Saturday, March 17, 2012
Slow start dooms Stars in loss to Blackhawks
By Mark Stepneski
DALLAS -- As far as starts to a game go, Friday was not good for the Dallas Stars. The Stars surrendered two early goals, including one just 10 seconds into the game, in a 4-1 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks at American Airlines Center.
“You don’t want to start a game like that,” said Stars forward Jamie Benn. “We put ourselves in a hole and you never want to do that against a good team like Chicago.”
Blackhawks center Dave Bolland beat Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen with a shot from the slot ten seconds into the game, ending Lehtonen’s shutout streak at 128:42, and giving Chicago a 1-0 lead.
Just 1:32 later the Blackhawks made it 2-0 when Patrick Sharp beat Lehtonen with a shot from the left faceoff circle.
“It wasn’t our best game, but for 56 minutes we were OK playing against a good hockey club,” said Stars coach Glen Gulutzan. “Two minutes in the first and two minutes in the third put us to bed.”
The Blackhawks put the game away with two goals in the first 1:45 of the third period. Marian Hossa scored 33 seconds into the period and then Sharp notched his second goal of the night 1:12 later.
“What we talked about was having a better start to the game,” said Sharp. “To score two quick ones in the first like that, it seems like we started every period pretty quick. You’re not always going to score like we did but as long as you do the right things, the game turns out in your favor.”
Lehtonen, who came into the game with consecutive shutouts under his belt, gave up four goals on 31 shots.
“Not his best game, but he didn’t have a chance on a couple of those either,” said Gulutzan. “That’s the way it goes. He’ll be back.”
Said Chicago’s Bolland: “He’s a great goalie. He uses his angles pretty well, but I think once we got to him pretty quick, we started to break out. We kept getting more shots and were getting some bodies in front of him. Goalies get rattled when that happens.”
The loss was the second straight for the Stars following a six-game winning streak and an 11-game points streak.
“I think we’ve shied away from our game a bit,” said Benn, who scored Dallas’ lone goal of the game with 5:50 remaining. “We need to get pucks deep, we need to play a simple game and win the blue lines. We can’t shootout ourselves in the foot with bad starts.”
The Stars don’t play again until Tuesday, when take on Phoenix, a team they currently lead by two points in the race for first place in the Pacific Division.
“Rest up, and refocus,” Benn said of the Stars break between games. “We have a big one Tuesday. It’s going to be huge for our team.”
*Until Dave Bolland’s goal ten seconds into the game Friday night, the fastest goal allowed by the Stars to begin a game was 11 seconds. That was scored by Rick Martin of Buffalo on October 14, 1979.
*The Stars have scored six goals over their last four games.
*The Stars did not have a power play for the second straight game and for the fourth time this season.
*The Stars were 4-4 on the penalty kill and are now 40-42 (95.2%) on the PK over the last 13 games.
*Jamie Benn’s goal was his 22nd of the season, tying his career-high.
*Friday’s attendance was 19,099, an overflow sellout and the highest announced attendance ever for a Stars game in Dallas.