Several positives, one big negative in Stars’ OT loss in Toronto
On the plus side of the ledger, the Dallas Stars took three of a possible four points in their quick two-game road swing that took them to Chicago on Tuesday, a game they won 4-3 over the reigning NHL Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks.
And the Stars concluded that short trek away from home on Thursday night with a tough 3-2 overtime loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre.
Besides Dallas taking a point from the loss to the Leafs in the extra frame, Thursday also marked the return of top-line center Tyler Seguin to the ice for the Stars after he missed the past two games with concussion-like symptoms.
The Stars also outshot the Leafs 50-24, won 46 faceoffs and controlled the puck for good stretches of the game. However, Dallas also got some devastating news in the second period when the Stars lost their second veteran defenseman in less than a week when Trevor Daley had to be helped off the ice with what was termed a lower-body injury.
Daley’s injury had come just six days after the Stars lost Stephane Robidas for at least the next four months after No. 3 suffered a leg fracture in a shootout loss to Chicago last Friday at American Airlines Center.
“He’s got an injury that looks like it’s going to be a little bit of time,” Stars head coach Lindy Ruff said of Daley’s status going forward. “Our people will evaluate it but I can just tell you it nothing’s that going to be short term.”
Ruff sat Jordie Benn for Thursday’s game, which allowed him to get a look at youngsters Kevin Connauton and Jamie Oleksiak in the same game. Ruff had good things to say about how well Connauton and Oleksiak both performed in the OT loss to end the short road trip.
And Stars captain Jamie Benn also had good things to say about how well Connauton, who was acquired in the April trade that sent Derek Roy to Vancouver, and Oleksiak, Dallas’ top pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, fared against the Leafs.
“Oh yeah, I think Connauton and Rig, they were playing pretty good tonight. I think they’re NHL ready,” Benn said. “They’re ready to step up and I know they’re chomping at the bit to get into the lineup.”
With Daley now joining Robidas on the sidelines, Aaron Rome, who has yet to play a single game with the Stars this season and is currently listed as having a lower-body injury, could be the next man up for Dallas.
However, one possibility could be Cameron Gaunce, who has 11 games of NHL experience gained with Colorado in the 2010-11 season. Gaunce was acquired in an April 2013 trade that sent Tomas Vincour to the Avalanche and him having spent time in the League could definitely work in his favor.
But we’ll know more about the exact prognosis and timeframe regarding Daley on Friday, when the Stars are scheduled to practice at their team headquarters in Frisco before hosting the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday afternoon at the AAC. Dallas will then get a third crack at Chicago in less than two weeks when the Blackhawks make their third and final visit of the regular season to Big D on Tuesday to conclude the short two-game homestand.