The Dallas Stars (28-18-4) went into last night’s meeting against the Toronto Maple Leafs (28-18-5) with lax confidence after annihilating the Florida Panthers (19-22-6), 6-1, just three days ago. Dallas couldn’t seem to find traction, gain momentum, or quite match the speed of the Maple Leafs, which ultimately led to their fall to Toronto, 4-1.
The opening period was scoreless until Toronto took the initiative to put the first tally of the night on the scoreboard with a mere four minutes left on the clock. A play that started in the Toronto zone and ended up in a scramble in front of the net in the Stars’ end, led to the first goal of the night by center forward Nazem Kadri. It was clear that the Maple Leafs were alert and ready to meet any scoring opportunity with plays based on speed and precision.
The Maple Leafs continued to carry on with their preliminary momentum from the first period with the second frame being peppered with Toronto goals. Even with Dallas starting out the second on the power play, Toronto still managed to score less than two minutes into the period making it 2-0, and again seven minutes later. The Stars answered back with their sole goal of the night made by Tyler Seguin, assisted by Alexander Radulov (who was the only player to extend his point streak last night), to close the second out with a score of 3-1 and SOG tied at 23-23.
In the final 20 minutes in regulation, we continued to see far too many turnovers, with Dallas always seeming to be a half step behind their opponent. Toronto scored their final goal early on in the third period, leaving the Stars to frantically attempt to make up for lost time, only to have 4-1 on the board when the clock ran out.
Captain Jamie Benn offered up a few words to the press after the frustrating loss at the American Airlines Center saying, “We had no excuse. We had a day off yesterday and they played back to back. And that’s why it’s disappointing.”
As much as it pains us, we have to give credit where credit is due – Toronto is an overall solid team and their speed was hard to match with the Stars’ defensive, hard-checking style of play. It’s been a long time since Dallas has had a game like last night’s where we just couldn’t seem to find that groove and pick up traction. However, we have to remember to not overact after just one game, even though this uncharacteristic game definitely still stings.
The Stars will enjoy a four day break as they rest up before facing the LA Kings on Tuesday night at home. But until then, we are excited to have Tyler Seguin and John Klingberg representing the Stars in the NHL’s All Star Weekend in Tampa Bay!
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