By Martin Iheke
Consistency is something the Dallas Stars need to achieve if they want to break their four-year playoff drought. After a terrific 4-1 win in Edmonton against the Oilers last Tuesday, they followed that up with a dreadful loss against the Flames, 7-4, in Calgary the next night. They were down 3-0 in the first period before they even realized what was up. They bounced back with a thrilling come-from-behind win at the Vancouver Canucks, 4-3, after losing their starting goalie, Kari Lehtonen, last Friday and then they turned around and blew a 3-1 lead at home against the Flames to lose, 4-3. It is sort of a troubling trend for a young and upcoming team but for the most part not at all surprising.
There are too many instances where they have trouble defending in their own zone and end up turning the puck over as well as their inability to score consistency on the power play. These are areas that have to get better for the Stars to be a viable playoff contender. Another problem is the dreaded second night of back-to-back. For whatever reason, the Stars do not look like the same team when they play on the end of a back-to-back. They are 1-15-2 in their last eighteen games in this scenario and are 0-4-0 on the season thus far. Head Coach Glen Gulutzan cannot seem to find an answer. “It must be something. It must be something with this group, because we can’t seem to fight our way out of it,” Gulutzan said according dallasnews.com. “We’ve tried different routines and the whole bit…it must be mental,” as he continued. Stars captain Brenden Morrow knows that it is a problem that needs to be dealt with. “It’s a problem,’’ Morrow said according to dallasnews.com. “We talk about it every game, about making changes, about superstitions we might have. It’s something we have to fix,’’ as he continued.
At this point, it has gotten to be a mental thing. They have five more of these the rest of the season with the next one at the Columbus Blue Jackets, next Tuesday. The Stars would like it if they can break the jinx against them but with their up and down play as of late, it is not certain. They are also going to have to find a way to win without their starting goalie. Lehtonen was put on injured reserve Sunday due to a lower body injury. They did not on Sunday falling to the Flames after having the lead, 3-1 after two periods. They needed their backup goalie Richard Bachman to step up and he could not. “I didn’t see the initial shot,” Bachman said describing the goal-ahead goal he gave up in the third period according to dallasnews.com. “There were a lot of bodies in front, it kind of bounced around and kicked out to my right, and as soon as I saw that, the first instinct’s to get the pad down, try and seal the ice. He kind of spun around and he got a little elevation on it,” as he continued.
The good news is the Stars do not play again until tomorrow night at home against the Canucks. With three days off, the Stars will get a chance to correct some things especially on the defensive side. They are hoping Lethonen will be able to return on Saturday at home against the San Jose Sharks. Until then, they will have to go with either Bachman or their other backup Cristopher Nilstorp for the upcoming game against the Canucks. After they finish up their homestand against the Canucks and Sharks, they will play at the Nashville Predators on Monday and at the Columbus Blue Jackets the next night.