By Martin Iheke
It was a rough week for your Dallas Stars as they try to stay afloat in the playoff race. Having already lost two in a row, the Stars could not afford to have this losing skid grow. Unfortunately if they were going to snap it, they would have to do it against one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference against the Pittsburgh Penguins last Tuesday night. It was simply the Sidney Crosby show for the Penguins as he had two goals and an assist in a 5-1 thrashing of the Stars. The Stars did tie it in the middle of the first period on forward Tyler Seguin’s goal, but it was too much Crosby and the first line of the Penguins.
“I didn’t think we had that many quality shots on net,” Seguin said according to NHL.com. “It seemed like when we had a chance to take the momentum, we actually missed the net most of the time. So we had our chances. I thought there were times in the game where we were skating and competing well, but it wasn’t for the full three periods tonight,” as he continued.
The losing skid extended to three games as the Stars try to hold on to the last playoff spot in the West. It did not get any easier as they traveled to play at a hot Philadelphia Flyers team last Thursday looking to get back on track. Head coach Lindy Ruff decided to go with backup goalie Tim Thomas primarily because he has had a lot more success against the Flyers than goalie Kari Lehtonen who has never beaten them in his career. The Stars played a better game overall, but again it was not enough as they lost, 4-2. Captain Jamie Benn had a strong game, scoring both goals for the Stars, but at the end of the day it is about wins and losses this time of the year.
“I think we can take a lot of good things out of this game,” Benn said according to NHL.com. “We would probably prefer a better start, obviously. To tie it or better out of the first would have been nice, but I thought we fought pretty hard in the second and third,” as he continued.
It is now four in a row in the loss column for the Stars as they fall four points back of the Phoenix Coyotes for the last playoff spot.
The Stars returned home last Saturday afternoon to play the Ottawa Senators desperately needing a win. After the first period with the Senators leading, 1-0, it did not look like a win would come. Then late in the 2nd period forward Cody Eakin would score to tie the game up at one a piece. In the third period, the Stars completely took over the game getting back to what they do best by pushing the tempo with their speed. Defenseman Trevor Daley and Jamie Benn scored the goals for the Stars in the final period to win, 3-1, snapping a four-game losing streak.
“This time of the year everyone is important,” Daley said. “We put ourselves a little bit behind the eight ball and tonight put some smiles back on our faces so it was pretty good,” as he continued.
The win combined with the Coyotes losing at home in regulation to the Boston Bruins last Saturday night moved the Stars back to within two points with a game in hand. The Stars will look to make it two in a row when they host the Winnipeg Jets on Monday night before traveling to play the Chicago Blackhawks the next night. They will enjoy two days off before hosting the Nashville Predators on Friday night before getting back out on the road again to play the St. Louis Blues on Saturday night.
3/24 vs Jets 7:30 PM
3/25 @Blackhawks 7:00 PM
3/28 vs Predators 7:30 PM
3/29 @Blues 7:00 PM