The goals aren’t coming right now for the Texas Stars, and neither are the wins. The Stars suffered their third straight loss and their sixth in the last seven games, falling 3-0 to the Toronto Marlies at Cedar Park Center Friday night.
The Stars, who have scored just three goals over their last three games, outshot Toronto 31-17, but were unable to get a puck past Marlies netminder Jussi Rynnas.
“We battled hard. That’s what we wanted coming into the game, we wanted to come out really strong and make sure that we set our tempo to the game. I think we did that,” said Texas captain Maxime Fortunus. “We got a lot of opportunities, a lot of traffic on net and, let’s face it, we didn’t put the puck in the net. The goalie was good on the other side.”
The offensive numbers aren’t good for the Stars, who are now 3-6-0-0 on the season. They have scored just 16 goals in nine games this season for an average of 1.78 per game. They’ve been shut out twice in the last five games. Also, they haven’t scored a goal in the last 106:12.
“They are not going in. You have to make them go in, you can’t hope they’ll go in. We had chances around the net, but we just didn’t bear down. We just didn’t finish,” said Texas coach Willie Desjardins. “You get streaks every once in a while in hockey where that happens. You’ve just got to find a way to break it. Nobody is going to break it but you. You are the only ones that can do anything about it. We can be frustrated, we can be disappointed but it really doesn’t matter. Tomorrow is a new night.”
The Stars got off to a good start in the game Friday night, registering seven of the first eight shots but the Marlies scored a questionable goal to take a 1-0 lead. Leo Komarov banged a rebound past Nilstorp at the 14:01 mark, but the net appeared to be off its moorings when the puck crossed the goal line.
“He (the referee) said our player knocked the net off, so he didn’t want to review it,” said Fortunus. “It’s up to the referee’s discretion, we can’t argue about it and we had to stick to our game plan.”
Said Desjardins: “He just said he made the call, he saw it and there was no need to review it. That’s his call.”
The Marlies extended their lead to 2-0 in the second period, cashing in on the front end of a 4:00 penalty on Texas defenseman Patrik Nemeth for high sticking. Spencer Abbott’s centering pass from the corner deflected off the skate of Fortunus and onto the stick of Komarov, who scored from the slot at the 15:20 mark.
The Marlies put the game away with another power play goal late in the third period when Ryan Hamilton got behind the Texas defense, broke in on net and slipped the puck past Nilstorp with 6:56 left in the game.
A minute later Rynnas made his best save of the night, lashing out the glove to deny a bid from the slot by Stars forward Colton Sceviour and taking away the Stars’ best shot to get a puck in the net on this night.
Scratches: Vause, Hedden, Sloan