The Dallas Stars are the definition of frustration right now. Though they are giving a full and respectable effort, they cannot seem to find two points at the end of any contests.
Have you ever given all of the effort you could possibly give in an everyday task yet still come up short?
Maybe you stay up all night studying for a test but end up bombing it and receiving a D or F. Or maybe you shoot 100 free throws before a game (considering they’re your only weakness) but end up going 3/12 from the charity stripe in-game. It could even be as simple as trying to wake up at a certain hour to finish multiple tasks before work but instead waking up just 30 minutes before you have to leave.
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Whatever the case may be, it’s a rude awakening. Perhaps the worst part is that you give all of your effort towards success and come up short. All of that energy is basically considered wasted and you move on feeling frustrated and incomplete.
Isn’t it an awful feeling? Well, that’s exactly how the Dallas Stars have been feeling for the past week or so.
Over the last few games, the Stars have been standing toe-to-toe with each opponent they face. Whether it was the Minnesota Wild, Columbus Blues Jackets, St. Louis Blues, or Chicago Blackhawks, Dallas put up a valiant effort and held their ground through the entire 60 minute (or more) contest.
Last Saturday, the Dallas Stars traveled to St. Paul, MN to face off with the Wild in the two team’s first meeting of the season. The Stars, who were missing multiple impact players primarily from their top nine (Patrick Sharp, Ales Hemsky, Cody Eakin, Mattias Janmark) hit their stride early and took control of possession. Through the game, they created offensive chances, set the tempo, and kept a balanced offensive attack running the entire game.
They lost that game 4-0. Three nights later, it was more of the same in Columbus. The Stars dominated play but lost 3-2 in overtime.
Thursday night was a hearty and exciting exception to this conundrum. Dallas welcomed the St. Louis Blues to town for their first rematch since the Stanley Cup Playoffs and laid a 6-2 beating on them. All cylinders were firing. The goaltending from Antti Niemi was superb, the defense held the Blues at bay and limited the chances, and the offense (along with a good number of defenders) absolutely unloaded shots and goals on Jake Allen.
Then it was right back to the disappointing way of doing things. The Chicago Blackhawks came to town on Saturday night and were definitely outmatched by the Stars. But strong goaltending by Corey Crawford and one or two mistakes made by Dallas were enough to put Chicago ahead 3-2 for good (those darn mistimed whistles).
Last night, the two teams flipped home ice advantage and played on little rest. Somehow, the Dallas Stars managed to outdo the Hawks once again. They had a 2-1 lead going into the third. The Hawks then scored two goals in 56 seconds to take the 3-2 lead. It looked as though they would pull out the regulation win again, but Dallas had different plans this time.
With 1:20 to go in the game, Gemel Smith deflected a shot past Scott Darling for his second goal for both the game and his NHL career. The Stars continued to press into overtime to the point where if Patrick Eaves shot the puck an inch further to the left while on the power play, the Stars would have walked away with the victory. Instead, the Blackhawks escaped with another win over Dallas.
The Dallas Stars are now 3-4-1 in Central Division play. They are 4-5-3 (11 points) on the year and sit in the final wild card spot. It’s like watching someone get tortured through a glass window all while knowing that you can do nothing about it.
The injuries are tough. The Stars need Spezza, Sharp, Eakin, Hemsky, and Janmark for their offense. Heck, they could use Jiri Hudler too. The offense is managing somewhat in their absence, but we as Stars fans aren’t used to “managing” when on offense. We’re used to absolute domination. When will that domination come back?
The defense and goaltending are on a roller coaster right now. Some nights, they perfectly compliment the offense and give the necessary effort for the win. Other nights, not so much.
Whatever the case may be, the Dallas Stars are not getting the two points they are earning. It’s hard to watch, especially when we don’t know exactly what is wrong. Will the return of injured players fix it? Or will this horrific trend continue?
The Stars have a lot that needs to be accomplished over the next month, and it looks like their backs will be against the wall for the majority of it. On the bright side, no one in the Western Conference is “running away” with any titles at the moment. But if these two-point efforts do not begin producing two points, the Stars could quickly find themselves behind the eight-ball.
Their next shot at two points is tomorrow night in Winnipeg (a Central Division rival that they are 1-1-0 against this season). Will they be able to reap the reward of their stellar play?