I know a lot of you will disagree with this, but I don't think the Stars were horrible per se.
Yes, they ended the game getting beat in every statistical category and they were annihilated in a 5-0 loss to Colorado, but I do think there is a lesson in this game to be learned.
The Stars were beat because the Avalanche came out and put pressure on for every shift in the first period. In a strange way, Colorado was lucky it had so many unproven players in the lineup tonight because of their injury situation. The kids (and the grinders who have been fighting for just such a chance) were phenomenal. They pushed the pace, they skated hard, they were on top of the Stars every second of every play.
And the Stars reacted negatively. They were shocked at first, they caught their breath after a while, but then they broke and fell apart.
It's exactly what the Stars did to Buffalo and Pittsburgh and Phoenix. After getting some huge messages sent in losses to Los Angeles an Anaheim, the Stars found an inner hunger and an inner drive, and they forced bad games from the opposition. Colorado did the same thing tonight.
"I think they outworked us, they came at us really hard right from the first shift," said defenseman Stephane Robidas. "They had a really hard forecheck there, they're a good-skating team and they used it to their advantage. We had trouble tonight, we couldn't match their speed and that's why they came out on top. They forced a lot of turnovers just by their work ethic, they were just relentless and we just couldn't get anything going."
Again, this isn't to say the Stars were unprepared or lazy or unprofessional. They ran into a team that had a ton of purpose, and they did not respond well. You see it every night in the NHL. And when a team smells blood these days, it keeps pouring it on until it sees you die.
So a game that was ``not going the Stars way'' completely fell apart with a short-handed goal and a 20-8 edge in shots against in the third period.
"We knew it was going to be a tough outing," coach Marc Crawford said. "We got behind and it just didn't seem like we had an awful lot going for us once we did get behind. The key goal was obviously the shorthanded one, that kind of sealed our fate and the guys kind of recognized, 'Okay, maybe we are playing three in four.' We've got to continue to try and get better in these games. I know there are a lot of disappointed guys in there. We didn't get it done tonight, but we can still learn from it. Full marks to them for the win, their fourth line was the difference for them."
The keys to victory for Colorado: Philippe Dupuis, Kevin Porter and David Van Der Gulick.
They weren't more skilled, they just worked harder.
And that means that the 5-0 loss provides a very valuable lesson. You work harder than the other team _ every shift _ and you have a really good chance to blowing them out. You don't, and it can easily go against you. Kind of simple, eh?
"I thought that we kept the game close, we wanted a close game," Crawford said. "Even at 2-0, we still generated some energy, we had a couple of decent shifts, but nothing really sustained tonight. It's a work in progress, we have to learn the lessons that we can from this game and keep advancing them forward. We're going to be in games where it's three in four nights again. We didn't pass tonight and there's lot of reasons we didn't, but one encouraging sign is how disappointed the guys are because they want to be good in these areas."