The Dallas Stars missed out on a chance to pick up key points as they fell 6-2 to the Vancouver Canucks on Monday night.
A Big Stinker For Dallas
This was a bad game all around for the Stars. While they looked like the better team through the first 10 minutes, they allowed the first goal and could not find a way to gain a lead to take advantage. After Roope Hintz tied the game quickly, Elias Pettersson tucked in an easy goal from the side of the net and gave the Canucks a 2-1 lead. From that point, Vancouver turned it on and completely took control of the game. Dallas began to lose every one-on-one battle on the boards, turn pucks over, and allow the high-flying Canucks to come at them in full flight and get plenty of scoring chances.
“It was very disappointing,” Michael Raffl said of the team’s effort. “I think it was mostly our puck management and decisions with the puck in high-danger areas along the blue lines. They were way better than us in those areas and that pretty much cost us the hockey game.”
After an early second-period goal pushed the Vancouver lead to 3-1, the Stars punched back one final time. Hintz raced ahead chasing a loose puck shorthanded and beat Thatcher Demko five-hole to bring the game to 3-2. It seemed like the exact moment they needed to spark a comeback and change the overall complexion of the game. However, following the goal, the Canucks went right back to work and pushed Dallas to the brink, eventually extending their lead to 6-2 in the end.
“We gave up two goals to start both the second and the third period,” Raffl continued. “That takes the wind out of you right away even though you are trying to stay with it. It takes a little bit of energy out of you and boosts the other team. We have got to be better to start periods for sure.”
Oettinger Has a Tough Night
It is not a common occurrence for Jake Oettinger to have a rough game. After an excellent victory over San Jose on Saturday, the 23-year-old goaltender struggled from the drop of the puck in Vancouver, eventually allowing four goals on 19 shots and being pulled midway through the hockey game.
“He’ll bounce back,” Rick Bowness said. “We have faith in Jake, we have faith in Scott [Wedgewood]. A couple of bad goals, yeah there were. And at the wrong times. The first period and that fifth goal really hurt us. But it’s up to the rest of the guys to battle back and give them some run support and we didn’t do that. Your goalie gives up a bad goal, try to bail them out.”
Oettinger’s night was simply one of those where he was not picking up the puck or the play in front of him at a quick enough pace. You could visibly see that he was not finding the puck through traffic and that he was late to react to the overall play of the game. It was obvious on the Conor Garland goal, it was obvious on the Pettersson goal, and eventually, it cost him his spot in the crease as Dallas looked to change the momentum in a 4-2 game in the second period.
“We’ll have to deal with that,” Bowness said when asked how he would handle Oettinger after a tough night.
Dickinson Shows Up His Former Club
This was just the second time that Jason Dickinson has suited up against the Dallas Stars in his career. He was injured in their trip to Dallas, so that reunion will have to wait until next season. However, he looked like a man determined to prove himself on Monday to the club that let him go following the 2020-21 season. Dickinson played 15:50 in the game and tallied a beautiful goal, two assists, and a plus-3 rating to go along with it. He was one of the better players in the game and his goal poured salt in the wound, making it 4-2 and yanking Oettinger from his net.
“We don’t want to let teams dictate and bring the game to us. It’s up to us to take it to them,” Dickinson said. “We’ve been playing that way for a good chunk of time now because we’re desperate and that’s what desperate hockey is.”
Dickinson has not had a great season by any means. He has a dreadful 11 points in 56 games but this one had to feel good for the former Star and helped keep Vancouver’s slim playoff hopes alive.
With the loss, Dallas missed out on a nice opportunity to jump two points ahead of Nashville in the race for the top wild card. Now, they remain tied in points with the Preds (Nashville owns the tiebreakers.) On the positive side, Vegas lost a heartbreaking game to the New Jersey Devils in regulation, so Dallas now has a nice four-point cushion on the closest team behind them in the race for securing the final playoff spot. They also have a game in hand on the Golden Knights and a head-to-head matchup on Tuesday, April 26 in Dallas, so they certainly remain in control of their own destiny.
Dallas will continue their road trip with stops in Edmonton and Calgary on Wednesday and Thursday before heading home for the final four games of the season.
“They are huge,” Bowness said of the next two road games. “You don’t win this time of year with half of your team playing and the other half not playing well. The guys who didn’t play well and didn’t show up better find their game by Wednesday night.”
He Said It
“Short memory, forget about this one,” Raffl said. “Maybe look at it tomorrow and try to take something out of it and then move on. There are two big games coming up and that’s where our focus is on.”
Sam’s Three Stars
- Third Star: Roope Hintz, DAL (2 goals)
- Second Star: Elias Pettersson, VAN (2 goals, 1 assist)
- First Star: Jason Dicksinson, VAN (1 goal, 2 assists)
Sam Nestler is a credentialed Dallas Stars contributor for the ‘The Hockey Writers’. Growing up in New Jersey, Sam has been playing hockey since he was 7 years old. Developing a love for writing in college, Sam uses his hockey knowledge to create analyses and articles on every aspect of the game. Sam also hosts his own podcast on Spotify, the “Slapshot Sammy’ podcast, breaking down action across the Stars, the NHL, and college hockey. Check out the podcast here, and give his latest article a read!