The Dallas Stars‘ core is young, but with the additions of veterans like Shawn Horcoff and Sergi Gonchar to compliment returning veterans such as Ray Whitney and Vernon Fiddler, they are technically the fourth-oldest team in the league. Yet, they continue to make mistakes characteristic of younger squads. Last night against the St. Louis Blues, the Stars made several mistakes that killed any momentum they had, which ended up costing them the game.
Dallas caught a lucky bounce when Brenden Dillon managed to slip a shot from the point past Brian Elliot to tie the score at one halfway through the first period. Instead of gaining momentum from the goal, the Stars immediately surrendered the lead on a goal to Vladimir Tarasenko nine seconds later.
With nine seconds remaining in the first period, Fiddler took a delay of game penalty for concealing the puck. On the ensuing faceoff, Dallas lost it cleanly, and a shot from the point rattled off the post, which could have easily made it a 3-1 game headed into the first intermission. While they were able to kill off that penalty, playoff-caliber teams don’t put themselves in those types of situations.
The Stars made more rookie mistakes, including getting caught on a pinch that led to a two-on-one break for David Backes, which turned into a 3-1 St. Louis advantage. 40 seconds into the third period, Antonie Roussel was called for holding and 10 seconds later, former Star Derek Roy was left untouched in the slot to deflect a shot for a back-breaking 4-1 Blues lead.
Chris Stewart would later back off Jordie Benn to below the faceoff dot to rip a shot past Kari Lehtonen who was well off his angle, leading to Lehtonen’s benching. About five minutes later, T.J. Oshie was left unchecked in front of Dan Ellis, allowing Oshie to deflect a shot by Alex Pietrangleo for the sixth Blues goal.
Over the last two games, the Stars have allowed four goals within either the first or last two minutes of periods. Playoff teams do not allow goals or take penalties within the first or last few minutes of periods. They do not leave players untouched in front of their nets. Great teams do not make these types of mistakes, or at least not with this level of frequency.
Dallas has added veterans to help alleviate this sort of behavior, and even with Whitney being out of the lineup, there are still plenty of seasoned players who know better. If the Stars want to return to being one of the premier teams of the Western Conference, these errors must be corrected quickly.