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Stars, with OT loss to Canucks, push limits of what it means to be in a slump

DALLAS — At what level does a slump go from being simply a slump to changing into an id? There isn’t any actual reply to the query however the Stars are pushing it.

Dropping to the reeling Canucks, who hadn’t overwhelmed a staff that was in the highest three of their division for the reason that Hurricanes on Jan. 15, would be a lot extra surprising, had the Stars not misplaced to the Blackhawks and Blue Jackets throughout the final 10 days. These three groups make up half of the underside six in the NHL and the Stars went 0-1-2 in opposition to them in this latest stretch.

“I assumed our first quarter-hour of the sport was perhaps as poorly as we performed all 12 months,” Stars head coach Pete DeBoer stated. “You’re going to have video games like that. I don’t know the reply, touring again (from Vegas), emotional win in Vegas, I don’t know. Lucky to get a level. Transfer ahead and we’ve obtained to be a lot higher subsequent sport.”

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The outcomes have been simply as irritating as the method. On Monday, the woeful Stars energy play was watching its drugs, the Canucks penalty kill. The Canucks rank useless final in the NHL — by a significantly huge margin — on the penalty kill at 66.7 %. The Stars’ energy play — ranked second in the NHL by the primary 38 video games at 28.8 % however has been thirty first in the league since Jan. 1 at 10.9 % — obtained 5 alternatives. The highest unit had all of its members and the second unit was injected with new blood with Evgenii Dadonov added to the combo. In 5 energy play alternatives in opposition to that penalty kill unit, the Stars scored as soon as.

The scoring total has been remarkably lackluster. After the primary half of the season provided a mirage of years of scoring troubles fading into the abyss, 2023 has introduced them again to the forefront. The Stars are twenty eighth in the NHL in scoring for the reason that calendar flipped to 2023. Towards the Canucks, although that they had 4 targets, solely two got here at even energy. As well as to the one power-play objective, there was a short-handed breakaway objective by Jamie Benn. These are supposed to be cherry-on-top scores, not what’s driving the staff offense.

We are saying seemingly sport after sport how the Stars outplayed the opposition — they usually did as soon as once more in opposition to the Canucks. The analytics are frankly jaw-dropping. In accordance to Pure Stat Trick, the Stars held a 5.02-2.07 anticipated targets benefit and in accordance to MoneyPuck, it was a 5.15-2.07 benefit for Dallas. There’s little question that the Stars dominated, besides they didn’t.

What introduced some further sting to Monday’s loss isn’t simply that the Stars performed effectively — in phrases of producing possibilities — it was that Vancouver seemed actively disinterested in successful. They’d careless penalties, typically one after one other in a quick period. Their puck motion was sloppy for many of the sport they usually have been with out one of their high gamers in JT Miller.

When any staff arms you a sport on a platter the best way the Canucks did, something quick of a win is unacceptable. When it’s a staff as dangerous because the Canucks, the expectation ought to be a easy experience. That’s why the extra time sequence on Monday night time hardly even issues. Sure, it price the Stars a worthwhile level and, in that regard, it’s essential that the Canucks dragged the Stars to extra time at 4-4. The sport had no enterprise reaching that juncture. Irrespective of what occurred in the additional interval, this was not going to be a constructive efficiency for the Stars.

All through most of the Stars’ two-month slump, they’ve no less than been in a position to flip to their protection. On Monday night time, they deserted that as effectively. Jani Hakanpää pointed to a lack of communication and dangerous positioning. DeBoer added in a lack of execution as to why the play in entrance of Jake Oettinger was so poor.

Dropping to three bottom-feeders would paint the image of a dangerous hockey staff however no person would ever dare accuse the Stars of being that simplistic. Previously three weeks, they’ve had the aforementioned losses but additionally have wins excessive staff in the convention, the Golden Knights, and over their potential first-round opponent, the Minnesota Wild. Additionally they performed two of the hardest groups in the NHL, the Lightning and Bruins, down to the wire.

The standings are beginning to change into a issue as effectively. The Stars are nonetheless a fairly secure wager to make the postseason, thanks largely to a Western Convention that has to ship eight groups, regardless of how worthy they really are. However with their 3-0 win Monday night time over the Golden Knights, the Avalanche took over first place in the division by factors proportion. The defending champions have gained six video games in a row and nonetheless have two head-to-head matchups in opposition to the Stars.

Dallas can level to the extra time struggles and say that it gained’t matter in the postseason. They will level to the losses to dangerous groups and say these groups gained’t be in the postseason whereas touting their competitiveness in opposition to groups that can be there. However the Stars are exhibiting a lot of points that can carry over. Are these points half of this prolonged slump or are they changing into the staff id? The reply is as murky as it’s been at any level this season.

Fast hitters

• To be clear, the 5 targets in opposition to Oettinger weren’t his fault. The protection in entrance of Oettinger failed him. Nonetheless, it’s value declaring that coming into the sport, the staff Oettinger had the worst profession save proportion in opposition to was his .857 in opposition to the Canucks. His .762 outing on Monday gained’t assist that.

• DeBoer slotted newcomer Dadonov on the third line with Jamie Benn and Wyatt Johnston whereas sliding Ty Dellandrea up to the second line with Mason Marchment and Tyler Seguin. DeBoer defined his determination by pointing to Benn and Johnston being interchangeable between their winger and centerman duties. Dadonov is a pure winger so he slots in there whereas Dellandrea, additionally a centerman-winger hybrid, supplied the second line with that very same flexibility between him and Seguin.

• Dadonov scored one of the Stars’ two targets at five-on-five, which got here courtesy of one other nice play by Johnston.

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“It looks like he knew precisely the place I used to be going so it was a good cross,” Dadonov stated.

• The Stars started extra time with Benn, Seguin and Miro Heiskanen on the ice. They gained possession and nonetheless the sport ended 48 seconds into the body with them on the fallacious finish of it. Benn is having a nice season and he’s been one of the constant vivid spots even throughout this tough stretch. He was additionally the Stars’ finest participant on Monday. Nonetheless, it’s value questioning how a lot he’s constructed out for extra time at this level in his profession. He has been taken benefit of on the ice by the opposite staff in extra time repeatedly this season.

After the sport, Benn was one of the gamers requested for postgame media. He got here to the locker room, fielded one query asking what occurred in extra time and responded with, “Merely, not sufficient on my own. That’s it.” He then walked away.

Scoring distribution

Robertson — 1G (Hintz) — 1A (Pavelski)
1A (Marchment) — 1A (Seguin) — 1A (Dellandrea)
1G1A (Benn) — 1A (Johnston) — 1G (Dadonov)
Karlstrom — Faksa — Olofsson

Heiskanen — Miller
1A (Suter) — 1G (Lundkvist)
Lindell — Hakanpää

Oettinger (.762 save proportion)

Three performs

These three non-scoring performs stood out.

Marchment’s fumble

No participant on the Stars is caught in the mud like Marchment is. He prolonged his streak of video games with out a objective to 30. He final scored on Dec. 13 in opposition to the Devils. Since then, he has had zero targets and 7 assists. He ought to have had a objective, or no less than a shot on objective, early in the primary interval however managed nether.

Joe Pavelski hexed

One other participant struggling to rating is Pavelski. He’s getting a lot of the appears he usually will get when he’s scoring however they aren’t going in for him proper now.

Jason Robertson’s ridiculous cross to Roope Hintz

Perhaps essentially the most spectacular play of the night from the Stars was this cross from Robertson to Hintz. The anticipation and accuracy from Robertson and the aggression and pace from Hintz have been spectacular.

(Picture of Joe Pavelski making an unsuccessful shot on objective Monday: Jerome Miron / USA As we speak)

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