Sunday, January 3, 2010

Stars can't quite finish against Moose, lose shootout 5-4

Well perhaps now it's just bad luck... The Stars dropped their 8th game in 10 contests and have now lost 5 games straight. Additionally, I think the Stars' Shift key is broken because they can't capitalize on a single power play opp.

Just 24 seconds into the game, Francis Wathier faced off with Moose LW Pierre-Cedric Labrie. One might think we were going to see a penalty filled affair like the last time these two teams played in back-to-back games, however that was not the case.

Mathieu Beaudoin would open the scoring 17 minutes into the first frame with a great break away opportunity on a sick steal and pass from Andrew Hutchinson and Colton Sceviour. Beaudoin backhanded the puck over Machesney's right shoulder for a 1-0 lead.

Texas would score again on a quick shot one-timer from Fabian Brunnstrom, fed fro
m the corner by a hard-skating Travis Morin. Texas then led 2-0.

Sergei Shirokov would put one behind Stars goalie Todd Ford just under 5 minutes later on a tip in on a shot from the right circle by Tommy Maxwell. Shirokov is one of the Moose representatives at the All-Star game in two weeks. This was Ford's first game as a Star and understandably, his uniform was a bit mismatched... Stars lead 2-1.

The game would be tied up after a shot from Oberg took a strong bounce off the endboards and Guillame Desbiens would whack it home behind Ford. Just 50 seconds later Grabner would score to make it 3-2 to end the second period, with the shots even at 22 a piece.

Five minutes into the 3rd period, Travis Morin would score on a great through the crease pass to put the puck into a yawning net. Moose goalie Darren Machesney had over committed to Vishnevskiy's shot and then when Ivan executed a deft through the blue pass to Travis Morin there was nothing there to stop him from potting his fourth of the season. He wasn't done yet though. Score tied 3-3.

Brunnstrom got his third point of the night on a great pass to Travis Morin who just put it on net 16 minutes into the period. Machesney went left; the puck didn't. Score 4-3 Texas.

With Machesney pulled, the Moose were trying to get one more chance at tying the score and that's just what their captain did. Mike Keane came around the net on a wrap-around attempt and Ford was ready for him, it would seem. This goal reminded me of the wrap-around goal that was scored in Anaheim v. Dallas game last week, one of those 'that should never go in' type goals. Mike Keane's weak attempt bounced off Ford's padding and into the net to tie the score 4-4. And on we went to overtime and the shootout.

Vishnevskiy was the only Star to score, beating Machesney high blocker side. He is now 3 for 4 in shootouts this year and has certainly earned his spot as the first shooter. Marco Rosa beat Ford five-hole on a stretched out play, and Marty Murray, the last Moose shooter, got Todd Ford to sprawl out and simply lifted the puck off the backhand and roofed it to win the game.

So what can we say now? The Stars outshot the Moose, and that is good but it isn't winning us games. We have to get back to defensive basics. Brad Lukowich was called up to play for the Canucks yesterday but was a healthy scratch. You have to feel like our game versus the Moose might have gone differently with his savvy veteran presence on the blue line. The Stars finally got some offense going, but the defense couldn't hold up to allow one fewer than we scored.

Fabian Brunnstrom had what I feel like was his first good game in a Texas Stars uniform, with 3 points in the losing effort. Also, Travis Morin has really come on since the addition of Todd Ford in goal. He has scored 3 goals in as many games and had the primary assist on the Brunnstrom goal today.

The Stars are back at the CPC on the 6th. I swear if I don't see someone standing in front of the net bugging the Aero's goalie at every turn, we're going to have words...


P.S. - Apologies for not doing a gameday preview yesterday, but I was quite busy. Promise it won't happen often! Thank for reading!

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