In their first game since trading forwards Jaromir Jagr and Derek Roy, the Dallas Stars lost 5-2 at Anaheim Wednesday night.
With some new young players in the mix and a lineup that featured eight players 23-years-old or younger, the Stars showed a lot of spark at times, but couldn’t match the execution of the highly skilled Ducks.
“I thought all the guys had a lot of energy and tried to do all the little things right and I think we did that for the most part,” said forward Lane MacDermid, who played his first game as a Star after being acquired from Boston in the Jagr deal. “They just made some good plays and executed on them.”
“We battled hard and if we could have put a couple in in the first maybe it would have changed the outcome of the game,” said forward Alex Chiasson, who made his NHL debut Wednesday night. “This was a tough loss, but we’ve got to look forward and keep grinding.”
The loss was the third straight for the Stars, who fell to 16-17-3 on the season. They are currently in 13th place in the Western Conference, four points out of a playoff spot.
“We worked,” said Stars coach Glen Gulutzan. “What I didn’t like was our battle level along the walls. I thought our D needed to win more battles along the boards. We all did. And we let them get to our net a couple times a little too easy in my opinion. But we worked hard, we were direct and we just didn’t capitalize on our opportunities.”
The Stars got off to a scrambly start in the game, but came on strong as the first period moved along. They fell behind 1-0 at the 11:44 mark of the first when the Ducks scored on a delayed penalty call on the Stars. Ryan Getzlaf came on as the extra attacker and set up a wide open Radek Dvorak, who scored from close range.
The Stars had a good chance to tie midway through the second, but Ducks goaltender Viktor Fasth made a slick save on a Ryan Garbutt shot from the left circle. A little more than 30 seconds later, the Ducks went on the game’s first power play and scored to make it a 2-0 game. A Ryan Getzlaf pass bounced off Stars defenseman Brenden Dillon’s stick right to Teemu Selanne, who fired a shot by Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen at 11:33 of the second.
The Ducks made it a 3-0 game late in the second when Peter Holland won a puck battle behind the net and slipped the puck to Kyle Palmieri, who then drove the net and put the puck past Lehtonen at 16:38 of the second.
The Stars got on the board 2:48 into the third when Erik Cole drove the net, took a pass from Vernon Fiddler and beat Fasth with a shot from close range. That goal gave the Stars some jump, but Getzlaf scored with 9:30 left in the game to stem the Stars’ push.
Getzlaf, who had left the game earlier in the period with a lower body injury, took a pass from Corey Perry and scored off a backhand shot from the left circle. Getlzaf then called it a night.
“I listen to a lot of media, and a lot of people all talk about another guy back east about MVP,” Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said, referring to Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby. “I don’t know if anybody’s been more important to their team than our guy. He got hurt a little bit, came back out, and when he scored the goal, I said, ‘That’s it for you. Let’s rest it here.’”
MacDermid scored his first NHL goal with 1:24 remaining to make it a 4-2 game, taking a pass from Garbutt and tallying off a shot from the left circle.
“It’s pretty exciting for me,” MacDermid said. “I don’t get too many of those, so to get that first one out of the way this early feels pretty good.”
Andrew Cogliano scored into an empty net with four seconds left to make it a 5-2 final.
*Vernon Fiddler and Ryan Garbutt both returned from injuries Wednesday night. Fiddler missed two games with a charley horse. Garbutt missed nine games with a hand injury.
*The Stars have given up 22 goals over the last five games (4.4 per game).
*The Stars did not have a power play in the game. It was the first time this season the Stars haven’t had a power play in a game and the first time since March 16, 2012 (vs. Chicago).
*Lane MacDermid scored his first NHL goal on the 31st anniversary of his father’s first NHL goal. Paul MacDermid, playing for the Hartford Whalers, scored his first NHL goal against the New York Rangers on April 3, 1982.