And So It Ends

The Stars finally lost a game.

The Tampa Bay Lightning, also on a roll before losing 6-0 in their game before last night, came out with a vengeance. The Stars came out cocky and sleepy.

Honestly, the final score of 5-4 Tampa has almost no indication of what a terrible game Dallas played. The Stars didn't really come out ready to play until the final 5 minutes. They only managed 4 goals because Mike Smith, who only faced 19 shots altogether, and saved 15, was so off rhythm that his normal level of play faltered. The game could have easily been closer to 8-2 if not for Kari Lehtonen's 39 saves for Dallas.

However, Marc Crawford best summed up the reason for Dallas' loss in a post game interview:
"We couldn't kill a penalty to save our lives."

Darn right, Marc. The Stars' PK has been off since the start of the season, but it really became a factor tonight as the Bolts scored 4 of their 5 goals on the PP, including one just seconds after Toby Petersen opened the scoring with a shorthanded goal. The Stars took a lot of penalties in that game and also failed to score on any of their own power-plays.

Overall, the Stars' defensive game sucks. A weak top 6 lacks a true number one d-man, while the forward corps lacks a solid penalty killing center that doesn't get much of a load offensively.

Offensively, the Stars were mostly invisible. For much of the game, only Brandon Segal and Stephane Robidas had more than one shot. Adam Burish's first goal as a Star came off a flubbed play by the Bolts and a smart pass by Ribeiro. Toby Petersen's shorthanded goal was mostly a one-man effort, Brenden Morrow's goal was a fluke, and the one truly good goal, James Neal from Brad Richards, came with only a minute left in the game.

Weird stat of the game: Only Brian Sutherby was a minus for Dallas, while only Teddy Purcell was a plus player for Tampa (several on each team were even).

Fortunately, despite this poor game (and a poor start for the PK), the Stars have still managed to come out with a 4-1-0 record so far, and Thursday's game against Florida offers the opportunity for another win with the Panthers off to a bad start. Follow the @FreshFromTheIce Twitter feed for live game updates and constant thoughts on the NHL!

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