The Dallas Stars had some key players out of the lineup Saturday night, were able to make a game of it against the St. Louis Blues but couldn’t get any points, falling 4-3 in regulation at American Airlines Center.
The tilt against St. Louis capped off a two-game homestand for the Stars (2-2-1) against two of the top teams in the Western Conference in the Blues and the Chicago Blackhawks. Both ended up being one-goal losses for the Stars, the Chicago game going to overtime.
“I learned we have some work to do as a group and to get a little bit more efficient on the ice,” Stars coach Glen Gulutzan said when asked what he learned from the two games. “But I also learned that we’ve got some young players that are ready for more. We might have to go through some growing pains but at the end of the day, they did well. I thought tonight work ethic wise, we worked hard.”
The Stars were without forwards Jaromir Jagr (back) and Derek Roy (groin). Goaltender Kari Lehtonen sat out because of a minor tweak. Jamie Benn was still unavailable because immigration paperwork needs to be processed. Cody Eakin centered the top line. Tomas Vincour and Colton Sceviour, who both were with the Texas Stars earlier in the week, played their first NHL games this season. Vincour scored a goal and Sceviour registered an assist, his first NHL point.
“The young guys stepped up,” said Stars captain Brenden Morrow. “Some top end guys weren’t in our lineup. I’m pretty proud of the effort that the guys put in. It’s a real tough team to play against and we held right in there until the end.”
The Stars fell behind early when Blues defenseman Wade Redden scored from the point 5:31 into the game. But Vincour scored 26 seconds later to tie the game, banging home the rebound of his own shot. and Michael Ryder tallied on the power play with 7:20 left in the period to put the Stars up 2-1.
The Blues won the game in the second period, scoring three goals in an 8:53 span. David Perron tied the game at the 10:51 mark, coming out from behind the net and beating Cristopher Nilstorp with a shot from the left circle. Chirs Stewart put St. Louis ahead less than six minutes later. The Blues extended the lead to 4-2 with 16 seconds left in the period when Vladimir Tarasenko picked off a Trevor Daley pass and set up Perron, who scored from the slot.
“We played in our zone too much,” said Stars defenseman Alex Goligoski. “They were kind of all over us for a 10 to 12 minute span there and they got a couple. A little bit of a push late but it wasn’t enough. We’ve got to get out of our d-zone, I think that’s going to be a focus of ours moving forward.”
It was a rough period for Daley, who was on the ice for all three St. Louis goals in the period and was a minus-four on the night.
“Personally it was just a bad night for myself,” said Daley. “I thought I struggled defensively out there. You can’t have nights off, especially this time of the year. “
The Stars made a game of it in the third period. Morrow centered a puck from the corner to Ryan Garbutt, who scored from the slot 2:24 into the third to make it a 4-3 game. The Stars had a flurry of chances late, including a Ray Whitney shot that hit the post with 1:06 remaining, but they could never get the equalizer.
“Well, you don’t get points for trying in this league,” said Gulutzan. “We wish we could have gotten one in the end. We got a great chance. We hit an inside post there. For our young guys, I thought a lot of them played hard tonight and handled their minutes against a real good hockey club.”
*Stars goaltender Cristopher Nilstorp left the game in the third period with a groin injury. He is listed as day-to-day. Kari Lehtonen played the final part of the third period.
*The Stars were outshot 32-23 in the game. The Stars are allowing 37.0 shots per game this season, which ranks 30th in the league.
*The Stars, who had given up one 5-on-5 goal through the first four games, gave up four 5-0n-5 goals Saturday night.
*The Stars were 1-4 on the power play. They are 3-16 (18.8%) on the season.
*Michael Ryder’s goal was the 200th over his NHL career.
*Saturday’s attendance was 17,131.