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After coming up short of history, Stars don't mind starting anew

Dallas may have seen its franchise record-tying seven-game win streak end, but hunger for more remains

by Mike Heika @MikeHeika / Senior Staff Writer

CHICAGO -- Well, if you're going to lose, it might as well be with a good effort.

The Stars on Tuesday saw a franchise-long seven-game wining streak end in a 3-0 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks. It was the team's first regulation loss since Oct. 26 -- that's right, a full month ago.

 

[WATCH: All highlights from Stars' loss to Blackhawks]

 

But while the Stars have to accept a rare defeat, they don't have to hang their heads about it. Chicago received a remarkable performance from goalie Corey Crawford, who might have stolen the game for his team with 32 saves. Dallas got another great performance from Anton Khudobin in net, as well, so this was just a game where one team earned its two points.

"I thought our effort was really good," Stars coach Jim Montgomery said. "We had our chances, but we didn't capitalize on our chances."

A subject that was front and center earlier in the year has been pushed to the side for much of the recent streak. Dallas started the season as the worst offensive team in the league, and that was coming off being bottom five last season. But during a 12-game unbeaten streak (11-0-1), the Stars tallied 49 goals and became the force many believed they could be when they signed Joe Pavelski and Corey Perry in the summer.

It was a revelation of both style of play and ability to finish plays.

Forward Jason Dickinson, who has five points (three goals, two assists) in his past six games, said he believes players have found the key to scoring by getting to the net and showing poise when they get there. That didn't happen Tuesday, but Dickinson said he believes players have learned how to score.

Video: DAL@CHI: Montgomery on Stars' loss to Blackhawks

"You can say it's working a little bit harder, going to the hard areas, going to the net more, getting shots on net, simple things like that," Dickinson said. "We had a couple of chances where we passed up the shot. Myself, I had a couple in front that maybe could have done something differently.

While Crawford was good, the Stars said they needed to be better, and that they can draw lessons from the shutout.

"We tried to stay with it," said Pavelski. "You understand he's playing well, he's seeing a lot of pucks, he's fighting through traffic, so you just keep funneling pucks there. If you can get that first one, it gives you a better chance. We had some great looks tonight, there was no shortage there."

 

[PHOTOS: Scenes from Stars vs. Blackhawks]

 

All of that said, the challenge was real for Dallas.

The Stars beat Chicago Saturday in Dallas in a shootout, 2-1, with Khudobin earning first star. They then came back and played Vegas on Monday before traveling up to Chicago for the rematch after that game. The Blackhawks hadn't played since Saturday's game, and took advantage of the extra energy in the third period, where they outshot the Stars 15-9.

"I thought our effort was there … our execution wasn't great," Montgomery said. "Sometimes, that's what happens when you are mentally tired. It's not an excuse, but it's a fact."

Asked if it was "unfair" scheduling, Montgomery said no: "Everybody goes through it in the league. You accept your fate and you move on."

Video: DAL@CHI: Pavelski, Stars turning page after defeat

In fact, you can even grow from it.

"I liked a lot that we did tonight," said Pavelski. "Especially on the road, especially three in four. They were waiting here for us, but we never felt overwhelmed. It was a game where we felt we had control for a long time. But we didn't get the result, and that's what we're striving for."

The Stars fall to 15-9-2, good for 32 points. They are nipping at the heels of Central Division leader St. Louis, which they will face at home Friday. And while they would have loved to set a new franchise record for consecutive wins, they also don't mind starting over again.

Asked how much pride the team took in the winning streak that tied a mark set four times previously in franchise history, Pavelski said: "A lot of pride."

"We've worked hard to dig ourselves out of that (1-7-1) hole and put us in a good position at Thanksgiving," he added. "But now it's about getting right back after it and playing the same type of hockey we've been playing."

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club.

Mike Heika is a Senior Staff Writer for DallasStars.com and has covered the Stars since 1994. Follow him on Twitter @MikeHeika, and listen to his podcast.

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