Dallas Stars prospects got off to a slow start Friday night, and it cost them. The Stars fell behind 2-0 to the Detroit Red Wings and could never catch up, losing 4-2 at the NHL Prospect Tournament in Traverse City.
“We came out a bit slow,” said Stars center Taylor Peters, who assisted on Dallas’ first goal. “It’s their home ice and they are going to be really energetic, but I think as the game wore on we really made a good push at the end.”
Matej Paulovic and Jamie Oleksiak scored goals for the Stars, who fell to 1-1-0 in the tournament. Detroit improved to 2-0-0.
Dallas goaltender Philippe Desrosiers, a second round pick in this summer’s NHL Draft, stopped 25 of 28 shots.
“It was pretty good for my first game of the year,” Desrosiers said. “The third goal was a bad goal. I made a couple of key saves and I was happy with my game.”
“I thought he was patient and composed,” Stars goaltending coach Mike Valley said of Desrosiers. “His awareness out there was really good. He handled the puck really well and kept things simple. He looked calm and composed in there.”
The Stars found themselves pinned down early in the game and unable to generate much in the way of offense. The Red Wings opened the scoring at 7:14 of the first period when Martin Frk scored from close range off the rush.
The Stars had a couple of chances to tie. Cole Ully had an open side of the net, but the puck bounced over his stick. Alex Chiasson had a shot ring off the post late in the first.
Detroit made it a 2-0 game when Riley Sheahan tallied on the power play at 11:39 of the second.
The Stars scored less than four minutes later when Peters forced a turnover on the forecheck and set up Paulovic, who scored from the slot at the 15:34 mark of the second period.
“That’s a lot of my game, getting in on the forecheck and making sure the defenders don’t have an easy time getting the puck out,” Peters said. “I was able to strip the puck and Pauly made a good call at the front of the net, I was able to make the pass and he made a good shot.”
The Red Wings got their two-goal lead back early in the third period when Teemu Pulkkinen scored off a blast from the right circle off the rush.
“That was a bad goal,” said Desrosiers. “Stuff happens.”
The Stars had a great chance to cut into the lead a couple minutes later when Detroit took back-to-back penalties, giving the Stars 35 seconds of five-on-three power play time. The Stars couldn’t cash in on the two-man advantage, but they did score on the five-on-four to make it a 3-2 game when Oleksiak’s blast from the point deflected off traffic and into the net with 11:32 remaining in the game.
The Stars couldn’t get the equalizer. Matej Stransky took a cross-checking penalty with 1:45 left in the game, leaving the Stars shorthanded. The Stars did pull Desrosiers late in the game to make it a five-on-five situation, but Detroit was awarded a goal when Dallas forward Curtis McKenzie pulled down Detroit’s Andreas Athanasiou as he had a clear breakaway on the empty net.
Notes: Line juggling
*With the Stars falling behind and struggling to generate offense in Friday’s game, coach Willie Desjardins did some line juggling. He moved Curtis McKenzie back on a line with Brendan Ranford and Brett Ritchie. Those three players were effective in Thursday’s 5-2 win over St. Louis.
McKenzie had started the game on a line with Nick Paul and Gemel Smith. Matej Stransky, who started the game playing with Ranford and Ritchie, moved to the line with Paul and Smith in the second period.
*There are no games at the tournament on Saturday. The Stars play the Minnesota Wild Sunday afternoon.