Saturday, December 3, 2011
Stars' rally falls short this time
By Mark Stepneski
The Dallas Stars staged another comeback Saturday night, but this time it wasn't enough to get them two points as they fell to the New York Islanders 5-4 at American Airlines Center.
The Stars overcame a 3-0 hole by tallying three times in a 2:03 span in the second period and then bounced back from a 4-3 deficit, but Islanders forward Matt Moulson’s fourth goal of the night late in the second period gave the Islanders a 5-4 lead and held up as the game-winner.
“I think there are good things and bad things we can take out of this,” Jake Dowell said. “Obviously, we’re great at coming back. We have a lot of character in the locker room and we never quit. But sometimes it’s like we’re trying to see how many goals we can come back from, and I don’t think that is a good thing to do. It’s not a fun game to play. I think we need to bear down and get ourselves the first goal.”
The Stars’ power play, which is 1-25 over the last 10 games, was a sore spot again. It had two early chances in the game and failed to cash in against a team that had played the night before.
“When a team is back-to-back, if you get two power play chances early and you get one it changes their mindset,” Stars coach Glen Gulutzan said. “We didn’t do that. I thought that was one of the keys.”
The Islanders scored on their first power play chance when Mouslon scored off the rebound of a Mark Streit shot from the point.
Just 1:59 later Moulson scored again to make it 2-0, knocking home the rebound of a John Tavares shot that banged off the endboards.
The second period featured seven goals. The Islanders went up 3-0 at the 2:48 mark when Dylan Reese beat Raycroft with a shot from the high slot.
The Stars then answered with three goals in a 2:03 span to tie. A Stephane Robidas shot deflected off Tomas Vincour and into the net 39 seconds after Reese’s goal.
Just 1:26 after that, Vernon Fiddler’s centering pass was knocked home by Eric Nystrom to make it a 3-2 game.
And 37 seconds later Dowell scored from the left circle to tie the score.
But the Islanders answered 27 seconds later when Tavares made a cross-crease backhand pass to Moulson, who scored his third of the night to make it a 4-3 game.
The Stars tied it with 3:52 left in the period when Dowell set up Tom Wandell, who scored from the slot with the Stars on the rush.
But 1:02 later the Islanders had the lead again as Molson scored his fourth of the night, finishing off an odd-man rush. His linemates – Tavares and P.A. Parenteau – had three assists each.
"They really gave me some good chances, all I had to do was sweep it into an open net," Moulson said. "The win's the biggest part. Score as many goals as you want, but the win's the most important thing."
“When their top line scores four goals you are going to have a tough time winning,” said Nystrom. “We battled back but you can’t give any team a 3-0 lead in this league and expect to win, but we almost did.”
*Islanders forward Nino Niederreiter left the game in the first period with concussion-like symptoms after getting flattened in the neutral zone on a big open ice hit by Stars defenseman Mark Fistric.
*Islanders goalie Rick DiPietro did not play the third period due to a groin injury. He was replaced by Al Montoya, who stopped all 13 shots he faced in the final 20 minutes.
*Islanders forward Matt Moulson became the fifth player to score four goals in a game against the Stars franchise. The last player to do it was Keith Tkachuk, then with Winnipeg, in March of 1996. The other players were Teemu Selanne (Winnipeg/1993), Pat Verbeek (New Jersey/1988) and Wayne Gretzky (Edmonton/1987).
*Attendance Saturday was 14,428.