Stars Now Trail 2-0 Heading Back to Dallas
At different points this season, turnovers have been an issue for the Dallas Stars. Well, they were again in a 3-2 loss to the Anaheim Ducks in Game Two of their Stanley Cup Playoffs Western Conference First Round series on Friday night at the Honda Center and now Dallas finds themselves down 2-0 as the series shifts to Big D on Monday and Wednesday.
"Yeah, at the end of the night we handed them their opportunities and their goals." Stars head coach Lindy Ruff said. "I thought we skated well and the effort was great, but we made a couple mistakes that cost us dearly."
This was a game where the Stars struck first, taking the lead when rookie Alex Chiasson scored from the right faceoff circle 7:40 into the game with Dallas on the power play. That tally was a just reward for a strong start by the Stars, who seemed to have plenty of jump and were playing the sort of speed-based and north-south game that has worked for them all year.
However, late in the opening frame, Anaheim pulled the game level when Ryan Getzlaf capitalized after Stars winger Erik Cole was unable to clear the puck from the Dallas zone. Getzlaf was able to skate in and beat Dallas goaltender Kari Lehtonen top shelf on the short side to make it 1-1.
"That was huge," Ducks right winger Corey Perry said of Getzlaf tying it late in the first. "What a great play by him stealing the puck and being a beast going to the net. That’s the type of player he is, and he showed us what he can do."
The game remained deadlocked throughout much of the second period until another miscue, this one a pass from Tyler Seguin to captain Jamie Benn that was a bit long for Benn to corral was collected by Perry near center ice. Perry then whistled a slapshot past Lehtonen from the right circle to make it 2-1 with 3:45 remaining before the second intermission.
Perry’s goal ended a string of 10 straight playoff games without a goal, a streak dating back to April 20, 2011 when he had a goal and two assists in a first-round game against the Nashville Predators.
Anaheim then went ahead 3-1 5:09 into the third when Andrew Cogliano scored after Stars defenseman Sergei Gonchar had his stick broken by an apparent slash behind the Dallas goal by Cogliano. And with the Stars scrambling to recover, Cogliano netted the eventual game-winner with Getzlaf being credited with an assist.
"No, obviously it’s real tough to talk to them (the officials)," Gonchar said postgame. "We tried to (talk to them about why a penalty wasn’t called), everybody, but it seems like they didn’t respond to it."
Dallas pulled one back when Ryan Garbutt scored with about 10 minutes left in regulation. However, the Stars never were able to find the equalizer and are now looking at a 2-0 hole heading back to Dallas.
But Garbutt, who scored in just his second career playoff game, isn’t terribly worried about losing Game Two.
"Well, I think we’re fine in here. That’s hockey. Every game’s important from here on out and if we take care of business at home, we’re going to be fine," Garbutt said.
After scoring on their first power play of the game, Dallas was 0-for-5 with the man advantage the rest of the game to finish at 1-for-6 on the PP, something which needs some improvement going forward.
"I thought our power play was better than theirs," Ruff said. "They had some good opportunities. They had a couple good looks. We had a couple bad ones. We had a couple really good (power plays) we didn’t score on. I thought our puck patience, even on the last one, we didn’t show enough puck patience but that’ll come."
Ruff has been in this situation before, coaching a team trailing a series by multiple games. But he doesn’t sound too worried as the series shifts to American Airlines Center, a building where the Stars have played well since ending a winless run in mid-January.
"We’re going back to our building which we’ve played great hockey in and it takes one game to turn the series," Ruff said.