After an energetic start to the season Friday night the Dallas Stars fell a little flat in Chicago Saturday night. And the Chicago Blackhawks took advantage, defeating the Stars 5-2 to earn a split in the season opening home-and-home series between the two teams.
"One of the most disappointing things is when you get outworked and I felt we were outworked a little bit,” said Stars coach Glen Gulutzan. “We started good, they got that power play goal and after that I thought we should have had a little more dig in. We didn't get it until the third and by that time it's too late against a real good team."
The Stars were outshot 10-2 in the first period and 15-7 in the second and were down 3-1 after the first 40 minutes of the game.
“You always know you are going to have to weather a storm in this building, let alone home opener,” said Stars goaltender Andrew Raycroft, who stopped 26 of 30 shots. “In saying that, they had the same travel we did. It’s not an excuse. We have to come out with a little more and keep working and playing our game a little better. We just kind of got off our page a little bit. That’s the frustrating thing.”
Chicago took a 1-0 lead 8:06 into the game when Andrew Brunette put the rebound of a Patrick Sharp past Raycroft. A couple minutes later the Stars finally got their first shot on goal in the game when Steve Ott got off a good chance that was turned away by Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford.
The Blackhawks made it a 2-0 game at 7:39 of the second period when Dave Bolland beat Raycroft with a long shot from along the left boards.
“You come into these home openers and these are tough games to play. That second goal stung, but I think it was deflected there,” said Gulutzan. “Early on we weren’t good enough to win for him, so that’s just the way it was.”
Less than four minutes later, after the Stars missed on a power play chance, Chicago captain Jonathan Toews came out of the penalty box, took a long pass from Brent Seabrook and scored on a breakaway to make it a 3-0 game.
Vernon Fiddler finished off a given-and-go with Adam Burish late in the second to cut Chicago’s lead to 3-1, but Sharp scored on a two-on-one to make it a 4-1 game. Steve Ott scored on a power play midway through the third, but the Stars couldn’t get any closer and Bolland’s empty net goal late in the third rounded out the scoring and the left the Stars 1-1-0 after the first two games of the season.
"There are five things that are in my mind. I can tell you what happened on four of the goals. Those things we can clean up. It's four distinct things we can clean up,” said Gulutzan. “The fifth thing is we've got to put more pucks on net. We're trying to be too fancy, especially with our third and fourth lines. There's not many 50 goal guys there, so we've got to generate offense by putting pucks on net."
*Adam Burish returned to the lineup after missing the season opener with a groin injury.