Hockey is a full contact game that often is decided by little things, minutia…granularity. The difference between a point earned and/or points (plural) secured can be a very slim margin indeed. A save here. A powerplay goal there. You know, details.
Friday night, the Stars rallied from 2 goals down in the 3rd on home ice to…lose in overtime, to division rival Colorado. The game prior at AAC they lost 2-1 in a Shootout, to division rival Winnipeg. (Top 3 teams in Central Div. make the playoffs.)
The last road game played the Stars got frustrated by the shot-blocking Canadiens and fell to the Habs in Montreal in a game they couldof/shouldof secured a point.
Close - Only good in hand-grenades and horseshoes.
So here’s my observation; the Stars don’t win enough in overtime at home nor get to overtime enough times on the road. This lack of “loser points” and “second points” has greatly contributed to them missing the playoffs in recent years - ironically by a similarly wafer-thin margin.
Take into consideration the lack of losses in overtime on the road. In the past 113 road games the Stars have only 7 points to show for getting to OT on foreign ice yet ultimately losing in either the 4 on 4 overtime frame or in a Shootout. Seven! (Zero in the first five road losses this season). I don’t really like the idea of getting something for losing (Other than tough lessons) but it is what it is.
At home, the Stars have a record of 98-65-25 over the past five seasons. That’s 25 “losses” in overtime or shootouts, five a year, twenty-five achievable points in total. Add the regulation losses and the “past 60 minutes” losses together and the team has won 98 and ‘lost’ 90 at home in that five year span. That’s eight measly games over .500…Sheesh. (If wondering, they were 79-38-6 over previous three seasons at home)
Yes, yes, I know they’ve also won games in overtime both at home and on the road but it just seems like a few more heroics in OT at American Airlines Center or a feel-good loss here and there on the road would have interrupted this five-year playoff drought.
If this current group can cobble together a few more feel good losses as they trek all over North America and “find a way to win” a smidge more on home ice it will tell me that they’ve turned a very important corner. The corner of Find-a-Way and Make-a-Way.