The Dallas Stars played their best game since the All-Star break, but the result was the same -- they lost. Saturday’s 3-1 loss at Philadelphia was their third straight since the break.
The Stars, missing five regular forwards because of injury, played a strong game against the Flyers, the top team in the Eastern Conference. But it wasn't enough to snap them out of their current slide.
“I think we are happy with our effort, but disappointed with the result,” said Stars captain Brenden Morrow, who scored the only Dallas goal. “We hope [it is a step forward]. We will see on Wednesday. Right now, we just lost a game 3-1. We are disappointed with that. It feels like a loss right now. [Coach Marc Crawford] came in and told us we had a great effort, but I don’t think any of us are really happy with the result.”
The loss was not only the third straight for the Stars, it was their fifth regulation loss in the last six games. That means they’ve only picked up two of a possible 12 points over their last six games. Their lead in the Pacific Division is now down to three points over San Jose and Anaheim, both winners on Saturday.
“I mean, we can’t really start always thinking about the other teams and what they’re doing. It’s about your team and what you have to do to win games and keep looking ahead,” said Stars center Mike Ribeiro. “You cannot start worrying about other teams coming up or coming down. It’s about what we have to do as a team to get two points. If it takes dragging the game into overtime to get the point that you need then that’s the way it’s going to be. We need to be better in certain areas and we’ll work at it.”
Special teams were a sticking point again for the Stars on Saturday night. The power play was 0-3 in the game and is now 1-21 over the last six games. And they surrendered their ninth shorthanded goal of the season, the second most in the league.
Down 1-0 after Andrej Meszaros scored late in the first period, the Stars had a power play to open the second period but Darroll Powe scored off the rush shorthanded to put the Flyers up 2-0 at the 1:19 mark.
“That was a big goal for them no doubt. We came back and made it 2-1 after that,” said Morrow. “There are momentum changes all throughout games. That was a big goal for them, but I thought we answered it pretty well.”
Morrow scored at the 12:07 mark off a nice set up by Ribeiro to cut the Philadelphia lead to 2-1, but that was as close as the Stars would get. Steve Ott came close to tying it in the third, but Flyers goalie Brian Boucher made a nice glove save on Ott’s bid off a two-on-one.
Jeff Carter added an insurance goal midway through the third period to give the Flyers a 3-1 lead that would hold up the rest of the way.
“I certainly don’t think it’s a step back. But you get in big trouble with your start and being satisfied with losses. And our job is to try to find a way,” said Crawford. “I liked the fact that our guys don’t quit but we’ve known that about our team all along. What we want to do is show we don’t quit when we are on the winning end of things. We want to keep forging ahead. It’s somewhat discouraging when you lose but you keep forging ahead and that’s what this team is built on.”
*The Stars dressed 11 forwards and 7 defensemen for the game. Francis Wathier was the healthy scratch at forward.
*Colton Sceviour made his NHL debut. He played 5:09, had no points, no shots and a minus-one rating.