just made worse because the Minnesota Wild has also lost that night, which meant that whichever team won this game would have found themselves in the eighth spot in the West. Turns out that would not be Dallas. To make matters worse, the Colorado Avalanche also won last night and they vaulted over the Stars as well in the standings.
Dallas makes their return to ice on Thursday when they travel to Columbus to face the lowly Blue Jackets, a team that they have already lost to once this season.
more after the jump
- Only Michael Ryder, Jamie Benn and Adam Burish escaped this game without a negative rating.
- Ryder and Alex Goligoski had six shots on goal. Very few of those were dangerous though.
- Steve Ott was 7 of 8 on face-offs in this game, including 6 of 6 in the offensive zone.
- Mike Ribeiro was 5 of 10 in the game on face-offs, but was 0 of 5 in the offensive zone.
- One of the scratches for Dallas in this game was Mark Fistric, and the Stars obviously missed his physical play in this game.
Game Stats and Scoring Summary:
|Power Plays||0 of 4||0 of 1|
- 4:43 – Keith Yandle (7) Dal 0 – Phx 1
Assists: Kyle Chipchura, Gilbert Brule
- 2:34 – Michael Ryder (19) Dal 1 – Phx 1
Assist: Philip Larsen
- 14:30 – Radim Vrbata (25) Dal 1 – Phx 2
Assists: Rostislav Klesla, Ray Whitney
- 5:41 – Raffi Torres (9) Dal 1 – Phx 3
Assists: Mikkel Boedker, Michal Rozsival
- 16:09 – Derek Morris (1) Dal 1 – Phx 4
Assists: Radim Vrbata, Ray Whitney