Home ice continues to be unkind to the Dallas Stars. The Stars liked how they played for the most part Sunday night, but they didn’t like the result – a 3-0 loss to the St. Louis Blues at American Airlines Center.
The loss was the eighth in the last ten home games (2-5-3) for the Stars and dropped them to 13-14-8 at the AAC this season.
“[The home ice thing] is crazy. We didn’t self-destruct here,” Stars coach Lindy Ruff said. “We are where we want to be. If you play like that, you’re going to win. That’s an easy place to be when you compete the way we did and defend the way we did. I don’t think we gave them a handful of chances all night. That’s working hard on both ends of the ice. We just missed some execution plays.”
The Stars outshot the Blues 28-21, but lost the special teams battle. The Stars were 0-6 on the power play, managing just two shots on the first four and a total of seven power play shots for the night.
"We couldn't really get in with clean entries for a while there, and then when we did we weren't really getting enough traffic in front,” said Stars defenseman Alex Goligoski. “We got a couple of looks, just not enough stuff around the net and not enough second chances."
The Blues cashed in on one of two power play chances, tallying on their lone power play shot. St. Louis scored the game’s first goal with the two teams playing four-on-four.
The loss snapped a three-game winning streak for the Stars, who fell to 32-28-10 on the season. They remain six points out of a playoff spot with 12 games remaining on their schedule.
“The next game coming out of this break is huge and every game after that is the biggest game of the year. That’s kind of how we have to look at it,” said Stars forward Colton Sceviour.
Jake Allen was superb in net for the Blues, stopping 28 shots for his fourth shutout of the season. The Blues, who lost 3-1 to Minnesota Saturday night, won for the fourth time in the last five games.
“We looked exhausted in the first and then we got better and better in the second and third. I have no idea why,” said Blues coach Ken Hitchcock. “I would be really interested to see who does a study on this because our best period by a mile was the third period. We started skating. We looked like we were energized. I can’t give you an answer on that, but two points is two points. We got out of the first period alive. It kind of woke everybody up and away.”
The Stars outshot the Blues 9-5 in a scoreless first period. Dallas had two power play chances, and the Blues had one. The Stars had an 8-7 shots advantage in the second and two power play chances, but weren’t able to cash in, and the game went to the third period still scoreless.
The Blues broke the tie at the 4:26 mark of the third when Vladimir Tarasenko took a pass from Paul Stastny, slipped around Jamie Benn and scored off a shot from the slot to put St. Louis up 1-0.
“I think it was a really good play by [Stastny]. I'm so happy when I saw my shot goes through,” Tarasenko said. “The main reason for me is it was an important goal for the team. I'm happy to get the two points.”
"It's one play. I lost my guy there, and it's in the back of the net,” Benn said. “I take the blame for that one. It's just not responsible in our end. I can't be giving a player like Tarasenko much time, where he shot from. That's unacceptable, and pretty much all my fault.”
The Stars had opportunities to tie, including two more power play chances. They also had a great chance when Allen turned over the puck, Vernon Fiddler centered it and it ended up sitting near the goal line. But Stastny cleared the puck, and the Blues maintained their 1-0 lead.
The Blues went on their second power play of the night with 3:49 remaining and cashed in to extend their lead. Alex Steen scored off a blast from the right circle with 3:15 left to make it a 2-0 game. T.J. Oshie scored an empty-net goalie with 1:46 remaining to seal the win for the Blues.
*The Stars were shutout for the second time this season.
*The Stars outshot the Blues 28-21.
*Jamie Benn led the Stars with four shots on goal.
*Brett Ritchie led Dallas with six hits.
*The Stars won 39 of 69 faceoffs (57 percent).
*Vernon Fiddler won 12 of 19 (63 percent). Shawn Horcoff won 9 of 17 (53 percent). Jason Spezza won 8 of 14 (57 percent). Cody Eakin won 7 of 15 (47 percent).
*Alex Goligoski led Dallas with 25:03 of ice time.
*Dallas defenseman John Klingberg missed his third straight game with an upper-body injury. Stars coach Lindy Ruff said he expects Klingberg to be ready for Thursday’s game against Pittsburgh.
*Stars forward Ryan Garbutt was a healthy scratch for a third straight game.
Jamie Benn – Cody Eakin – Tyler Seguin
Antoine Roussel – Jason Spezza – Ales Hemsky
Patrick Eaves – Vernon Fiddler – Colton Sceviour
Curtis McKenzie – Shawn Horcoff – Brett Ritchie
Jyrki Jokipakka – Alex Goligoski
Jamie Oleksiak – Jason Demers
Patrik Nemeth – Jordie Benn
Scratched: Ryan Garbutt
Injured: John Klingberg (upper body), Trevor Daley (lower body), Travis Moen (upper body), Valeri Nichushkin (hip)
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club. Mark Stepneski is an independent writer whose posts on DallasStars.com reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow Mark on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.