Playing the second game in as many nights, the Dallas Stars looked fatigued against the Minnesota Wild, and struggled to find their offensive groove. Christopher Nilstorp, making his first NHL start in net for the Stars, was solid as he saved all but one of the 32 shots he faced. The Stars’ difficulty in finding offense led to their downfall as the Wild held on for a 1-0 win.
Nilstorp was easily the Stars best player on Sunday night, and help allay some fears fans may have regarding the goaltending situation. There’s an obvious comfort level with Kari Lehtonen in net, but when it comes to the young (and in some cases untested) net minders behind him, there’s a fear of the unknown. The Stars are going to be in many back-to-back situations as they were Saturday and Sunday of opening weekend due to the lockout-shortened schedule. Nilstorp may have shown his teammates and fans that he can handle being under pressure in those situations.
Another point of possible concern, though, is the lack of offense from last night. As time goes on and we get deeper into the schedule, fatigue is only going to set in further. What will happen in a month or so when the Stars are playing back-to-back again? Will this fatigue be even more pronounced?
Three Dallas Stars players failed to register a shot last night – Derek Roy, Brendan Morrow and Loui Eriksson. Morrow plays on the 3rd line, so perhaps that is going to be understandable that he might not get a shot on net. He logged about 10 minutes last night, and his role doesn’t call for him to be a main source of offense. But Roy and Eriksson are looked to as offensive leaders on the team; it’s a bit surprising that neither managed to put a puck on net.
Also, the Stars’ power play woes re-surfaced on Sunday evening. After going 2-for-4 on the PP Saturday night, the Stars were 0-for-4 against the Wild. Just one goal in those four opportunities could have earned Dallas an extra point in the standings.
All of that said, it’s still early to become overly concerned about these points of concern. The Stars are 1-1 after opening weekend, and have to shake this disappointing 1-0 loss off as they turn around and face the Red Wings in Detroit on Tuesday.