Sunday, February 13, 2011
By Mark Stepneski
Some thoughts and observations after the Dallas Stars lost 2-1 to the Columbus Blue Jackets Sunday afternoon.
So much for building off the Chicago win. Sunday’s game seemed to be great opportunity to build off a great opportunity to build off Friday’s exciting win over Chicago that snapped the Stars’ four-game winless streak. But the Stars were flat for most of the first period and parts of the second and dug themselves a 2-1 hole in the game. Columbus defended well, Steve Mason was superb in net and the Stars could never get the equalizer. So, the Stars are still in a funk. They are 1-4-1 since the break and 2-6-1 in their last nine.
Define a good start. You could say the Stars got off to a good start by scoring on their first power play to take an early 1-0 lead, but when you look at the first period as a whole it wasn’t that a great a start. They gave up the tying goal less than a minute after taking the lead and only some great saves by Kari Lehtonen kept it tied in the first, when the Stars were outplayed and outshot 18-6.
The power play. It scored a goal, but it could have been a difference maker in the game and wasn’t. It created some decent chances, but it ended up 1-6. It’s 3-33 over the last nine games and is one of the reason’s – not the only the one – the Stars are 2-6-1 over the last nine games.
Kari Lehtonen. He was great. He ended up with 37 saves and several were high quality. He kept the Stars in the game early and he’s the reason the Stars were around it for the entire game. He’s gotten back into a groove and has looked very good lately.
The playoff race. It’s getting tighter every day. The Stars are still on top of the Pacific Division, but the difference between where they are and being out of the Western Conference playoff race gets smaller every night it seems. It’s down to three points now. It’s going to be a wild race the rest of the way.