Dallas Stars: Mistakes push them further from playoff contention

Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

The Dallas Stars are on the ropes. They sit four points behind Nashville with only three games remaining. If Nashville gains more than one point in their final two games, Dallas will be eliminated. Meanwhile, Dallas essentially has to go 3-0-0 to give themselves a chance.

While the Stars have been on the outside looking in for a while now, they have recently made their road much tougher. They are in the middle of a five-game losing streak after losing yet again to the Tampa Bay Lightning Wednesday night. The team is running on fumes and battling through injuries but still playing well enough to win these games. The big problem is that they continuously give the opponents gifts that more often than not end up being fatal for themselves.

Dallas Stars’ mistakes could cost them the playoffs

On April 29th, Dallas was in the middle of a fierce battle with the Lightning on the road. They were keeping pace and playing a fairly even game looking to win in Tampa for the first time this season. In the blink of an eye, two horrible mistakes turned into a 2-0 Stars deficit.

First, a bad exchange between Jamie Oleksiak and Blake Comeau gave Ondrej Palat a mini break- away from the top of the circle. Then, on the Stars powerplay, John Klingberg fumbled a puck up the ice and Blake Coleman rushed in all alone shorthanded. Klingberg took a penalty and Coleman scored on a penalty shot.

"“The two glaring mistakes end up in the back of the net, and that’s the game,” said Stars head coach Rick Bowness."

Brayden Point added an empty-net goal as Tampa Bay walked away with the 3-0 win.

In the most vital matchup of the season on Saturday night, Dallas watched the Nashville Predators skate off the ice with another overtime victory at their expense. After a bad penalty took all momentum from Dallas in overtime, Jamie Benn tried a risky pass up ice to an already fatigued Blake Comeau. It was the perfect example of a high-risk, low-reward play. The pass was intercepted and Erik Haula converted on a rebound seconds later for the 1-0 win for Nashville.

Fast forward to Monday night against the Florida Panthers and the theme continued. After a high-scoring battle, the teams headed to overtime tied 4-4. In the extra period, both teams had their chances before Joe Pavelski hooked onto Aleksander Barkov giving Florida the 4 on 3 power play in overtime. As they did a few weeks before, the Panthers converted as Barkov blasted a one-timer past Jake Oettinger and Dallas skated off with their 14th loss past regulation this season.

Unfortunately, for Dallas, it did not end there. Wednesday night in Tampa Bay, the Stars once again hurt themselves more than they could overcome. Two minutes into the game, Miro Heiskanen turned a puck over in the neutral zone and Tyler Johnson snuck a wrist shot past Oettinger for the early 1-0 lead. In the second period, after three successful penalty kills, Jamie Benn had his worst shift in weeks.

After turning the puck over in the offensive zone to kill the cycle, he passed the puck directly to the Tampa defenseman in his own zone and then took a high-sticking penalty seconds later to put the Lightning right back on the power play.

The fourth penalty was too much to overcome as Alex Kilorn scored on the crease to give Tampa Bay the lead again. This was a backbreaker in so many ways as Dallas was finally handling the Lighting power play that had dominated them since the Stanley Cup Final in 2020.

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It only got worse for Dallas from there. Seconds before the end of the period, Esa Lindell did not see Brayden Point crashing down on the forecheck as he easily stole the puck off Lindell’s stick and made a slick move to put Tampa Bay up 3-1 going into the third period.

It sounds like a broken record but that would not be the final mistake of the game for the Stars. After Andrej Sekera’s goal had given them hope, Roope Hintz took it away. With the puck in his own zone, Hintz had no pressure on him as he threw a soft pass off the glass that was easily kept in the zone. Almost immediately, a shot from the point found the back of the net, and Tampa had restored their two-goal lead. This one was the dagger as Tampa added two empty-net goals to take the game 6-2.

"“When you’re playing a team like this team, you can’t give them much and you can’t give them goals,” Bowness said. “The fourth goal we had total control of the puck and we don’t get it out. I’m just disappointed that three of those goals were when we had control of the puck. We had complete momentum, lots of energy, lots of life, and then we give them the fourth goal. It’s unfortunate.”"

Dallas is in a tough position and is doing its best to make it even tougher. It is understandable that they are not at their best with all of the injuries and games they have been playing but simply handing themselves losses is guaranteed to eliminate them from the playoffs. The team is staying positive despite frustration boiling over in the final minutes against Tampa Bay.

"“We’re fine,” Bowness said when asked to give the temperature of his team. “We’re very frustrated. Guys were really upset at the end of the game because they know we’ve played better than that. But you put that aside. We talked after the game. `Okay, we’re still in it. We’ve got a game Friday night, that’s our game in hand, we have to win it.'”"

The Stars have only three games remaining to change their fate.

Must Read. The Dallas Stars just keep on believing. light

Buckle up.

  • Published on 05/07/2021 at 12:29 PM
  • Last updated at 05/07/2021 at 12:29 PM