Goal surge would cure Stars ills

The Stars continue to work on shootouts, faceoffs, defensive

breakouts and coverage in front of the goalie, but all of those

things can be fixed to some extent if the team can do just one

thing – put the puck in the net.

After being held to two goals or fewer in regulation just

three times in the first 13 games of the season, the Stars have had

it happen 13 times in the last 19 games. It’s becoming somewhat of

a routine that the team scores only two goals per 60 minutes – and

that’s despite the fact the Stars lead the NHL with 146 power-play

opportunities and rank seventh in shots on goal with 32.1.

“The great thing is we are doing a lot of things right, and

we’re getting a lot of scoring chances,” Stars coach Marc Crawford

said. “So what we need to do is just get some of our key players

scoring goals, and I think it will start coming for us.”

Loui Eriksson, who scored 36 goals last season, has no goals

in the last 12 games. Jamie Benn has two goals in the last 22 games

after getting three in the first 10. Steve Ott, who had 19 goals

last season, has three in 26 games. Jere Lehtinen has one goal in


All of those players are getting chances. They just have to

find a way to finish.

“Boom Boom Geoffrion always said the only way out of a slump

is to shoot your way out,” Crawford said. “And that’s what we’re

telling them, just keep shooting, keep creating chances and keep

shooting. We’re definitely thinking volume right now.”

Brenden Morrow and James Neal went through slumps earlier in

the season, and both have come out of them. Neal was asked if it’s

a hard job being a goal-scorer and carrying that weight.

“No, it’s a great job,” he said. “I think that’s the best job

in the game. You want that responsibility, and you want the

opportunity. I definitely think it’s something we all want to do.”

Eriksson, who had nine goals in the first 21 games, carries

the weight harder but said he understands his role.

“It is tough when you lose a game and you felt you had a

couple of good scoring chances,” he said. “But I just know that if

I keep working it will come. I feel good, and I feel like I’m

close, so that’s the good part.”

Morrow said he emphasizes driving the net and getting to the

hard scoring areas.

“You’ve got to look for hard goals,” Morrow said. “If you

look for the hard goals, the easy ones will come.”

The bottom line is that this is how this team, under Crawford

and new GM Joe Nieuwendyk, is designed. The philosophy of the new

Stars is to be a team that pushes the pace and scores goals.

“We want to be a team that scores, there’s no doubt about

that,” Crawford said. “I’d like to take the chance of being a

high-scoring team, and putting our eggs in that basket and seeing

how many games you can win by just out-chancing and outscoring the

other team.”