By Martin Iheke
After winning six out of their last seven games (all six wins on the road), your Dallas Stars find themselves in a little bit of a funk. They have lost their last two games and are falling further back from playoff contention in a highly competitive Western Conference. The Stars returned home to face the New York Rangers last Thursday and despite outplaying the Rangers for most of the game, they could not cash in on some brilliant scoring chances as they lost, 3-2. Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist was terrific and showed everyone why he is one of the best goalies in the league. He stopped 41 of 43 shots earning him the first star of the game.
Defensemen Stephane Robidas, who was the second star, talked about his team’s performance after the game and how they need to be better at home. “We had a good start with a lot of shots but in the end with the score tied at 1 going into the third period, they’re the ones that took over the game,” Robidas said. “If you look at the shots and the scoring chances they had in the third, it’s not acceptable. That’s not how we want to play especially in our barn,” as he continued. The Stars record at home is a very average at 3-3-2. That is not good enough for a team like the Stars that wants to make the playoffs. You cannot let teams feel comfortable playing in your house. This is something they have struggled with over the last few seasons. I know the arena is not as full as it can be to where it can make an impact, but when you have not made the playoffs in over five years in a winners’ town like Dallas, it is hard to fill up the place. You have got to start taking care of business at home.
Since the Stars seem to have better luck on the road, then it could not come at a better time as they would head right back on the road to take on the St. Louis Blues. Unfortunately, their road success of winning six straight games would come to a screeching halt as they were blasted by Blues, 6-1. After defensemen Brenden Dillon tied the game at one a piece, the Blues just took over by scoring five unanswered goals. Goaltender Brian Elliot was terrific stopping 34 of 35 shots. Forward T.J. Oshie had a goal and an assist to lead the Blues. Meanwhile, goalie Kari Lehtonen had his worst game of the season only stopping 13 of 18 shots before being pulled in the third period. “”I felt I had a bad night,” Lehtonen said according to NHL.com.”They stayed patient and got a couple of opportunities and scored. There’s going to be a bad game at some point and it came tonight. I just have to forget about this one,” as he continued. We know Lehtonen will because he does not let one bad game continue into the next.
Now the Stars must shake off this two-game skid before it grows and puts them into a deeper hole. They have home games coming up against the Anaheim Ducks, the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks and the Edmonton Oilers. They have not played a lot of home games to start the season, but they are going to play five of their next seven games at home. A very important stretch coming up that the Stars need to take advantage of.
11/26 vs Ducks 7:00 PM
11/29 vs Blackhawks 7:30 PM
12/1 vs Oilers 5:00 PM