Coming off of a 4-3 win on Coach Lindy Ruff’s former team, the Buffalo Sabres, the Dallas Stars were expected to do well in their matchup against the Montreal Canadiens, but the score shows otherwise.
It was a close score, but the Habs came out on top with a final score of 2-1, making this the sixth regulation loss for the Stars this season and bringing their record to 5-6-1.
The first period started off well with both teams playing good hockey, but the Canadiens were playing very defensively, an aspect that has been lacking this season with the Stars. About eleven minutes into the period a fight broke out between Montreal’s Francis Bouillon and Dallas’ fighting frenchman Antoine Roussel. Roussel was hit first and taken out quite fast, something not usually seen with his fights. Riding the adrenaline of winning a fight, the Habs scored a goal and got the upper hand as Michael Bournival knocked in Raphael Diaz’s shot, also assisted by Tomas Plekanec, putting the score at 1-0. Stars center Shawn Horcoff picked up a two minute minor for hooking late in the period, giving Montreal a powerplay that they weren’t able to convert into another goal, ending the period with the same score of 1-0.
The second started off similar to the first, this time with the Stars fighting to even up the game. Stars defenseman Alex Goligoski got a two minute sentence in the penalty box for high sticking about halfway through the period. The Stars were able to keep the puck out of the net during the powerplay, but soon after it ended the Habs were still able to get it past Lehtonen as Rene Bourque got off a great wrist shot, assisted by Raphael Diaz. With the score now at 2-0, the Stars knew they had to work harder to get through Montreal’s solid defense. Their efforts paid off as Cody Eakin got a fantastic shot past Carey Price on his stick-side, assisted by defenseman Brenden Dillon. This was the only goal the Stars were able to pull out and the period came to an end with the Habs still leading, this time with a score of 2-1.
The third period started off with the Stars needing to get at least one more goal, but the Canadiens came out with their defense still solid as ever. Trevor Daley got a two minute penalty for holding, once again giving Montreal the upper hand on the powerplay, but the game returned to even strength before any goals were scored. Douglas Murray later got an interference penalty, but his team remained strong defensively and the Stars were unable to pull through on the powerplay. Yet another penalty came about during the last three minutes, this time being a penalty for a player on each team with Montreal right winger Brendan Gallagher getting two minutes for goaltender interference and Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen getting the penalty for roughing. The Stars put up a great offensive effort, but Montreal’s defensive playing kept them back at every attempt they made, as well as Carey Price’s sharp net-minding. The Stars picked up their sixth regulation loss as the game came to an end with a score of 2-1.
Overall, the Stars played a great game, but once again lacked defensively, an element in which the Canadiens were very strong in, playing very patiently and defensively the whole game. The team worked hard to get shots off and were successful at getting more shots on goal, outshooting their opponents 27-24. Defense is an aspect that the Stars have seemed to struggle with this season, leaving fans wondering what Coach Ruff and the Stars organization are going to do about it, with many leaning towards getting rid of Trevor Daley and Alex Goligoski, two great players that just don’t seem to be doing their best lately.
A new Star is rising in Dallas.
You can catch the Stars next as they take on the Colorado Avalanche Friday night at 7:30 (CT) on FSW+ and Alt2.