"The Honeymoon's Over"
Those were the words of Stars head coach Glen Gulutzan following a 6-0 destruction at the American Airlines Center on Tuesday. And how right those words are for a team that has lost its third straight game.
Kari Lehtonen (32) looks on helplessly as Tomas Fleischmann scores
"You start off 11-3 and teams are prepared to play you, they probably watch you a little closer," Gulutzan continued. Fair enough. The Stars started off as hot as any team in the NHL. Now, here is that added dose of adversity that every team goes through.
It's what a team does with this adversity that makes them a hit or miss in a season.
A 6-0 demolition against an average opponent in the Florida Panthers is not exactly promising. However, it's the defensive lapses and the bag skate to come afterwards that will focus a team and get them ready. Brenden Morrow's quote said it all after the game.
"This is probably the most embarrassing game we've had at home in quite some time," he said.
So how do the Stars dig out?
Several of the chances, at least in the last several games, came as a result of clever planning by their opponents. Look no further than Stephen Weiss' beaut last night. At times, the defense looks lazy. The active sticks aren't active. It seems as if the defense needs a rather significant adjustment. I'm not just singling out the defensemen, I'm talking about team defense.
The wingers aren't getting the job done defensively. General hockey knowledge dictates shots from the point cause rebounds. Rebounds cause goals. Passes from the point cause the play to continue in the zone. Continuing cycle work in the zone causes defensive breakdowns, until finally, you pay the ultimate price.
Fans should know the stretches where nothing goes right for their team. Well, nothing is going right for the Stars right now. Kari Lehtonen has bailed out this team time and time again with early Vezina-quality stuff. Now it's up to the team defense to come together and get things done.
The honeymoon may be over for the Stars, but that doesn't mean life post-honeymoon isn't good. It all starts against the struggling Avalanche. The Stars defeated the Avs the last time they played in a thrilling overtime victory.
Follow Jordan Kuhns on Twitter (@jckuhns)