Quite honestly, I don't think the last two games were the worst thing that could happe to the Stars
On one hand, they lost 7-3 and 4-1 to Detroit and Vancouver, and now feel they have a lot to work on and a lot to improve upon.
On the other, they had long stretches against of great play against two of the best teams in the NHL, and they have to feel some encouragement about that.
I walk out of these two games feeling like the first half of the season wasn't a fluke. I walk out feeling that the Stars actually can play with the best teams in the league right now...if they stay on task and do
the things they have worked all year on.
``We all go into the season hoping and praying, but now we know we can play well,'' center Steve Ott said. ``We’re not surprising cayone anymore, but I think Vancouer will leaves
knowing we’re a hard team to play against.''
And coach Marc Crawford said he also liked a lot of the things he saw.
“I give our guys full credit, nobody quit, everybody kept battling throughout most of the match, and we did pretty much most of the things that we wanted to,” Crawford said. “We got lots of chances, hit a number of posts, we battled and maybe
we can get a little stronger in our net presence and finishing off plays, but we certainly can’t look at this game and say, ‘throw it all out.’ There was a lot of good stuff in there.”
But don't confuse encouraged with satisfied. In allowing three power play goals and getting behind early to Vancouver, the Stars know they have stuff to work on.
“I think we were just a bounce away from it,” Brenden Morrow said. “We were an inch away from it most of the night and they got three power play goals, so that’s just not good enough. We did play good for stretches
of this game and the last game, we were just a second away from it lots of times, pucks around the net just a step away, and the same thing on our penalty kill. We worked hard, we scouted well, we knew what to expect - they’re world-class players, they’re
going to make some plays on you, but you can’t let them have the middle of the net like that. Those were some mistakes by us, but for the most part, I think we played pretty good.”
But he added that pretty good isn't good enough: “I think this is the part of the season where the good teams separate and we want to be part of that. So far we were on the losing end of the two. They’re good
teams and we played well, but we want results. We’re not happy just playing good in part of the game, we want the results from it.”
The Stars earlier in the season had troubles with the penalty kill, and in the last two games they have allowed teams to go 5-for-10. Steve Ott said the penalty killers take that as a challenge.
``Our penalty kill was awful. If our penalty kill was good, we would have had a chance to win,'' Ott said.
And Crawford already was scouting what went wrong on the PK and how to improve it.
“I think tonight we played a pretty strong game, but we had some adversity and tonight it came in the form of penalties that were self-inflicted for the most part and we didn’t have any confidence
in our penalty kill,” Crawford said. “I thought that maybe we were reading their press clippings about how good their power play is, and it seemed to me, we were back on our heels, and when we got aggressive on the penalty kill, I thought we killed much better.”
So now they have to go out and make the corrections and play better _ and I really think they will react positively to this Sunday at St. Louis.
“We got to work our way through it, everybody sticks together, it’s a great lesson for all of us to continue on,” Crawford said. “You don’t take
anything for granted, you take your points when you can get them, because you’re going to have bumps along the way. Now we got to enjoy tonight, cry ourselves to sleep and get ready to go against St. Louis, because that’s our next opportunity to get points
and we’re going to have to battle like crazy to get them.”