The Dallas Stars ended their scoreless drought Saturday night, but the losing streak continued. The Stars dropped their fifth straight game, falling 4-1 to the San Jose Sharks at American Airlines Center.
“It sucks. We all hate losing and we’re all very proud individuals,” said Stars forward Steve Ott. “Our work ethic has definitely been on the up slope the past two games and the only way we are going to get out of this funk is by continuing to play that way. There were a couple of breakdowns that ended up in the back of our net, but I thought our work ethic was 100 times better than it has been.”
But the results weren’t there for the Stars, who have been outscored 21-4 during the five-game slide and 16-1 over the last ten periods of play.
“You can see it (the frustration), especially the second half of the game. Our emotions are high. I think we’re just a little rattled,” said Stars goaltender Andrew Raycroft, who made 34 saves in the game and fell to 0 -4-0 on the season. “We just need to keep our heads down, work hard and get ourselves out of it that way - with lots of hard work and some patience.”
Special teams played a key role Saturday night. San Jose’s first two goals came on the power play. Once again the Stars were on the short end of the number of power plays handed out in the game. San Jose had five chances with the man advantage to two for the Stars. During their five-game slide the Stars have been on the power play nine times while their opponents have had 23 opportunities.
”I might sound like a whiny coach, but I had some beefs with the officiating when we were 11-3 and now we’re 11-8 and I still have them,” said Stars coach Glen Gulutzan. “I think we are on the wrong end of a lot of calls, but I think it is our fault. We whine like little babies throughout the game. … That’s going to change. We’re going to change that culture here. We’ve got to do it by zipping our mouths one step at a time. Refs are human and if you whine that much they are not going to give you calls. That’s the bottom line. And we’re not getting them. We’re not getting some calls and it’s our fault.”
Said Sharks coach Todd McLellan: "Prior to the game we talked about composure and discipline. We knew they'd taken a ton of penalties, they were the second-most penalized team in the league. We thought that would come into play at some point and we needed only two power-play goals. I was happy we responded physically but we were quite disciplined."
The Stars had a strong first period, outshooting the Sharks 14-10, but still found themselves down 1-0 heading into the first intermission. San Jose cashed in on its first power play chance when Joe Thornton hit pinching defenseman Brent Burns, who put the puck into the open side of the net 4:58 into the game.
The Sharks extended the lead to 2-0 by taking advantage of their third power play early in the second. A Thornton pass bounced off the skate of Stars defenseman Sheldon Souray and right onto the stick of San Jose forward Logan Couture, who beat Raycroft from point blank range.
It was a 3-0 game a little more than three minutes later when the Stars turned the puck over in their own zone and Brad Winchester scored from the slot.
The Stars finally got on the board at the 6:22 mark of the third when Mike Ribeiro scored off the rush from the left circle, snapping the Stars scoreless drought at 194:11.
But that was it for the Stars, who took a lot of penalties out of frustration when it appeared Saturday’s game was out of reach.
“We have to play less frustrated when adversity hits. That’s going to change. I’ll tell you guys this honestly, I’ll use this forum to vent,” said Gulutzan. “I’ll be glad to go back to Saskatchewan if we don’t get out of this, but at the end of the day we’re going to do it the way we’re going to do it. We’re going to be men, we’re going to have character, we’re going to shut our mouths and we’re going to play. If that’s not good enough then so be it.”
*There were a total of 100 penalty minutes in Saturday’s game including three fights and four misconducts.
*New Stars owner Tom Gaglardi attended Saturday night’s game. He will be introduced at a press conference Monday afternoon.
*Saturday’s attendance was 13,711.