In the midst of a huge playoff push, the Dallas Stars drop the ball in a 3-1 loss to the New Jersey Devils, where head coach Rick Bowness states there was “not enough desperation in our game.” The Stars are now 2-2-1 for the month of April, where every game matters to ensure a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
‘Not Enough Desperation’ in Dallas Stars 3-1 Loss to the New Jersey Devils
Stars Can’t Capitalize
A Stars loss in what could be considered the poorest performance of the season knocks the wind out of the sails of the coaching staff, players, and even fans. In the post-game press conference, a very visibly frustrated Rick Bowness states the loss to the Devils was the “most disappointing game we’ve had all year.”
Bowness continues to state “we didn’t look like a team that wanted to make the playoffs” and “if we play like that in three weeks, we are going home.” The Stars head coach is running out of time to fix the major issues that could make a difference in what could be Bowness’ last year with the team; his contract ends after the 2021-2022 season.
The game got off to a slow start with only nine shots on goal for the Stars in the first period. The Stars continued to lack intensity in the remaining periods and were only able to capitalize on one of six power-play opportunities, scored by Ryan Suter; the assists were credited to Jamie Benn and Vladislav Namestnikov.
The Stars started the third period up by one until Ty Smith tied it up after only a little over four minutes of play. They only managed to get six shots on goal during the duration of the third period. But just when it looked like the game was headed into overtime, the Devils put a dagger in the game by scoring with just above a minute remaining in the period, making it 2-1. And within ten seconds, the Devils scored again, resulting in the 3-1 loss.
April or Bust
With 11 games left in the 2021-2022 regular season, the Stars are scrambling for every point they can get, after recently losing to two “should beat” teams. Over the course of the season, the Stars have lost a number of games they were expected to win, but none as detrimental as the losses to the Ottawa Senators, Montreal Canadiens, Arizona Coyotes, Seattle Kraken, or the New Jersey Devils; all of which have been knocked out of playoff contention, except the Senators.
These losses left a massive 12 points on the table that the Stars did not capitalize on. If Dallas picked up wins in these games, they would be sitting pretty in second place in the Central Division. The Stars are currently tied with the Vegas Golden Knights for the second Wild Card spot and both trail the Nashville Predators for the first Wild Card spot, with the Stars having two games in hand over the Golden Knights.
Power Play Problems
The power-play, which has been lacking production, sits at a ten percent success rate in the last ten games. The Stars are 2/26 on power-play chances, both power-play goals scored by veteran defenseman, Ryan Suter. Suter sits at only seven goals in 71 games played. The last power-play goal that was scored by someone other than Suter comes from Joe Pavelski in the 5-3 win against the Edmonton Oilers, just one day after the trade deadline.
The Stars power-play is run by assistant coach Derek Laxdal, who has been with the organization since 2019. The two units have consisted of the game core group; including defensemen John Klingberg, Miro Heiskanen, and Ryan Suter, as well as forwards Jason Robertson, Joe Pavelski, Roope Hintz, Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin, and Alexander Radulov. Despite the major lack of production, the coaching staff has not tried to plug in new pieces, unless done out of necessity; for example, players being out of the line-up due to injuries or illnesses, etc.
The destiny of the Dallas Stars is in their own hands at this point in the season. With a difficult schedule for the remainder of the season, the Stars will have to dig deep and pull out some wins. Every loss is another nail in the coffin to the lid of missing playoffs, because every point matters.