Stars’ losing streak hits four with loss to Devils
Kari Lehtonen was simply stellar in the crease for the Dallas Stars on Thursday night at the Prudential Center against the New Jersey Devils, stopping 33 of 34 shots. But the only problem was Devils netminder Corey Schneider was just a touch better, stopping all 22 shots he faced as Jersey prevailed 1-0, sending Dallas to a fourth straight loss.
"To me, it’s a wasted game when you get that performance (from Lehtonen) and you don’t score," Stars head coach Lindy Ruff said postgame. "We maybe had four or five grade-A chances, a couple of flurries. Their guy played pretty great for them. We gave up a couple rush chances that I thought Kari defended well for us."
Once again, the Stars had issues with turning the puck over at the most inopportune of times, something top-line center Tyler Seguin knows warrants immediate correction.
"Yeah, I don’t know where we are exactly but we’ve got to be top three in the League in giveaways. It’s something that’s being addressed but something that we’ve got to bear down on. It’s accountability on everyone, including myself," Seguin said.
The Devils limited the Stars’ offensive chances by getting in shooting and passing lanes, blocking shots and by limiting Dallas’ chances to do what they do best, use their blinding pace to their advantage in the transition game.
And as Ruff stated earlier in the streak, when the Stars don’t have speed, which might be their most potent weapon at this time, they struggle mightily.
"We’re not quite up to speed right now. We’re a step slow. There were pockets of times where we got it going," Ruff said. "Our transition was good. We missed out on a couple plays and I thought we could have made better decisions to create better opportunities and we didn’t quite make them."
New Jersey got its lone goal in the second period when ex-Star Michael Ryder found a bit of space on the edge of the slot and got in between defenseman Trevor Daley and center Dustin Jeffrey, finding space long enough to beat Lehtonen with a quick snap that proved to be the game-winner.
"He’s a great shooter," Lehtonen said of his former teammate. "I think it would have helped if I would have known that is was him shooting it and recognizing where he was, but that happens."
Ruff stated it was a better performance from his club than in Monday’s 7-3 loss to the New York Islanders but added that it still wasn’t good enough.
And for Seguin, who is as matter of fact about the performance of the team as well as himself as anyone on the current roster, this current run of bad form boils down to one simple belief.
"I think right now we’re wanting to win but not hating to lose. I think that’s a big thing we need to fix," Seguin said.
The Stars will get their chance to salvage the final game of the road trip Friday night against the New York Rangers at the famed Madison Square Garden. The Blueshirts beat the Stars 3-2 back in November at American Airlines Center.