3 Takeaways From Stars 4-1 Loss to Vancouver Canucks

The Dallas Stars dropped a tough one 4-1 to the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday night at the American Airlines Center. 

Demko Outplays Oettinger

This was a unique goalie duel in Dallas, as two young elite American netminders faced off against one another for the first time. 23-year-old Jake Oettinger came up in the U.S. development program and played his college hockey at the University of Boston and 26-year-old Thatcher Demko also developed in the same program before playing for rival Boston College. 

“When I was in high school, I told my dad that I want the exact same path as him [Demko], not Boston College, but to play at a cool college,” Oettinger laughed prior to the game. “Obviously, I chose the better school but it will be fun, I have never played against him.”

Related: Stars Oettinger Has Earned Full Trust of Coaching Staff

The duel was not very one-sided but there was a clear winner at the end of the night. Demko made 35 saves on 36 shots including a few big-time stops in the third period. While he also had some luck from a couple of posts on open nets, he helped his team earn a huge victory in the playoff race. Oettinger was not bad on the other end but certainly did not play his best game either. The first two Vancouver goals, both scored by Elias Pettersson, were shots that do not normally beat him. 

“I am sure he wants that first one back,” Bowness said. “But he made a lot of big saves to keep us in the game. I did not like that second period and he gave us a chance. He did his job tonight and if we get that second goal, we are not having this conversation.”

With the loss, Oettinger moves his record to 22-11-1 while Demko jumps to 28-19-5. 

Pettersson & Peterson 

It was a big night on the scoresheet for the Swedes on both sides of the ice as Elias Pettersson and Jacob Peterson were the top forwards for their respective clubs. Pettersson led all players with two goals, scoring the first two including the game-winner for Vancouver, while Peterson tallied the lone goal for Dallas. The goal was a big one for Peterson, who has been jumping in and out of the lineup as of late during his first season in the NHL. It seems that no matter what adversity hits, the 22-year-old finds a way to respond. 

“He’s got good hockey sense,” Bowness said. “Right now, he will play wherever we need him to play. He hangs onto the puck and there is no panic to his game. They [Peterson and Namestnikov] are similar players, not the biggest but they know how to skate, they know how to get to open ice, and they know how to hang onto the puck until they can make a play.”

Jacob Peterson Dallas Stars-3 Takeaways From Stars 4-1 Loss to Vancouver Canucks
Jacob Peterson, Dallas Stars (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Peterson now has 11 goals and 15 points in 53 games. While that number does not sound too impressive, keep in mind that this is his first season not only in the league but playing in North America altogether. The youngster has grown accustomed to the smaller rink size and seems to be adjusting to the intensity of an NHL playoff race. 

“Just do my best out there and we will see,” Peterson said when asked about his goals heading into the season. “Obviously, I want to be better and score more goals, so let’s work for that.”

Stars Miss Golden Opportunities 

The loss to Vancouver was one that simply did not need to happen. The Stars controlled play for a majority of the game and had plenty of chances to score more than one goal. Specifically, in the third period when trailing 2-1, Esa Lindell had two chances with a wide-open net. The first was stopped by Demko in a sprawling fashion but the second was dinged off the post. And when I say wide-open net, I mean WIDE OPEN NET. 

Early in the game, Thomas Harly hit the post on a backdoor play on that same spot on the ice and a few more pucks found their way behind Demko without making it into the net. Call it puck luck, call it good goaltending, or blame the shooters but no matter what, those are chances that Dallas could not afford to miss and they ended up costing them two points. 

With the loss, Dallas made things tougher on themselves in the playoff race. Rather than waking up two points out of the third seed in the division, they sit completely out of a playoff spot after a few teams around them found ways to win. The Stars head out on a four-game road trip through Anaheim (twice), San Jose, and Seattle before returning home for much of the month of April. 

He Said It 

“Listen, I don’t know how we didn’t score on that last one,” Bowness said. “Open nets. When we needed a good power play, we got it, we just didn’t score. You have wide-open nets and you are hitting posts or shooting at him. That game should have been tied 2-2 right there but we didn’t score.”

Sam’s Three Stars 

  • Third Star: J.T. Miller, VAN (1 goal, 1 assist)
  • Second Star: Thatcher Demko, VAN (35 saves on 36 shots)
  • First Star: Elias Pettersson, VAN (2 goals)
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