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Thursday, December 17, 2009
A frustrating team to watch

By Richard Durrett


We're 33 games into the Stars season and there's one common thread to the season: Inconsistency.


That was on display once again Wednesday in Raleigh, N.C. The Stars, after playing well aginst quality opponents like San Jose and Los Angeles on the road last week, couldn't beat the only team to still not get to double-digits wins yet this season.


Still, I was surprised the Stars fell behind and never recovered in a 5-3 loss to the Hurricanes. Maybe I'm the one that's crazy. I just figured with a few days off and a chance to practice at home, the Stars would come out and take advantage of playing the team at the bottom of the league standings. If form holds, the Stars will come out and crush Atlanta tonight.


The truth is the Western Conference is bunched up -- the Stars are nine points behind top-seed LA, yet are 10th in the conference -- because so many teams are inconsistent. The teams that can get on a run and win six or seven can dramatically change their playoff chances.


Are the Stars capable of that? I just don't know. This team still needs another top-four defenseman and a little more consistency from its goalies. But it's tough to blame every loss on the goalies when it's clear the team isn't playing the type of defense needed in front of him. Coach Marc Crawford was upset with his centers last night, saying they didn't track back to help defensively.


And nothing can slow momentum like not killing off early penalties. Of course, taking three penalties in the first period isn't smart, either. That's what happened Wednesday.


Look for a better Stars effort tonight. But I don't know what to expect Saturday against Detroit. That's just how the season has gone so far.