Three days after Stars Coach Lindy Ruff expressed anger and frustration over what he termed, ‘Garbage Hockey’ the Dallas Stars made sure to get off to a quick start against the Vancouver Canucks.
The team with former Stars coach Glen Gulutzan made a visit to Dallas.
Three leads were lost on Saturday night when the scoreboard read 1-0, 4-2, and 5-4 before falling by a 6-5 count when Jamie Benn took a penalty to place the Flyers in power play mode. Claude Giroux proceeded to ruin a four assist night for Tyler Seguin October 18.
There would be none of that on this night.
The Stars would score early, and often in such quick fashion Vancouver didn’t know what hit them. Leading 5-0 on only 13 shots meant an early exit for starting goalie Ryan Miller in an uncharacteristic performance.
“I thought they put lots of pressure on us,” said Canucks coach Willie Desjardins. “They’ve got good speed on their attack. They went to the net hard and the goals they look fortunate, but they got goals because they worked hard and
put pressure on our net.”
Erik Cole had two goals on the night (three in the last two games) and even he was quick to discuss the shot disadvantage that Kari Lehtonen had to deal with. 46 to be precise.
“They made a little bit of a push and took some risks. We got ourselves in some penalty trouble and gave them some momentum,” said Cole. “We sat back and we weren’t playing a real sound defensive game as a five-man unit in the defensive zone. We’re just giving up too much. … We need to work on it, we need to get better at it.”
Ryan Garbutt made the first score of the night four minutes in to put the Stars at 1-0. Cole’s first score at 17:46 was of the power-play variety. Tyler Seguin fired a goal home at 19:17 to place the Stars at 3-0.
Period two began even faster as Jamie Benn and Cody Eakin would crack the crease 29 seconds apart to increase the lead to 5-0 after 21 minutes.
From that point onward it was the Canucks who out shot the Stars by a 2-1 margin and a 46-28 advantage at games end.
While not saying the G word this night Coach Ruff did voice concerns about the level of play with the defense.
“That’s a tough [game] to assess,” said Stars coach Lindy Ruff. “We started the game and did a lot of great things and defensively we really struggled. I thought our defense had a tough time down low. We made some poor decisions that led to some pretty big chances … but when the game was right there, I thought we were the better team. When it got out of hand, we had too many guys leaning on the offensive side and not pay a big enough price to keep it pretty comfortable. I thought Lehts made some big saves. He was our best player by far.”
Just how concerned are you about the shots on goal differential?
“I’m concerned, I think our defense needs to play better. It hasn’t played well enough. There’s been some games when we’ve played two periods, one period, thirty minutes…the shot differential tonight leaned heavily in their favor. That’s an obvious statement. Last game was the same. Shot differential wasn’t the same but the chances were still there and, sooner or later, that catches up to you unless you correct it.”
Radim Vrbata got the Canucks on the board at 3:39 of the second period before Erik Cole lit the lamp a second time at 4:44 to make it a 6-1 lead.
The final two goals were made by Zack Kassian and Jannik Hansen to close the second and third periods. The Canucks have now lost two straight as they fall to 3-2-0.
Trevor Daley pretty much summed up the thought of the night as Dallas improved to 3-1-2 before 15,687 at the American Airlines Center.
“It was a great feeling,” said Daley. “Two points – that’s all that matters. The positive thing we take from tonight is that we got two points.”
Stars have a few days off to prepare for a back to back before coming home on the 28th to play the St.Louis Blues followed by the Anaheim Ducks on Halloween Night.