It's easy to knee-jerk to the negative side on the Stars _ especially when the situation is so tense with trying to make the playoffs _ but you have to give this team tons of credit.
They played a heck of a game against the best team in the Eastern Conference, and they came out with an important point in the standings after a 3-2 shootout loss. Sure they wanted two points, and they did pretty much everything they could to get those two points, but give credit to a very strong defensive effort from the Flyers and also a big game in goal from Flyers net-minder Sergei Bobrovsky.
So they get one point. Deal with it.
If you look back, the Stars' last clunker was a 5-2 loss at Vancouver on Feb. 19. That means they have played 13 games against mostly playoff teams, and have been competitive in all of them. They officially have a 7-3-3 record in that span _ or a .654 points percentage. That's pretty darn good.
Mix in the fact the Stars lost Nicklas Grossman to a lower body injury in the first period and Karlis Skrastins to an undisclosed injury in the second period, and Dallas almost beat the Flyers while playing with four defensemen (Alex Goligoski logged 32:07 and had a goal, while Stephane Robidas logged 31:19 and had a goal).
Could they have scored on the power play (which is now 2-for-27 in the last eight games)? Definitely. They had some great chances, and their best players simply could not beat Bobrovsky. That has been a consistent problem this season.
Could they have done better in the shootout? Sure, but the shooters even after a 1-for-6 night rank fourth in the NHL this season in shootout scoring percentage at 37.8 percent. Could Marc Crawford have picked differently? Yep, but even Brandon Segal and Stephane Robidas had nice efforts.
Bottom line, it's easy to criticize and pick and think that this team could be doing more. But you have to give them credit for overcoming adversity, for making every game exciting and for putting fans on the edge of their seats pretty much every night.
Seriously, the San Jose loss came down to two power plays late in the game that resulted in two empty-net short-handed goals. The Kings' loss was a sucker punch in the final seconds. The Flames and Ducks' losses were incredibly exciting.
This is an entertainment business, and this team has been incredibly entertaining. Don't you take that over the past couple of seasons?
The great thing about all of the fans' heartbreak is the Stars feel it too. They are down after these losses. They want to be able to make the big plays. They want to score on the power play or make the save in the shootout. They want to make the playoffs desperately.
And they are drawing motivation from these games.
It's tough to ask too much more than that.
Injury update: Stars coach Marc Crawford said he could not update the injury status of Nicklas Grossman or Karlis Skrastins after the game. With the Stars not playing again until Wednesday against Anaheim, Crawford and the training staff have some time to evaluate the injuries. Grossman was playing in his fifth game since returning from an 11-game hiatus caused by a hip injury. It would be easy to speculate that the hip drove him from the game in the first period, but until the Stars decide to announce what the problem is, we really don't know.
Skrastins has played in 68 of 72 games this season, so he had no real nagging injury he was dealing with. He's been an ironman for most of his career, so there's no real guess on what might be going on with him. Again, we'll probably find out Monday when they return to practice in Frisco.
By the way, Loui Eriksson skated in the morning, but there is no update on what he might be dealing with either on his upper body injury.
Adam Burish has not skated, but he might this week, Crawford said in the morning.
Stars get solid crowd: The Stars had their third biggest crowd of the season at 17,852. That trails only the two sellouts against Detroit (Oct. 14 and Dec. 29). Now, like the Detroit game, a lot of the crowd was wearing the visiting sweater, but that's just part of the NHL right now.
A little surprising that there have only been two sellouts the entire season. We'll see how the crowds are the rest of the season.
Lehtonen slipping in shootouts: Kari Lehtonen entered the season as one of the best shootout goalies in league history (or at least since they started the tie-breaker in 2005). He was 21-8 in wins and losses and had stopped 71 of 94 or a .755 save percentage. This season, Lehtonen is 3-6 in shootouts and has stopped 16 of 28 or a .571 save percentage.
The Stars as a team rank fourth in shooter scoring percentage at 37.8 percent. They rank 23rd in team shootout save percentage at .618. They are 5-6 overall in shootouts.