As strange as this sounds, these last two games might show just how important goaltending has been for this team. Yes, in getting poor goaltending for two games, the Stars have been shelled. It was 7-4 in Calgary on Friday. It was 7-1 in Vancouver on Monday.
So is this part of the old adage that goaltending is 90 percent of the game...except when it's bad goaltending, then it's 100 percent.
Or is this a clear display that this team has been making mistakes and the great goaltending has been covering it up?
It's probably somewhere in the middle. But I will say that when Kari Lehtonen allowed a terribly soft goal over his glove just 1:18 into the game, it did suck some wind out of the Stars' sails. And when he was unable to turn away some of the shots he has turned away in his previous 6-0-1 run, it affected how the Stars played the remainder of the game. You stay ahead or stay close, and you are allowed to play with poise and patience. You get behind, and you choose to play with panic.
That's just how it goes in this game.
"We have some things to clean up, that's for sure,'' captain Brenden Morrow said. ``It's not just another loss...we really took it on the chin. I think we were amped up, and that might have been part of the problem with taking penalties. We wanted to get off to a good start, but we gave them power play opportunities, and with the skill they have, they're going to make you pay."
Dallas was fired up because the game was between two of the best in the Western Conference. What's more, they had been sitting in Vancouver for two days waiting for the game, and that probably didn't help. But these are things that happen in the NHL, and these are things that good teams _ and good goaltenders _ have to be able to handle. Lehtonen was bad, and that didn't really allow the Stars the chance to come back. Andrew Raycroft was bad in Calgary, and the same thing happened.
It would be easy to blame either side, but the bottom line is the Stars have been good this year when they are on the same page and pulling on the rope at the same time. The goalies have done a good job of bailing this team out, and the team has responded by making key plays at key times in a game to get wins for the goalies. While it has only been lost for two games, they have to try to find that chemistry again by Wednesday's game against Edmonton. They need to avoid a three-game losing streak heading into the All-Star Break.
"You can't really explain it. Sometimes you have really bad games," coach Marc Crawford said. "You're going to have nights like that. We know we were stinky tonight, we just have to throw it in the garbage and move forward."
But, in moving forward, they need to have a plan.
"Seven goals is a little bit too much, but we'll stick together," Mike Ribeiro said. "We need to bounce back. We get a win next game, we'll forget about this one. Details of the game hurt us today."
Benn, Wandell hurt: Both Jamie Benn and Tom Wandell left the game in the second period and did not return. Crawford declined to identify an injury for either and said their status would be updated on Tuesday.
Benn had a big hit with Vancouver defenseman Alex Edler at center ice. Wandell suffered his injury after a big hit by Vancouver forward Aaron Volpatti.
Lehtonen pulled: Crawford pulled Lehtonen after the score got to 7-1. Andrew Raycroft came in and made three saves to close out the game.
Lehtonen was 6-0-1 in his previous seven starts with a 1.70 GAA and .946 save percentage.
``You try to learn when things go well and when things don't go well,'' Lehtonen said. ``That was one of those games where things didn't start very well, and I wasn't able to bounce back. It's hard to take, but I have to learn from it and build from it and try to come back and play well the next game.''