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Close not enough again for Stars in loss to Blues

Dallas knows it needs to start finishing the job after dropping its second straight one-goal game to open the season

by Mike Heika @MikeHeika / Senior Staff Writer

ST. LOUIS -- The Stars are getting closer.

Unfortunately, that doesn't get you much in the NHL.

Dallas played the two Stanley Cup finalists in the first two games of the season and lost one-goal games to each. In a 3-2 defeat at the hands of the St. Louis Blues Saturday, Dallas had a goal disallowed on an offside review and saw the winning goal scored on an odd deflection, so it would have been easy to shrug off the loss.

 

[WATCH: All Stars vs. Blues highlights]

 

But starting 0-2-0 is serious business for this team.

Video: DAL@STL: Heiskanen scores from along the goal line

"I didn't like our start, loved our second period, and I really liked how we started the third, too," Stars coach Jim Montgomery said. "But after the disallowed goal, I didn't like the way we responded."

Dallas was leading 2-1 in the third period when Esa Lindell scored off a nice pass from Alexander Radulov on the power play. However, the Blues challenged and reviews showed Justin Dowling was offside on the entry into the zone. The goal was disallowed, and St. Louis tied the game 2:04 later.

Lindell said he felt the Blues took a great deal of momentum from the call, as the arena got louder and St. Louis fed off of the energy.

"They put pressure on us more and more," Lindell said. "Some would say they got lucky goals, but that's what happens when you shoot more and more. They played better in the third than us."

Video: DAL@STL: Janmark earns SHG after defensive miscue

The Blues scored on a Brayden Schenn shot that deflected off of Ben Bishop and went over his shoulder to tie the game at 4:27 of the third. Then, Carl Gunnarsson fired a wide shot that deflected off of teammate Sammy Blais and caught Bishop leaning at the 10:25 mark.

The Stars pushed hard for the tying goal, but the Blues held off and move to 1-0-1 on the young season.

"Both nights we had a chance to win, and unfortunately we haven't," said Bishop, who made 27 saves. "Obviously, it's frustrating, but it's a long season. Unfortunately tonight, the bounces went their way.

"I thought we could have easily won tonight. We haven't yet, but we're right there."

 

Scorers aren't scoring yet

Video: Stars can't finish on key chances against Blues

It's just two games, but the Stars have a total of three goals and none from the top four of Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin, Alexander Radulov and Joe Pavelski.

The quartet combined for 10 of the team's 30 shots on goal, but Montgomery said he would like to see more.

"We're not generating enough scoring chances for the talent those four possess," Montgomery said. "There should be more momentum being built, I feel. But we win as a team and we lose as a team, and right now we're losing as a team."

 

[PHOTO GALLERY: All the best shots from Stars' first road game of season]

 

Montgomery did say he felt the team as a whole was better than Thursday in a 2-1 loss against Boston.

"Yes, we did," he said. "Territorially, when we look at our own analytics and scoring chances, we had the better of the scoring chances tonight. We need to start finishing more plays."

Miro Heiskanen led the team with seven shots on goal and John Klingberg had five. Denis Gurianov had three shots on goal.

 

Caamano, Gardner make NHL debuts


With three Stars injured in the season opener, Dallas called up Nick Caamano and Rhett Gardner from the AHL and had each make his NHL debut. The duo skated out together with helmets off to begin warmups -- an NHL tradition called the rookie skate.

Gardner, 23, is from Moose Jaw, Sask. His parents drove from Moose Jaw to Calgary, picked up his sister and the three flew to St. Louis Friday to watch him play. Caamano grew up in the Toronto area, so his family and friends are driving to Detroit to see the Stars play against the Red Wings Sunday.

Caamano said they were told Friday morning, participated in the morning skate for the Texas Stars, and then flew to St. Louis Friday afternoon. Caamano said he was listening to music on his phone in Adam Mascherin's car driving to the rink and had to answer the phone when Stars assistant GM Scott White called.

Tweet from @DallasStars: .@RhettGardner22 and @nickcaamano10 getting ready for their @NHL debuts! #DALvsSTL | #GoStars pic.twitter.com/hptqWKmtnp

"I just tried to ease through this day with as little nerves as possible," Caamano said. "I just need to stick to what I know and do what I do best."

Montgomery said he liked what the two rookies brought. Gardner played 12:04 and Caamano played 11:18.

"I thought they brought great energy, that's why I started them in the second and third period," Montgomery said. "I thought they were doing a great job., They drew a penalty and got us on the power play to start the second, so they did a great job."

 

Blues believe Stars series was pivotal in winning Cup

Video: DAL Recap: Janmark, Heiskanen score in 3-2 loss

The Blues said Saturday that rallying past the Stars in the second round of the playoffs played a big role in winning the Stanley Cup.

The Stars had a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series, and St. Louis had to win Game 6 in Dallas before heading back to win Game 7 in double overtime.

"It was so close, it could have gone either way," said Blues center Ryan O'Reilly. "It was huge in the end. To find a way against them, it gave us a lot of belief that we could beat anyone. That's such a good team over there, and so tough to play against, so that was a huge building thing for us."

Blues coach Craig Berube said he felt beating the Stars was a stepping stone.

"Listen, they're a good hockey team and you've got a guy like Bishop in net, it's going to be a tough series. We knew that from the beginning," Berube said. "Seven games, it could have gone either way.

Asked if the Stars would look back on that series, Montgomery said: "No, not at all."

Klingberg added that the two teams play all of the time (twice already in the preseason), so he doesn't look back.

"It's the second game. It's going to be a long season," Klingberg said. "We play those guys all of the time, and it's always tight games."

 

Medical matters

Video: Bishop on tough loss to open road trip against Blues

Montgomery didn't have a lot of specifics on the team's injured players, but he did clarify a few things.

Blake Comeau, who suffered a lower-body injury after falling awkwardly when he was hit in the face with the puck Thursday, is out multiple weeks. Jason Dickinson, who suffered an upper-body injury on a cross-check Thursday, is out at least a week. And Roman Polak, who suffered a sternum injury when he fell face first into the boards, will be re-evaluated in a week. Polak was taken to the hospital, but was released Thursday night.

"Roman's sore," Montgomery said. "As you know him when he was here in St. Louis, he's a great man and tough as nails. He's going to be good. He's going to be OK."

Corey Perry, who suffered a fractured bone in his foot when he slipped on a stair just before training camp started, is probably a week away from skating. Once he gets on the ice, his return schedule will be updated.

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.

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