Monday, March 25, 2013
Minnesota Wild 7, Dallas Stars 4
Stars celebrate the Brenden Morrow trade by giving up all the goals.
DALLAS The Dallas Stars were a catastrophic mess without their captain Monday night at the American Airlines Center, losing 7-4 to the red-hot Minnesota Wild. The loss snapped a two-game winning streak and dropped Dallas to 15-14-3, likely kicking the Stars out of the top eight spot in the Western Conference. The Wild won their sixth straight and improved to 19-10-2 on the year.
A day after trading away their longtime captain Brenden Morrow to the Pittsburgh Penguins for bluechip defensive prospect Joe Morrow, the Stars responded with porous defense, nonstop turnovers and shoddy netminding, likely setting the stage for yet more big name trades in the coming days.
Dallas opened the scoring at 5:31 of the first period when Minnesota native Alex Goligoski finally scored his first goal of the year. Derek Roy stole a puck behind the net and dished a pass to Goligoski, who wristed it past Wild netminder Niklas Backstrom for an early 1-0 lead.
Minnesota struck back just two minutes later when Zach Parise crashed the net and knocked in a rebound for his 13th goal of the season and a 1-1 tie. Dallas managed to restore their one-goal lead at 17:47 when Jaromir Jagr scored his team-leading 14th goal of the season on the powerplay to put Dallas up 2-1 heading into the intermission.
Unfortunately, that's when the wheels started to fall off, as Dallas was outshot 24-12 and outscored 6-2 the rest of the way. The Wild tied the game at 2-2 just 3:42 into the second when Mikko Koivu took a lazy Dallas turnover, deked out two Stars defensemen and wristed one in for his 8th of the season.
While Dallas got their one-goal lead back just 88 seconds later with Trevor Daley's laser shot from a sharp angle, Minnesota struck twice more in the middle frame --Parise's 14th at 9:33, and Matt Cullen's 5th at 14:22-- to take the lead for the first time all game.
It was more of the same in the third period, with Dallas turnovers leading directly to backbreaking goals. The Stars once again tied it up at 4-4 seven minutes into the final frame. Philip Larsen pinched down the middle of the offensive zone, took a centering pass from Reilly Smith and banged it through Backstrom's glove for his second of the season and the third goal by a Stars defenseman on the night.
The lead was not to last, however, thanks to terrible play and even worse netminding. Given a four-minute powerplay after Ray Whitney was high-sticked, Dallas immediatelly surrendered a shorthanded goal when Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen couldn't handle a Cal Clutterbuck shot. Kyle Brodziak pounced on the rebound for his sixth goal and a backbreaking 5-4 lead.
Still, Dallas had several chances to tie, but couldn't hit the net. The best chance came with one second remaining in the double minor. Whitney got a pass across to an uncovered Loui Eriksson, who completely missed a wide-open net when his shot sailed over the top.
With a minute and a half left, Dallas again made a terrible puck decision when Goligoski hit Jamie Benn in the skates at his own blueline and the Wild capitalized, with Dany Heatley scoring his ninth of the year on the turnover to ice the game at 6-4. Pierre-Marc Bouchard scored an empty netter to cap the scoring.
Lehtonen was atrocious in net, making just 35 saves on 41 shots and flailing about nervously all game, a far cry from the cool and collected, positionally-sound goaltender that shutout the LA Kings to games previous. Backstrom was better, with 22 saves on 26 shots.
Dallas' next game is Friday night, also in Dallas, and also against these same Minnesota Wild.