Here are a few thoughts following the Saturday’s 5-2 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks.
*This one was pretty easy to sort out. Through the first 40 minutes Chicago was clearly the better team. They had a 25-9 shots advantage and they had some quality chances. The Stars? Not so many quality chances. It was Chicago’s home opener, it was a sellout at United Center and the energy was definitely trending Chicago’s way.
*Still, you can point to some things on the Chicago goals. Loui Eriksson was looking for a shorthanded chance, but the puck never cleared the zone on the Chicago power play goal that opened the scoring. That Dave Bolland goal from distance early in the second hurt, but it may have deflected off a Star. Jonathan Toews got a breakaway after coming out of the penalty box for the third goal. The fourth goal was a two-on-one after Patrick Sharp slipped an Alex Goligoski hit at the Chicago blue line.
*I thought Andrew Raycroft was all right. He came up with some big saves. He kept the Stars in the game early, but he wasn’t getting a ton of help. I don’t have a problem with starting him in this game. He needed to play one of these first three considering the schedule.
“I thought he made some real good saves early. I don’t know what happened on that long shot. I think maybe it deflected,” said Stars coach Glen Gulutzan. “I thought he was okay, but you come into these home openers and they’re tough games to play. That second goal kind of stung, but I think it deflected. Early on we weren’t good enough to win for him.”
*With the Stars generating little offensively through the first two periods, Gulutzan juggled his lines late in the second. Steve Ott moved up to the second line with Jamie Benn and Loui Eriksson. Adam Burish ended up on a line with Vernon Fiddler and Radek Dvorak. Tomas Vincour moved down to play with Jake Dowell and Tom Wandell. The Burish-Fiddler-Dvorak trio was pretty effective. Overall, the Stars were a lot better in the third period, but it was too little, too late by then.