The Dallas Stars had a plethora of chances to win the game on Sunday night against the Carolina Hurricanes but fell short in a shootout, 4-3. (The shootout being the absolute worst part of the NHL, more on that below.) The Stars rallied back from being down on multiple occasions but Hurricanes winger Nino Niederreiter apparently had a personal vendetta against the Stars, burying an absolute missile past Anton Khudobin in the closing minutes of regulation.
The Stars special teams was a week removed from being the talk of the NHL. Over the weekend, the once potent and solid special teams went entirely flat. (Stars were 1-11 on the power play over the weekend.) Even going as far as to allow a shorthanded goal on Sunday nights tilt. The Stars looked like the same team that was slapped around for a 4-1 loss the night previous, for the first 20 minutes of play. Luckily the road warriors turned themselves around for the final two periods. Finishing the night with 29 shots on goal, a welcome sight after a poor 11 shot showing on Saturday.
With the season only being six games in, it is hard not to notice the difference in the Stars play from the first four games to the previous two. It is easy to win the games everyone expects you to win. Teams like Nashville and Detroit are almost certainly destined to scratch the bottom of the division. What the Stars do against the top division rivals is what will guide their path back to the playoffs. The Stars will have to make the adjustments moving forward as they are set to stay on the road against a gritty Columbus, likely with a fresh Patrick Laine. Neither of which the Stars are historically successful against.
It will be interesting to see if any adjustments will be made to the lines moving into Tuesday nights game against the Blue Jackets. (6:00 PM CST)
Oh and as for the shootout in the NHL, Gary Bettman, I beg of you to hop down from your office chair. Put on your big boy pants, and do away with the absolute momentum killer. As a fan first and a journalist second, the amount of obscenities thrown towards the television during that snooze fest could be heard for miles. Overtime hockey is the most exciting aspect in all of sports in my opinion. Wide open ice. Endless chances for game winning goals or acrobatic saves. Yet, after five minutes in the regular season, we are told to sit back and get our jam jams ready for bed time thanks in part to the melatonin-like shootout to determine who advances to their next game with the two points. (I absolutely understand the wear and tear endless OT would have on players, but I would argue the players likely feel the same way.)
Anyway, hockey is still back. Better than nothing.