Special teams fail Stars

For the third time this season the Dallas Stars came up short against the Vancouver Canucks, and for the third time special teams played a key role.

Special teams play failed the Stars on Tuesday night and it added up to a 4-1 loss to the Canucks, who improved to 3-0-0 Dallas this season.

“For some reason against Vancouver our special teams have been terrible this year,” said Stars center Brad Richards. “It happened again tonight, I don’t know why.”

On Tuesday night it was more than just the Canucks’ power play lighting up the Stars. In their first two wins over the Stars, the Canucks scored three power play goals in each game. On this night they were 2-3 on the power play and improved to 8-15 (53.3 percent) in the three games against Dallas.

But before Vancouver ever scored on the power play the Stars had three chances with the man-advantage. All of them were in the first period, and they couldn’t take advantage.

Vancouver got power play goals from Mikael Samuelsson and Christian Ehrhoff on their second and third chances early in the second period– which came after a cross-checking penalty on James Neal and a roughing penalty on Adam Burish – to build a 2-0 lead in the game.

After the Stars had cut the Vancouver lead to 2-1 on a Loui Eriksson goal, the Stars had another power play opportunity and a chance to tie, but a tough bounce off Eriksson’s stick led to a two-on-one break the other way and Jannik Hansen set up Ryan Kesler for a shorthanded goal and the Canucks had a 3-1 lead.

“We knew what to expect with the special teams and we came up short again tonight,” said Stars captain Brenden Morrow. “Against this team it’s reoccurring. Our penalty kill hasn’t been strong, we gave up a shorthanded goal and our power play could have gotten us into the game and it came up short.”

The Stars ended up 0-5 on the power play in the game and are 1-13 in the three games against the Canucks, who have outscored the Stars 15-3 in their three victories.

“We had our opportunities tonight and we have to take responsibility for not jumping on the opportunities that we had,” said Stars coach Marc Crawford. “You have to look at what we can do better and we have to be better on our special teams. We had to be hungrier, we had to be more determined, we had to pay a bigger price to get to the net or take pucks to the net with a little more authority. I thought we had a few opportunities to do that and we didn’t execute.”

Notes: Fistric misses game

*Stars defenseman Mark Fistric missed Tuesday’s game due to illness. “I’m sure he’ll have a little more energy on [Wednesday] and we’ll see where he is at,” said Stars coach Marc Crawford. “If all is well then he’ll accompany us on the road trip.”

*Jeff Woywitka, who had missed the last three games with a shoulder injury, was back in the lineup Tuesday.

*The Stars placed forward Tom Wandell, who is out with a shoulder injury, on injured reserve retroactive to January 24. That could open the door for the Stars to call up a player for the upcoming road trip.

*The announced attendance for the game was 12,884. That’s the number of tickets distributed for the games. The number of people in the building was far less due to the bad weather in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.