You know things are in a bad way when the head coach is dumfounded about his team’s play.
“I don’t know what to say,” said Dallas Stars head coach Ken Hitchcock after 5-2 loss to the Sharks. “When you don’t check and you don’t want to check against a good team, you get buried.”
“It’s on me. I can’t, right now I am having a difficult job getting them to dig in, in that avenue [checking]. I have to figure out a different way to do it.
The comments come after the Stars put up another stinker on the ice against the San Jose Sharks on Sunday. The 5-2 loss was the second time in three games the Stars have allowed five or more goals.
But it has been more than those two games. The Stars have not played well in their last four games. Offense is struggling to score and defense is playing timid.
Fortunately goaltending has rescued two wins in that span to keep pace in conference. The Stars still hold the third spot in the Central. But continue to play the way they have, and the position in the division could be gone.
Opportunities are not lacking for the Dallas Stars.
The week began with a second chance to move up in the Central. The Blues came into town on Friday just two points clear of the Stars in that third Central position.
The Stars relied heavily on Ben Bishop in this one. St. Louis had most of the offensive possession on the night. But Bishop kept the Blues in check saving 28 shots and allowing just one goal.
Despite limited offensive chances, the Stars produced enough goals to support Bishop’s hard work. Mattias Janmark got his 16th goal on the power play in the second period. Stephen Johns made it 2-0 on a slap shot from the boards in the third. That would be the difference in the game as the Blues picked up one late. Stars win 2-1.
In San Jose on Sunday, as Hitch said, “It was over in the first period.” Starting early (and often), Sharks’ Joe Pavelski scored on a giveaway in front of the net just 27 seconds into the game. Three goals later, the Stars were down 4-0 at the end of the first period.
It was the same type of play we had seen before. Turnovers, not using the body and poor puck possession resulted in another blow out loss in the conference. Stars lose to Sharks, 5-2.
Upcoming Schedule – All Times Central
2/21 @ Ducks 10:00 p.m.
2/22 @ Kings 10:30 p.m.
2/24 vs Jets 7:00 p.m.