Defense and Goaltending Plaguing the Stars

The play of Anders Lindback in goal needs improvement for the Dallas Stars. Photo Courtesy: Dominic Ceraldi
The play of Anders Lindback in goal needs improvement for the Dallas Stars. Photo Courtesy: Dominic Ceraldi

By Martin Iheke

Despite another good week for your Dallas Stars, they have some issues that need to be taken care of. Right now, those issues appear to be defense and backup goaltending. Last Tuesday evening, the Stars took on the Vancouver Canucks at home looking to secure their first home win of the season. They quickly jumped to a 5-0 lead early in the 2nd period knocking Canucks starting goalie Ryan Miller out of the game. It would look like the Stars were going to sail to a victory but that really was not the case. The Canucks would score three of the next four goals in the game. Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen would have to make a lot of key saves to keep the game from getting closer than it would have. The Canucks had 46 shots in a 6-3 win for the Stars. After the game, Stars head coach Lindy Ruff was not too thrilled about the performance overall despite the win. “I thought, defensively, we really struggled,” Ruff said. “I thought our defense had a tough time down low. We made some poor decisions that led to some pretty big chances,” as he continued.

When you give up 46 shots in a game, that is not good. The forwards need to do a better job in supporting the defensemen when trying to get the puck out of their own zone. When opposing teams are aggressive with their forecheck, the Stars defensemen tend to struggle with getting the puck out. This is where the forwards should help out. Right now, a couple of their defensemen have not had a lot of playing time in the NHL so this could also be a factor. Regardless, Ruff believes that with a few tweaks this team can get back to playing defense the way they did toward the end of last season. After a couple of days off, the Stars traveled to New Jersey to take on the Devils last Friday night. The Stars were much better defensively limiting the Devils to 27 shots in a 3-2 win via the shootout. “That looked a lot like how we played last year,” Ruff said according to “We eliminated a lot of the mistakes. We got pucks out, put some pressure on in the neutral zone. We were a lot more diligent with assignments,” as he continued.

Despite the Devils taking a 1-0 lead in the first period, the Stars did not allow them to control the pace of the game. They were able to push the tempo of the game with their speed and change the point of attack at times to keep the Devils off balance. Also, they did not create as many mistakes on defense like they did in the Canucks game which allowed them to come back and win. Could they follow the win up with another the next night in Long Island against a very-good New York Islanders team? No, as the Islanders won, 7-5. The Stars actually trailed 3-1 in the 2nd period before scoring three unanswered goals in the period to take a 4-3 lead. Unfortunately, Stars backup goalie Anders Lindback could not come up with some big saves despite only facing 28 shots in the game. He played small in the net even though he’s 6-6. In two games, he has given up 10 goals and that so happens to be the ones the Stars have lost in regulation. “I have to be better than that; that’s about it,” Lindback said according to “Those two under the arm are goals I need to have. You can break it down, but in the end I need to make those stops that keep us in the game,” as he continued. The Stars are hoping he can be better than that otherwise they will have to look elsewhere for another backup goalie again.

The Stars will try to bounce back when they take on the St. Louis Blues at home on Tuesday night before enjoying two days off. The Anaheim Ducks will come to town for the first time since knocking the Stars out of the playoffs, last spring, on Halloween night. After that, the Stars will play at the Minnesota Wild the next night.

Upcoming Schedule
10/28   vs Blues    7:30 pm
10/31   vs Ducks   7:30 pm
11/1        @Wild     7:00 pm