The one-game homestand did not go according to plan as the Dallas Stars lost 7-4 to the New York Rangers on Saturday night. Dallas held a 2-0 lead in the early minutes of the game before New York scored four straight goals on their way to victory.
Oettinger Has a Rare Bad Game
Something we have not seen maybe since the loss to the Montreal Canadiens on Jan. 18 is Jake Oettinger struggling between the pipes. Unfortunately, the 23-year-old did not have his best game on Saturday, finishing with a .786 save percentage and six goals against.
“Jake has been better,” Rick Bowness said. “He’ll bounce back. I have 100 percent faith in Jake, he has been great for us all year, so he’ll bounce back.”
Oettinger seemed to be off his angles throughout the night, allowing two goals from the wing to his blocker side and another through the five hole from the faceoff circle, which proved to be the dagger putting the Rangers up 6-4 late in the third period.
With Braden Holtby battling injury and the lack of goalie depth all of the sudden within the organization, it seems that Oettinger will be the guy to lead this team during the final push for the playoffs.
Robertson Hits 30
Jason Robertson continued his excellent play, scoring a power-play goal in the second period. The goal was his 30th of the season, putting him among elite company in franchise history.
Robertson now has eight goals in his last four games and leads the team in that category. His linemates Joe Pavelski and Roope Hintz are tied for second with 23 goals each. Pavelski also added a goal against the Rangers.
Stars Offense Does Their Job
This was a strange game. A large portion of the focus heading in was scoring enough goals against arguably the best goaltender in the NHL this season. The Stars were able to do that, scoring four goals on Igor Shesterkin, but still ended up on the wrong end of the result. The Rangers scored four straight goals in the first period, added one in the second, and scored two more in the third. Artemi Panarin led all skaters with five points while Dryden Hunt picked up three assists. In the end, it was the type of game that makes you shrug your shoulders at a loss for words.
“No actually, we played a lot better in the second,” Bowness said when asked if their game plan changed throughout the game. “We played well in the first 10, they played well in the next 10 of the first and then we played really well in the second. The fifth goal hurt.”
Despite the result, the Stars have been scoring more goals lately, something they have been focused on since early in the season. Over the last six games, Dallas has tallied 23 goals. That 3.9 goals-per-game average is far better than what we saw early on and could be the key to them clinching a playoff spot. Now, they still need to tighten things up defensively but it is a nice “glass is half full” takeaway.
The loss is the second straight for Dallas, who now sits at 32-22-3 (67 points) on the season. They will head out on a four-game road trip with stops in Toronto, Montreal, Long Island, and Washington. While they still hold a one-point lead on the Edmonton Oilers for the final playoff spot, things are tighter than they would like, so this trip will be a huge chance for them to move up.
He Said It
“It’s huge for us,” Roope Hintz said about the importance of the upcoming road trip. “We’ve been good on the road lately so we just have to keep playing there like we’ve been doing. It’s a good opportunity for us to get some points and climb the standings.”
Sam’s Three Stars
- Third Star: Roope Hintz, DAL (2 assists)
- Second Star: Dryden Hunt, NYR (3 assists)
- First Star: Artemi Panarin, NYR (1 goal, 4 assists)
Latest News & Highlights
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!