Dallas Stars: Brenden Morrow

FRISCO -- Dallas Stars captain Brenden Morrow admits 2011-12 wasn’t his season, and he simply wants to put it behind him and set his sights on 2012-13.

Morrow played in just 57 games this season and registered 11 goals, the second lowest total in his NHL career. He missed 25 games due to injuries, primarily back and neck issues. It wasn’t what he expected after he registered a career-high 33 goals in 2010-11.

“It’s the toughest one I’ve had,” Morrow said. “Any year the team doesn’t make the playoffs is frustrating and disappointing, but to have the season I had right from the start of the year, with that knee injury in the first exhibition game in Montreal, it just added up and added up. I’ll wipe this one clean and start fresh next year.”

Morrow played through the back and neck issues for a good part of the season, but sat out a couple weeks in November and December, and then was out for more than a month just after the All-Star break.

After that last time on the shelf, Morrow returned for the final 14 games of the season and he felt better. He wasn’t 100 percent and his playing time was scaled back, but he believes that an offseason of rest and conditioning will have him ready for next season.

"The back didn't seem to really be a problem. It was more the disk in the neck that were bothersome,” Morrow said of the final part of the season. “The good news is that every doctor I saw – three or four of them – all had the same opinion, which is the neck isn't going to be a problem. It just needs some rest, and settle those disks down before I get started for another grind."

You have to wonder if Morrow’ style of play has taken a toll over the years and if he’ll have to alter his physical style moving forward, but the Dallas captain said it’s not an issue.

“I think I’ve already been leaning in that direction the last few years,” he said “I don’t think your instincts are ever going to change. You’re still going to finish checks when your instincts tell you to, but I don’t think I am as physical or run around with the aggression I did when I was 20. Everyone’s game evolves and mine has kind of gone in that direction.”

And he said he thinks he can still be an effective goal scorer where he does his best scoring, within ten feet of the goal and in.

“I am not going to shy away from those areas,” he said. “I know that’s probably attributed to a lot of the problems I’ve been having, but I know why I am in the league, too. That’s where I am going to be. I'm actually comfortable saying that how much better I felt the last two weeks of the season compared to what I was dealing with before. I don't think health is going to be an issue."
FRISCO -- With nothing on the line in Saturday’s regular season finale against the St. Louis Blues, the Dallas Stars will take a look at some of their young players.

Center Scott Glennie, the team’s first round pick (8th overall) in 2009, will make his NHL debut. So will defenseman Brenden Dillon, a free agent signing out of the Western Hockey League last season. Glennie, Dillon and defenseman Jordie Benn were called up from the Texas Stars on Friday afternoon.

Both Glennie and Dillon played under Stars coach Glen Gulutzan at the end of last season in the AHL.

“I only had Glennie for a short period of time, but Scotty has made big strides in the American Hockey League,” Gulutzan said. “Whenever you get young guys like that who on two or three nights over a two or three week span that they are the best player on the ice, that’s an encouraging sign in that league. And when it’s happening more and more frequently, then it’s a real good thing and that’s what Scotty has done. Brenden has done that too. Anytime that happens at that level you know you have a player on the up.”

Glennie got off to a slow start this season after he suffered a concussion during Dallas’ training camp in Prince Edward Island. But he’s picked up the pace as the season has moved along and has 37 points (12 goals, 25 assists) in 68 games this season.

Dillon, who had impressive showing last season when he made the jump from junior to the AHL, has 26 points (5 goals, 21 assists) in 72 games.

“With Brenden you are going to see a big, good skating defenseman that can move the puck,” Gulutzan said. “With Glennie you are going to see skilled guy who can move and skate.”

Forward Reilly Smith, who was signed to an entry-level contract last month and made the jump to the NHL straight from college, will also be in the lineup for the Stars on Saturday. Smith has already played two games for the Stars, registering no points.

“Even though I played only four minutes (in the first game), I was soaking in every minute of it,” Smith said. “Just being in Edmonton with so much history around you, just being a small part of it was a great experience. Having my first NHL game there was absolutely phenomenal. We got the win and I was able to get my feet wet for the next game in Vancouver.”

Smith finished second in the nation in goal scoring, notching 30 in 39 games with Miami University this season.

“With Reilly you’re going to see a really skilled player coming out college that has the ability to score,” said Gulutzan. “It will be interesting to see those guys play with good players.”

The Stars will sit some veteran players who have been battling injuries, players Gulutzan said have been receiving injections to get through games and practices. Players who could sit out tomorrow include Steve Ott, Radek Dvorak, Steve Ott, Mike Ribeiro and Brenden Morrow. Mark Fistric, who is another player who has been battling injuries, hurt his groin in Thursday’s game and is out for Saturday.

“I talked to every injured player that played and they all want to play the last game, whether they have to take a needle or not to get through, to numb some of the issues there,” said Gulutzan. “They all want to play, but the reality is we don’t want to put them through that. We want to take a look at some of our young guys.”

Richard Bachman will get the start in goal for the Stars.

Hobey Baker winner announced

Dallas native and Dallas Stars prospect Austin Smith was one of three finalists for the Hobey Baker Award, which goes to the top player in college hockey. The winner of this year’s award, announced Friday evening, is Jack Connolly from the University of Minnesota-Duluth.

Connolly finished second in the nation in scoring with 60 points (20, 40 assists) in 41 games. Smith led the nation in goal scoring with 36 in 39 games and finished 3rd in points with 57.
FRISCO, Texas -- Stars fans will get a little glimpse of the future in Saturday night's regular-season finale against the St. Louis Blues at American Airlines Center. Right wing Scott Glennie, the team's first-round pick (eighth overall) in 2009, will make his NHL debut.

So will defenseman Brenden Dillon, a free-agent pick out of the WHL last year. Both those players have spent the season with the Texas Stars of the American Hockey League.

The 21-year-old Glennie has 12 goals and 25 assists in 68 games this season. Glennie got off to a slow start after suffering a concussion in training camp, but he's picked up 28 points (nine goals, 19 assists) over the past 43 games.

Dillon, who is also 21, is a big, mobile, two-way defenseman. He has 26 points (five goals, 21 assists) in 72 games this season.

Reilly Smith, the third-round pick (69th overall) from 2009, will be back in the lineup. Smith, who signed an entry-level contract with Dallas last month, has already appeared in two games with the Stars.

Richard Bachman will get the start in goal.

The Stars will sit some veterans who have been battling through injuries as the Stars battled to get into the playoffs.

"We've had guys taking injections here to get through a game. These same players can get through a practice without it. You won't see a couple of those guys tomorrow," Stars coach Glen Gulutzan said. "Most likely Steve Ott, depending on how he is tomorrow. Radek Dvorak, you guys all know. Guys that you probably didn't know would be [Stephane] Robidas and [Mike] Ribeiro that have been playing injured. Those guys and possibly Brenden [Morrow]. At the end the day, you don't want to give them the needle to play."

Mark Fistric, who injured his groin in Thursday night's game at Nashville, was also getting injections to play prior to last night's injury. He'll be out for Saturday's game.
The Dallas Stars’ quest for a playoff spot ended in Nashville on Thursday night. A 2-0 loss to the Predators mathematically eliminated the Stars from the playoff race.

The Stars now have missed the playoffs four straight seasons, the longest postseason drought in franchise history.

"It's frustrating, disappointing. It doesn’t get easier,” Stars captain Brenden Morrow said. “You always want to win that last one and give our fans the opportunity to see playoff hockey again. They deserve it. Ever since Mr. [Tom] Gaglardi took over [as owner], they’ve been out to support us and root us on. It would have been nice to give them the opportunity to see some playoff hockey.”

Needing a win to keep their hopes alive, the Stars played the Predators to a scoreless tie through the first two periods. But Nashville got that key first goal with 15:32 left in the game when Patric Hornqvist came out from behind the net and put a shot on net and defenseman Francis Bouillon put the rebound past Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen.

“Good things happen when you take it to the net,” Hornqvist said.

Hornqvist sealed the win for the Predators when he was able to get to the rebound of a Brandon Yip shot and give Nashville a 2-0 lead with just 2:00 left in the game.

The Stars pulled Lehtonen a short time later for the extra attacker and had a late power play but weren’t able to get a puck past Predators goalie Pekka Rinne, who stopped 28 shots for his fifth shutout of the season and his league-best 43rd win.

"The guys did a great job,” Rinne said. “They had a good push there at the end but we did a really good job fiveonfive and on the penalty kill. It was just a solid game. We didn’t do anything out of the ordinary."

It was the second time in the past three games the Stars were shut out.

“It was a good hockey game; we just didn’t get the result we wanted,” Stars coach Glen Gulutzan said. “We played hard, and I liked the way we competed. It was a one-goal hockey game, who could manage to get that one in, and they managed to do so.”

Nashville moved one point ahead of Detroit for the fourth seed in the Western Conference. The Stars, who have lost eight of their past 11 games, wrap up their season Saturday against St. Louis and then will have another long offseason.

“It’s tough,” Stars forward Steve Ott said. “It’s never fun and it’s the worst feeling for a professional hockey player.”

Notes: Fistric injured

*Stars defenseman Mark Fistric left the game in the second period with a groin injury and did not return.

*The Stars were 0-4 on the power play and are now 1-25 on the power play over the past eight games. For the season, the Stars are 30th in the league at 13.8 percent.

*The Stars did change things up on the power play, loading up the first unit with a four-forward look of Loui Eriksson, Jamie Benn, Michael Ryder and Mike Ribeiro, along with defenseman Stephane Robidas.

*Right wing Radek Dvorak returned to the lineup after missing the previous five games with an ankle injury.

*Scratches for the Stars were Jake Dowell, Tomas Vincour, Toby Petersen, Reilly Smith and Adam Pardy.

Postgame quotes

April, 5, 2012
4/05/12
10:06
PM CT
Here are some postgame quotes after the Dallas Stars 2-0 lost to the Nashville Predators Thursday night, eliminating them from the playoff race.

Stars coach Glen Gulutzan

“It was a good hockey game; we just didn’t get the result we wanted. We played hard and I liked the way we competed. It was a one-goal hockey game, who could manage to get that one in, and they managed to do so.”

Stars captain Brenden Morrow

"It's frustrating, disappointing. Kind of a repeat of Groundhog Day of last year. It doesn’t get easier. You always want to win that last one and give our fans the opportunity to see playoff hockey again. They deserve it. Ever since Mr. Gaglardi took over (as owner) they’ve been out to support us and root us on. It would have been nice to give them the opportunity to see some playoff hockey.”

Stars forward Steve Ott

“It’s tough because obviously we’re out. It’s never fun and it’s the worst feeling for a professional hockey player.”

Thursday update: Line juggling

April, 5, 2012
4/05/12
1:19
PM CT
Stars coach Glen Gulutzan juggled his lines during Tuesday's loss to San Jose, and he'll roll out different lines for Thursday's game in Nashville.

Brenden Morrow will move to a line with Mike Ribeiro and Loui Eriksson. Michael Ryder will now play with Jamie Benn and Steve Ott.

"(Morrow) is feeling a lot better here lately, the last couple games," Gulutzan said. "We'll get a change and try to spread out some of the offense with Benny and Rydes there. We're going to play a real team game."

Right wing Radek Dvorak will be back in the lineup after missing the last five games with an ankle injury. He'll be back on a line with Eric Nystrom and Vernon Fiddler.

Kari Lehtonen is in goal for the Stars. Pekka Rinne is the likely starter in goal for the Predators.


DALLAS -- The opportunities were there for the Dallas Stars on Tuesday night, but the finish wasn’t. And now they are perilously close to being finished in the Western Conference playoff race after a 5-2 loss to the San Jose Sharks at American Airlines Center.

“It stings,” said Stars captain Brenden Morrow. “You’d like to be able to control your own fate. We had that tonight, we let it go and now we are going to need a lot of help.”

The loss left the Stars three points behind the eighth place Sharks, four points behind seventh place Phoenix and four points behind Pacific Division leading Los Angeles with two games remaining. The Stars will need to win both games and hope for at least one of those teams to falter.

“It’s going to be tough, but we just can’t quit,” said Morrow. “Stranger things have happened. We are going to need a lot of help, some people to do us some favors. “

The Stars, who have lost seven of their last ten games, didn’t do themselves any favors Tuesday night. They missed on a 57 second five-on-three power play with the game tied 1-1. San Jose scored the game-winning goal on the power play.

“They got their third goal on the power play, and that can be a big difference in the hockey game,” said Stars defenseman Stephane Robidas. “We score on the five-on-three, and we’ve got a five-on-four after that and we get another one, maybe it’s a different game. But we didn’t.”

After going up 2-1 in the game in the second period, they allowed the Sharks to tie the game just 32 seconds later.

“It’s always the shift right after a goal you need a good shift, and we just didn’t get it,” said Stars coach Glen Gulutzan. “It got them right back in the game. We had no chance to build off that momentum of that goal.”

The Stars had a great chance to tie the game with a little more than five minutes, but Jamie Benn’s breakaway bid was turned away by Sharks goalie Antti Niemi. About 30 seconds later the Sharks scored to extend their lead to 4-2.

“We got to spring Jamie on a breakaway, but we were already in trouble at that point,” said Gulutzan. “It would have been nice, but there were a few things throughout the game that we could have done better.”

The Stars had the momentum early in the game, dominating play outshooting the Sharks 8-1 midway through the first period. But the Sharks got on the board 12:09 into the game when Daniel Winnik put a rebound past Kari Lehtonen, who appeared to be interfered with just before the puck went into the net.

The Stars answered late in the period when Brenden Morrow came out from behind the goal line and beat Niemi with a sharp angle backhand shot at the 17:47 mark.

The Stars had a big chance to take the lead when they had 57 seconds of five-on- three power play time that started late in the first and had 38 seconds remaining when the second period began. But they couldn’t get a shot on net, and then failed to take advantage of the remaining five-on-four time.

“We just didn’t execute,” said Gulutzan.

The Stars did take the lead at even strength at the 11:10 mark. Jamie Benn sent a pass from behind the goal line to Alex Goligoski, who beat Niemi with a shot from the point.

But the Sharks scored just 32 seconds later when Dominic Moore sent a puck from behind the goal line to T.J. Galiardi, who roofed a shot over Lehtonen.

“About two weeks ago we were talking about those. We call them bump-up goals,” said Sharks coach Todd McLellan. “Right after you get scored on when you do, then you go out, win a draw, play in the other team’s end and get a big goal.”

The Sharks took the lead with a power play goal with 2:36 left in the second. Martin Havlat centered the puck from the right boards and Logan Couture redirected it past Lehtonen to make it a 3-2 game.

The Stars had a great chance to tie with just over five minutes remaining when Benn got a breakaway, but his backhand bid was stopped by Niemi.

“Huge, if he doesn’t make that it’s a different game,” said Sharks center Joe Thornton. “It’s a set play. We’ve seen him do it in the past. We just kind of fell asleep. He’s a world-class goalie and he makes that save. Saved our bacon again tonight.”

About 30 seconds later, Thornton scored off a wrist shot from the right circle to make it a 4-2 San Jose lead with 4:50 remaining in the game. Ryane Clowe added an empty net goal to make it a 5-2 final and give the Sharks the sweep of a crucial home-and-home series with the Stars.

“The two games against Dallas were the two biggest games of the year,” said McLellan. “We’re in a playoff series, we talked about that. When you can win back-to-back games in a playoff series – one at home and one on the road – you usually set yourself up pretty well. Very big, considering that four points went into our account and none went into theirs.”

And now the Stars will move onto play at Nashville, where they’ll need a win to keep their slim playoff hopes alive.

“You have to move forward and now we need help,” said Gulutzan. “You just start preparing and get ready for Nashville. It’s business as usual. There’s no other way to look at it. It’s business as usual. We’ve got to go win a game.”

Notes

*The Sharks won five of six games against the Stars this season. Not including the goal awarded for the shootout win, the Sharks outscored the Stars 25-10 in the season series.

*The Stars have two games remaining in the regular season. They play at Nashville Thursday and host St. Louis Saturday.

*The Stars are 0-11 on the power play over their last four games and 1-21 (4.8%) on the PP over the last seven games.

*The Stars have allowed six power play goals over the last five games and are 17-23 (73.9%) on the penalty kill during that stretch.

*Stars RW Radek Dvorak missed his fifth straight game with an ankle injury.

*Toby Petersen, Reilly Smith, Tom Wandell and Adam Pardy were healthy scratches for Dallas.

*Tuesday’s attendance was 18,584, a sellout.

Postgame quotes: 'It stings'

April, 3, 2012
4/03/12
11:14
PM CT
Here are some postgame quotes following the Dallas Stars’ 5-2 loss to the San Jose Sharks Tuesday night.

Stars captain Brenden Morrow on the loss

“It stings. You’d like to be able to control your own fate. We had that tonight, we let it go and now we are going to need a lot of help.”

Stars coach Glen Gulutzan on where the game turned

“I thought the shift after the 2-1 goal, when we went up 2-1. We made a mistake with coverage. It’s always the shift right after a goal you need a good shift, and we just didn’t get it. It got them right back in the game. We had no chance to build off that momentum of that goal.”

Gulutzan on moving forward

“You have to move forward and now we need help. You just start preparing and get ready for Nashville. It’s business as usual. There’s no other way to look at it. It’s business as usual. We’ve got to go win a game.”

Gulutzan on the Stars missing on a five-on-three power play

“We didn’t execute there. With 19 seconds left (in the first period) we got a shot off, but just didn’t execute and we lost a little track of time. Going in between periods we had things set up, but we didn’t execute.”

Stars defenseman Stephane Robidas on special teams play

“You’ve got to score on the power play. That’s what they did. They got their third goal on the power play, and that can be a big difference in the hockey game. We score on the five-on-three, and we’ve got a five-on-four after that and we get another one, maybe it’s a different game. But we didn’t . Sometimes you can win games on your power play, but it didn’t happen tonight. “

Sharks coach Todd McLellan on sweeping the home-and-home series with the Stars

“The two games against Dallas were the two biggest games of the year. We’re in a playoff series, we talked about that. When you can win back-to-back games in a playoff series – one at home and one on the road – you usually set yourself up pretty well. Very big, considering that four points went into our account and none went into theirs.”

Sharks center Joe Thornton on Antti Niemi stopping Jamie Benn on a breakaway late in the game to keep the Sharks ahead by one goal

“Huge, if he doesn’t make that it’s a different game. It’s a set play. We’ve seen him do it in the past. We just kind of fell asleep. He’s a world-class goalie and he makes that save. Saved our bacon again tonight.”

Stakes are high as Stars take on Sharks

April, 3, 2012
4/03/12
12:37
AM CT
FRISCO, Texas -- Tuesday’s game between the Dallas Stars and the San Jose Sharks is big. There are only so many ways you can say it, but the Stars found a variety of ways to sum it up after Monday’s practice in Frisco.

“It’s our biggest game for sure,” Stars coach Glen Gulutzan said. “We’ve said for a long time that every game is big, but this game either puts us in the driver’s seat or it takes us out of it. It’s a huge game.”

“It’s as big of a do-or-die as you’re going to find,” said Stars captain Brenden Morrow. “There’s been a lot of history with these two teams in the past, and we're both scratching and clawing to get to the postseason, so there is a lot on the line tomorrow night.”

“We have our chance to control our destiny,” Stars forward Steve Ott said. “That’s the biggest thing we can take out of tomorrow night. The chance is in our hands. We need to find a way to grab big points. We knew it was going to be tight two months ago, and the reality now is we have a chance to control it.”

The Stars and Sharks enter the game separated by one point in the Western Conference. The Sharks currently sit in the eighth and final playoff spot. The Stars are in ninth place. Tuesday’s winner is in a playoff spot with two games remaining. The loser faces an uphill climb. How big a climb will depend on whether the loss is in regulation or in overtime or is a shootout. And how many points Phoenix picks up Tuesday night against Columbus will be key as well. But however it happens, a loss would be a big blow.

For the Stars, though, the path to success is pretty simple. With three games left there are six points available to them. Get those six points and they are in the playoffs.

“If you look at the standings, everything is in our control. At this point, with three games left, that’s all you can ask, is to have control,” Gulutzan said. “You’ve got to win the games to get in, so it’s just nice to know that if we do, then we control our own destiny.”

But to maintain control of that destiny they’ll need to beat the Sharks, who won game one of the home-and-home series 3-0 Saturday night in San Jose. The Sharks scored 58 seconds into the game and had a 2-0 lead by the first intermission. The Stars see a strong start as key Tuesday night.

“There’s going to be a lot of focus on that first shift, that first ten minutes like they did in their rink,” Morrow said. “They came at us hard in 10-12 minutes, and we’ve got to focus on that start.”

The Sharks have won four of five against the Stars, but three of those wins, including Saturday’s, came with the Stars playing on the second night of a back-to-back, not exactly their strong suit this season. The Stars are hoping a couple of days between games will bring a different result.

“The rest is obviously key,” Ott said. “We played a highly emotional game in Vancouver, it was a highly emotional road trip and then you go into San Jose, and our back-to-back record has been terrible all year. That’s obviously a cause of concern in the last game, but to have that extra rest and let the emotions settle and to come in with an energized team again, I truthfully think it will make a big difference.”

It has to, or the Stars will no longer control their destiny.

Crunch time arrives for the Stars

April, 1, 2012
4/01/12
11:58
PM CT
The Dallas Stars have been in an every-game-is-big mentality for some time now, but they've faced no bigger game this season than this Tuesday’s tilt against San Jose at American Airlines Center.

“It’s a do-or-die mentality,” Stars coach Glen Gulutzan said. “It’s got to be there.”

They’ll enter the game one point behind the eighth-place Sharks with three games left. A loss would be a devastating blow. A win, and there’s life.

“Our fate is in our own hands, still, and at this juncture of the season that is what you have to focus on,” Gulutzan said. “We don’t need someone to beat somebody else, we just need to win our last three games.”

Those last three games won’t be easy tilts. Three good teams. All with something to play for as well. The Sharks, like the Stars, are in a dogfight just to make the playoffs.

The Nashville Predators, whom the Stars visit Thursday, are in a three-way battle for the fourth seed in the West and home ice in the first round of the playoffs.

The St. Louis Blues, who come to Dallas on Saturday, are vying for the top spot in the West and home ice advantage throughout the conference playoffs.

“We’ve been doing it the hard way all year and we’re kind of in that spot right now. It’s nice to go back home, but we’ve got our work cut out,” Stars captain Brenden Morrow said. “It’s three tough teams, (San Jose) is a tough team to play, they’re hungry, they know what’s at stake and it doesn’t get any easier from there.”

The Sharks have won four of five from the Stars this season and their 3-0 win Saturday was a convincing victory. But three of their wins over the Stars came with Dallas playing on the second night of a back-to-back, and the Stars will now have a couple of days to rest up and get ready for the rematch.

“It’s a must-win,” Morrow said. “I don’t know the exact mathematical equation or what needs to be done, but it’s probably three wins or nothing for us. It’s nice to be able to get them again while the blood’s hot a little bit, get a little redemption, but if we do the same thing we did (Saturday night), we’re not going to have the success we want.”

“You just got to bounce back, learn from what we did wrong,” Stars defenseman Stephane Robidas said. “It’s a good team and but it’s a team we know we can beat. Sometimes when things don’t go well, you try to complicate things and that’s the wrong thing to do. You’ve got to simplify them.”

And the simple fact is the Stars, who have lost three of their last four games and six of their last nine, have to win Tuesday.

March by the numbers

April, 1, 2012
4/01/12
11:15
PM CT
March turned out to be an up-and-down month for the Dallas Stars. They were 6-0-0 to start the month, but finished it 3-6-0 to end up 9-6-0 overall.

They were eighth in the West when the month began with a one-point lead over the ninth spot and four points out of the Pacific Division lead. At the end of the month they were ninth in the West, one point out of a playoff spot and two points out of the division lead.

In those first six games they averaged 2.67 goals per game and held their opponents to 1.33 goals per game. Over the last nine games they scored an average of 2.22 goals per game and allowed 3.22.

Michael Ryder (nine), Jamie Benn (eight), Loui Eriksson (five) and Mike Ribeiro (four) scored 26 of the Stars’ 36 goals in the month, or 72 percent of the goals. Only Brenden Morrow and Tomas Vincour, who each had two goals, scored more than once during the month.

The power play was 5-41 (12.2 percent) for the month and the Stars were ranked 30th in the league on the power play at the end of March at 14.1 percent.

The Stars were 48-55 (87.3 percent) on the penalty kill during the month. They were 17-17 in the first six games, and 31-38 (81.6 percent) over the last nine games.

Here’s a look at the team stats for the month along with how they stack up to previous months this season:

With three games left in the season the Dallas Stars are now on the outside looking in at a playoff spot. The Stars fell to ninth place in the Western Conference Saturday, falling 3-0 to the Sharks in San Jose.

The Sharks, who entered the game one point behind the Stars, started strong, scoring in the first minute of the game and controlling play for most of the night.

“We needed to put more pucks on their net, create some more residual chances there. They had a lot of jump and did it to us,” Stars coach Glen Gulutzan said. “They got that one early and it kind of set us back. The early jump was kind of the difference.”

Sharks center Joe Thornton set up a wide open Joe Pavelski, who beat Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen with a shot from the slot just 58 seconds into the game to give San Jose an early 1-0 lead.

The Stars put the Sharks on three power play s in the first period and San Jose cashed in on the third one. Martin Havlat set up Jason Demers, who scored from the left circle late in the period to give the Sharks a 2-0 lead.

It was not the first period the Stars needed.

“Our start, for one thing. I think they doubled up on us in shots early in the game. We wanted to be disciplined and stay out of the penalty box. We didn’t do that. They made us pay on the power play,” Stars captain Brenden Morrow said. “Playing with more desperation. Our backs are against the wall. It was kind of a must win for us and we didn’t get the start we needed.”

Pavelski added another goal in the second period. Antti Niemi stopped a total of 22 shots for the Sharks, who outshot the Stars 34-22 in the game.

“It was the biggest game of the year for us,” Thornton said. “We started well and I though we competed hard all the way through. It was a good job by us.”

The Stars have lost six of their last nine games and went 1-3-0 on their just concluded four-game road trip. They fell to 1-11-2 in the second games of back-to backs.

“I was a little bit worried about this game coming in. We’ve never been good in back-to-backs,” Gulutzan said. “The whole road trip, I was most disappointed with the Calgary game (5-4 loss). We’d be sitting in a different situation in a winnable hockey game.”

The Stars are one point behind the eighth place Sharks, who will be at American Airlines Center Tuesday to conclude the home-and-home series.

“We’ve got to move on. We’ve got a big game against this team Tuesday,” Gulutzan said. “Our fate is in our own hands, still, and at this juncture of the season that is what you have to focus on.”

The Stars have three games remaining and it’s a tough schedule. They host San Jose onTuesday, play at Nashville on Thursday and then wrap up the season with a game against St. Louis on Saturday at American Airlines Center.

“We are where we are and, like I said, we still control our own destiny,” Gulutzan said. “We don’t need someone to beat somebody else. We just need to win our last three games.”

And that quest starts Tuesday with the rematch against the Sharks.

“We’ve just got to bounce back,” Dallas defenseman Stephane Robidas said. “We’ve got to learn from what we did wrong tonight. We’re playing the same team, so it should be fresh in our memory. It won’t be a different system, we know how they play and what they’re trying to do. It’s a good team, but it’s a team we can beat.”

Notes

*Stars defenseman Mark Fistric returned to the lineup after missing the last five games with an abdominal strain.

*Stars forward Toby Petersen was in the lineup after being a healthy scratch the past 15 games. He played 4:46 in the game.

*Radek Dvorak (ankle), Eric Nystrom (leg) and Tom Wandell (illness) were out for Dallas.

*Reilly Smith, Adam Pardy and Jordie Benn were healthy scratches for Dallas.

Postgame quotes

April, 1, 2012
4/01/12
12:43
AM CT
Here are some postgame quotes following the Dallas Stars’ 3-0 loss at San Jose Saturday night.

Stars coach Glen Gulutzan

“We needed to put more pucks on their net, create some more residual chances there. They had a lot of jump and did it to us. They got that one early and it kind of set us back. The early jump was kind of the difference.”

“We’ve got to move on. We’ve got a big game against this team Tuesday. Our fate is in our own hands, still, and at this juncture of the season that is what you have to focus on.”

Gulutzan on the 1-3-0 road trip

“I was a little bit worried about this game coming in. We’ve never been good in back-to-backs. The whole road trip, I was most disappointed with the Calgary game. We’d be sitting in a different situation in a winnable hockey game. But we are where we are and, like I said, we still control our own destiny. We don’t need someone to beat somebody else. We just need to win our last three games.”

Stars captain Brenden Morrow on what went wrong

“Pretty much everything. Our start, for one thing. I think they doubled up on us in shots early in the game. We wanted to be disciplined and stay out of the penalty box. We didn’t do that. They made us pay on the power play. Playing with more desperation. Our backs are against the wall. It was kind of a must win for us and we didn’t get the start we needed.”

Stars defenseman Stephane Robidas

“We’ve just got to bounce back. We’ve got to learn from what we did wrong tonight. We’re playing the same team, so it should be fresh in our memory. It won’t be a different system, we know how they play and what they’re trying to do. It’s a good team, but it’s a team we can beat.”

Stars-Sharks Preview

March, 31, 2012
3/31/12
1:50
AM CT
Dallas Stars at San Jose Sharks
Saturday March 31, 9:30 p.m.
TV: Fox Sports Southwest
Radio: KTCK-1310 (AM)

About the Stars

The Stars (42-31-5) lost 5-2 at Vancouver on Friday night, falling from third place in the Western Conference to seventh place.

“It’s big. It just puts a little more pressure on that one tomorrow and they only get bigger after that,” Stars captain Brenden Morrow said after the loss. “We came on this road and lost one in Calgary and lost one here. It just puts more pressure and desperation on those next games.”

Saturday’s game is the first of a key home-and-home series with the Sharks. The two teams meet again Tuesday in Dallas. The Stars lead the ninth place Sharks by one point.

“We have a chance to control our own destiny and that starts tomorrow,” said Stars forward Jake Dowell. “We’ll be glum about this tonight, but tomorrow we’ll get back at it.”

Kari Lehtonen will start in goal for the Stars.

Injuries: LW Eric Nystrom (leg) and RW Radek Dvorak (ankle) and D Mark Fistric (abdominal strain) are out.

About the Sharks

The Sharks (39-29-10) lost their second straight game, falling 2-0 at Phoenix Thursday. The loss dropped the Sharks to ninth in the Western Conference standings.

"We had a ton of opportunities, some really good looks at the net, but it didn't go in for us," said San Jose coach Todd McLellan. "They capitalized on their chances, we didn't. That's the game. I keep saying that we've got to leave these (losses) behind and move on, but with four left we better make some hay quick."

The Sharks have four games left – two against Dallas and two against Los Angeles – and think it’s possible they may need to win them all to get in.

We don't have much of an option, the last two games have put us in a hole," forward Ryane Clowe said. "We can't afford to lose any games, so if that means (going) 4-0, then yeah."

Injuries: D Douglas Murray (lower body) is questionable.

Series notes

*This is the fifth of six meetings between the two teams this season.

*The Stars are 1-3-0 in the season series.

*The Sharks are 3-0-1 in the series.

*November 19, at Dallas: Sharks 4, Stars 1
*December 8, at San Jose: Sharks 5, Stars 2
*February 2, at San Jose: Sharks 5, Stars 2
*March 8, at Dallas: Stars 4, Sharks 3 (SO)

Statistical tidbits

*The Stars are 1-3-0 in their last four road games.

*The Sharks are 5-1-0 in their last six home games.

*The Stars have allowed five goals in three of their last four road games.

*The Sharks have scored one goal on 67 shots over the last two games.

*The Stars are 1-10-2 in the second games of back-to-backs this season.


In a tight playoff race and needing points, the Dallas Stars couldn’t find a way to get any in Vancouver on Friday night, falling 5-2 to the Canucks. But they’ve got to put the loss behind them and move on to San Jose, where they open a crucial home-and-home series with the Sharks Saturday night.

“We need to find a way to regroup. We have a big home-and-home against San Jose. We’ve got to focus on that,” said Stars forward Steve Ott. “We’ve got to kick the loss as soon as we can and move on to the next game because there are only four games left.”

Friday’s loss in Vancouver knocked the Stars out of first place in the Pacific Division and third in the Western Conference to seventh in the West. They trail Los Angeles, a 4-1 winner in Edmonton Friday night, by one point in the division and lead the ninth place San Jose Sharks by one point.

“We have a chance to control our own destiny and that starts tomorrow,” said Stars forward Jake Dowell. “We’ll be glum about this tonight, but tomorrow we’ll get back at it.”

The Stars had a chance to enhance their destiny Friday night, but Vancouver Canucks goaltender Cory Schneider wouldn’t have any part of it. He turned in a stellar performance, stopping 28 of 30 shots to lead Vancouver past the Stars.

“I thought we played well. We had chances. Five-on-five I thought we were going real good, but once again (Cory Schneider) was real good and made good saves on us,” said Stars coach Glen Gulutzan. “You run it into that every now and then. Goalies win you games and our goalie has won us enough this year. I thought it was a pretty equal game, but Schneider withstood the test. … We played well. We just didn’t get anything to go and we made a few mistakes that cost us. You can’t do that against Vancouver.”

The Stars played a strong first period, outshooting the Canucks 13-8. But the Canucks scored the only goal of the period. Jannik Hansen set up Chris Higgins, who beat Kari Lehtonen with a quick shot from the slot at the 6:43 mark.

Cory Schneider, who got the start in goal because Roberto Luongo had some stiffness in his neck, was sharp in the first, making several nice stops to keep the Stars off the scoreboard.

The Stars drew even early in the second period, when Ott scored off the rebound of a Jamie Benn shot at the 3:16 mark.

But Schneider kept the Stars from taking the lead with some big saves while the Stars were shorthanded. He stopped Ott busting in on net and then made a spectacular toe save on Loui Eriksson during Vancouver’s second power play of the game.

He then stopped Vernon Fiddler’s point blank shorthanded attempt during the Canucks third power play of the game. But the Canucks ended up taking the lead on that power play when Sami Salo scored on a blast from the right point at the 11:01 mark. A little more than five minutes later, Vancouver defenseman Andrew Alberts took a pass from Henrik Sedin and scored from the left circle to make it a 3-1 game.

“That’s why the goaltender is there. He was able to keep us in the game until we were able to score a couple of goals,” said Canucks coach Alain Vigneault.

The Canucks extended their lead to 4-1 at 9:06 of the third when Sedin set up Alex Burrows, who scored from close range. A short time later the Stars pulled goalie Kari Lehtonen, to rest his for Saturday’s crucial game in San Jose.

Richard Bachman took over in net and Vancouver’s Maxim Lapierre cashed in on a wide open look from the slot to make it a 5-1 game.

Dowell scored a late goal to make it a 5-2 final.

Notes

*The Stars ended the season 14-6-0 against the Northwest Division.

*Stars forward Reilly Smith, playing in his second NHL game, played 7:47 and had one shot on goal. He started the game on the fourth line, but in the third period was bumped up to the second line with Jamie Benn and Steve Ott.

*Mark Fistric (abdominal strain), Radek Dvorak (ankle) and Eric Nystrom (leg) were out for Dallas.

*The Stars were 0-1 on the power play and 2-3 on the penalty kill in the game.

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