By Martin Iheke
Another up and down week for your Dallas Stars and I feel like a broken record saying that for most of the shortened season so far. I will start with the good after enjoying three days off last week, the Stars played the Minnesota Wild again last Friday night and looking for revenge after losing a tough one to the same team last Monday. The Stars quickly jumped to a 2-0 lead in the first period thanks to goals scored by Ray Whitney and Tomas Vincour. The Wild came back to tie the game at two a piece before the Stars pulled away in the third period scoring three goals on their way to a 5-3 win in front of a packed house at the American Airlines Center.
Jaromir Jagr recorded his 1,000th career assist in the third period setting up a power play goal by Jamie Benn that put the Stars up, 4-2, at that time. He became the 12th player in NHL history to reach 1,000 assists. First, he talked about the Stars getting the big win after the game. “I thought we had a good start. We had a lot of chances and we couldn’t score. It almost cost us because from our mistakes, they scored two goals,” Jagr said. The goal in the third period was huge by Cole and since then we had our chances,” as he continued. Next, he talks about the milestone he reached in the third period. “I never thought about any assist and points. I was happy to be able to play here,” Jagr said. “When I came here, I didn’t think I had the chance play here in my first year. The league was too strong and too tough for me, but I kept working hard and had so many great players around me that they showed me how to get better so I was pretty lucky. I always say you have to be lucky on who you’re playing with and I had a chance to play with so many great players,” as he continued. The win snapped the Wild’s seven-game winning streak and put the Stars one point back of the 8th and final spot for the playoffs.
Now to the bad as the Stars lost a tough one at home to the Los Angeles Kings, 3-2. The score really was not as close as the game went. The Kings dominated the game by outshooting the Stars, 40-15, and killing them on face-offs, 31-17, thanks to a constant heavy fore-check, strong puck possession and being solid in their own end. Head coach Glen Gulutzan was not pleased with the performance after the game. “There were two teams from two different leagues tonight and they were on a back-to-back so thank the Lord that they weren’t fresh,” Gulutzan said. “We need to amp up our level here. We’re fighting for our lives and if we think we can stroll in here with performances like that then we’re mistaken. We have a three-game series against Anaheim after an embarrassing outing in front of our own fans so we will come out hard tomorrow if we’ve got any balls,” as he continued. Gulutzan was not holding back. If the Stars want to make the playoffs, performances like Sunday cannot happen again. You would figure that they learned their lesson from that awful performance against the Chicago Blackhawks last month, but so far, they have not and that is a part of what is so frustrating about this team. Lehtonen was the only bright spot in the game for the Stars as he stopped 37 of 40 shots and kept them from getting blown out on the scoreboard.
The Stars play the Anaheim Ducks on Friday before playing at the San Jose Sharks on Sunday. They return home on Tuesday to face the Los Angeles Kings again.