The writing is starting to appear on the wall for the Dallas Stars. Losers of three consecutive games and whether it is at home or on the road, they just cannot find ways to win.
This week’s games started with a dominating performance at home against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Five goals by five different Stars players put this game away in the first period as the Stars won 6-3. At the time it was their second consecutive win and put them a game out of a wild card spot. You thought maybe this could be the start of their big run of wins that they desperately needed. But it was not to be.
Thursday the Winnipeg Jets came into town in the same position as the Stars. Previously at 24-25-4, the Jets had their own headache to deal with this season. Yet like the Stars, the Jets found themselves close to a playoff position. The first period played out like two evenly matched teams. A pair of goals by each team kept things level heading into the second period. A couple soft by the Jets (including a turnover from goaltender Kari Lehtonen behind his net) led the Jets to their third win against the Stars this season.
Things did not get easier when the Chicago Blackhawks came into town on Saturday. The Stars opened the scoring just eight seconds into the second period on a tight angle shot by Radek Faksa (Stars thankful to have him back in the lineup). Six minutes later the Blackhawks answered back and started the back-and-forth action. The scoring leaders on this team, Benn and Seguin, scored back to back goals early in the third period. But three consecutive goals by the Blackhawks dropped the Stars, 5-3.
Tuesday was the start of five out of six games on the road. The Stars worked hard, but could not ways to score against the same Maple Leafs team they scored six against a week ago. The Leafs scored a goal in each period and never gave up the lead, winning 3-1.
The three-straight losses dropped the Stars to 21-21-10 with 52 points and seven points from a wild card spot. They now sit as one of the dreaded bottom three teams in the conference and might have a change of heart come trade season. As the trade deadline approaches (deadline day February 28), the Stars are heading in the direction of sellers. Though if the opportunity for a Marc Andre Fleury or Ben Bishop arises, the Stars have to seriously look into it. The goaltending is a major concern for the Stars. The two goaltender system did not prompt either Kari Lehtonen or Antti Niemi to model consistent play between the pipes. Stars general manager Jim Nill will fix this problem before next season. And the time could be now.
It feels like just about every week the Stars have to address players’ injuries. Jason Spezza left Thursday’s game against the Jets after receiving a hit in the third period. The Stars are calling it an upper body injury. Lindy Ruff did not give a timetable but believes the Stars will be without one of their best forwards for a while.
“He’s going to miss some time,” Ruff said. “It’s probably more than days so until I can find out more, I’ll give it to you then.”
Upcoming Schedule – All Times Central
2/9 at Senators 6:30 p.m.
2/11 vs Hurricanes 1:00 p.m.
2/12 at Predators 5:00 p.m.
2/14 at Jets 7:00 p.m.