Bill Meltzer: Star Gazing: Dallas Keeps Hemorrhaging Opposing Goals; Host Habs on Sat

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Suspect team defense and inconsistent goaltending have been major trouble spots for the Dallas Stars thus far in the 2014-15 season. Dallas is dead last in the NHL in goals against average, having yielded five or more goals nine times, in six of their last nine games and each of their last four games.

No team in the NHL can win that way.

The Stars aren’t. With last night’s 5-2 road loss to the Detroit Red Wings, the Stars are 0-3-1 in their last four games and have unsurprisingly not won any of the games where they’ve yielded five-plus goals.

Looking for the main reasons why the Stars find themselves in the Central Division basement with a 9-12-5 record and currently seven points out of what would be the final wildcard playoff spot if the season ended today? It all starts with the too-frequent lapses in attention to defensive detail and in spotty goaltending.

Last night, Jussi Rynnäs looked nervous and shaky in the first period of his second career NHL start and first game of the season for Dallas. He spotted the Red Wings a 1-0 lead on an atrocious goal from a flat angle by Darren Helm. The other four goals he allowed were not his fault but the momentum saves in the first and third periods just were not there.

On the bright side, after a terrible first period, the Stars showed some push back in the second period. Additionally, it was encouraging to see Dallas answer right back immediately after the Helm goal, as Colton Sceviour scored his first goal of the season. At least these are signs of a team working on righting the ship.

Dallas lost a would-be goal in the second period last night as a video replay correctly ruled that Stars defenseman Trevor Daley played the puck over the goal line with his arm instead of his stick. On Paul Stewart’s blog today here at HockeyBuzz, there is an in-depth analysis of the play from a procedural and referee positioning standpoint.

The Stars return home tomorrow night to host to the Montreal Canadiens. Game time at the American Airlines Center is 6 p.m. CST. The game will be televised on Fox Sports Southwest. The Canadiens, who will be playing the second half of road back-to-back games after visiting Chicago on Friday night, are currently in second place in the Atlantic Division.