The tough thing about an 82-game NHL season is every game is not going to go your way.
The good thing is you don't have long to think about it.
The Stars didn't play horrible Sunday night in a 1-0 loss to Phoenix. They didn't play great.
The result was that they didn't really push the pace of the game, and they allowed Coyotes goalie Jason LaBarbera to have a great game. To be fair to the Stars, they had some very nice chances and created some great
shots from in tight. To be fair to LaBarbera, he made some fantastic saves, including twice on Loui Eriksson, and once apiece from Jamie Benn and Brenden Morrow.
These are among the Stars' top goal-scorers, so getting the puck to them in scoring position is more than half the battle in a game like this. Then, if the goal-scorers don't score or if the goalie makes a spectacular
save, you just have to take a deep breath and say you'll get them next time.
That's how Stars coach Marc Crawford saw it
“I think if you look at the chances in the game, they were probably pretty even,” Crawford said. “If you look at the execution in the game, it was even. Their goalie was outstanding, our goalie was really good. They
got the win because their goalie made a couple of unbelievable saves. We got the chances, but sometimes you get beat by a hot goaltender.”
“You want to finish every chance you get, but I think it’s more about getting opportunities and making sure you get pucks to the net,” Crawford added. “I thought we had as many chances as we normally get in a game and we had some outstanding ones. The
only difference was we didn’t score on any.”
And I would support that theory if it wasn't for the fact we have seen so much more from the Stars in recent games. Dallas seemed to wade into this game far too carefully. It didn't seize the moment at home, and it
probably got the results it deserved. If you were watching from the pressbox, it just seemed Phoenix was the better team on this night.
“We wanted to come out hard tonight and we didn’t really do that,” defenseman Stephane Robidas said. “We just got to try to bring more pucks to the net, get more traffic and just play more aggressively, get in on the forecheck and play tight
defensively. When we play effectively, that’s what we do. At home, we want to impose the tempo, you want to dictate the game, you don’t just want to go with the flow and play how the other team plays. When we don’t do that, we sometimes get into trouble and
that’s what happened tonight.”
Added winger James Neal: “We had some great opportunities to score, point-blank shots that could have went. It happens, but you got to let it go and focus on Nashville.”
That's probably the best attitude to have. The Stars have some tough games coming up, including home contests against division leaders Detroit and Vancouver, so they need to get back into a rhythm and get back to
playing the way they were earlier.
As much as this team had trouble stringing together wins last season, it also never was in an extended slump. That's something that needs to be seen as a real positive, and something that players can lean back on at a time like this.