The Stars played some solid hockey for the first 30 minutes and even had two leads — one after an early goal from Cody Eakin in the first period and another thanks to Ryan Garbutt in the second — but the team couldn’t hold it and ended dropping the contest by a 3-2 score.
It’s not time to hit the panic button yet, but if the Stars can’t turn things around in the next three games or so, things will get seriously complicated for the team coached by Lindy Ruff. The defensive pairings aren’t working like they were in December, the offensive shifts aren’t producing as expected, and the team as a whole looks lost and without confidence.
Today was the perfect example of it; the Rangers — a team that’s not known for being very tough — out-muscled the Stars, hustled harder on the loose pucks and were much more effective on the boards and on the power play. The late-goal by Rick Nash with less than two minutes left in the contest, was an indication of how broken the team is in terms of confidence. They had several chances to close the game but ended up surrendering a late loss instead.
The offensive struggles aren’t a good sign either; if the points from the team are coming from Garbutt and Eakin when you have guys like Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn on the roster, it means that something is wrong. Apparently, something has been wrong for the Stars during the whole month and unless Ruff can figure things out, the Stars might be out of contention sooner rather than later.