Ugly loss car­ries dis­mal dis­tinc­tion

The Dallas Morning News - - Sports Day - By MATTHEW DEFRANKS Staff Writer [email protected]­las­news.com

The Stars’ 32 give­aways in Satur­day’s 3-1 home loss to St. Louis tied for the most in an NHL game this sea­son. Seven Stars had at least three give­aways.

The Stars emerged from Satur­day night’s 3-1 loss to St. Louis with a du­bi­ous dis­tinc­tion.

With 32 give­aways against the Blues, Dal­las tied an NHL sea­son high for give­aways in a game. The Pan­thers also had 32 give­aways against Tampa Bay on Dec. 1.

Seven Stars had at least three give­aways Satur­day night, led by Ja­son Spezza’s four.

“I thought there was no rhyme or rea­son to some of the de­ci­sions we made out there,” Stars coach Jim Mont­gomery said. “Again our game plan wasn’t ex­e­cuted, and again that’s my fault for not get­ting the mes­sage through.”

One team in the last three sea­sons (also the Pan­thers) gave the puck away more in a game than the Stars did Satur­day night. Dal­las now ranks sixth in the NHL with 539 give­aways this sea­son.

Give­aways, take­aways and hits can be un­re­li­able fig­ures be­cause they vary from build­ing to build­ing based on the league’s off-ice scor­ing crew. But even with vari­abil­ity in leaguewide num­bers, Satur­day’s 32 give­aways were the most for the Stars in nearly 15 years.

Dal­las last had as many turnovers March 18, 2004, at home against Van­cou­ver.

An­other call-up: Erik Con­dra’s third-pe­riod goal was the lat­est devel­op­ment in the Stars’ search for pro­duc­tion from AHL re­calls. He is the fourth Stars for­ward to spend time in the AHL and NHL this year, join­ing Roope Hintz, De­nis Guri­anov and Justin Dowl­ing.

None have played more than nine straight games with Dal­las, and the four have to­taled four goals in 52 games played. In the AHL, they have 42 com­bined goals.

At 32 years old and with nearly 400 NHL games played, Con­dra is not a long-term so­lu­tion for the Stars like Hintz or Guri­anov or even Joel L’esper­ance.

L’esper­ance could be the next in line, with 22 goals and 13 as­sists in 37 games. His 22 goals are sec­ond in the AHL af­ter he scored twice against Iowa on Satur­day night.

In­jury up­date: On Satur­day morn­ing, Mont­gomery said in­jured for­ward Ja­son Dick­in­son (back) could re­turn as soon as Thurs­day against the Kings. Dick­in­son was on the ice for morn­ing skate Satur­day but has not played since Dec. 22.

Martin Han­zal (back), Marc Methot (knee) and Stephen Johns (post-trau­matic headaches) are not skat­ing but are con­di­tion­ing, Mont­gomery said. Han­zal has not played since Dec. 23, Methot has missed the last 34 games and Johns has not played this sea­son.

Is­lan­ders 5, Light­ning 1: In New York, Casey Cizikas and Cal Clut­ter­buck each had a goal and an as­sist, Thomas Greiss stopped 38 shots, and New York beat league-lead­ing Tampa Bay.

Brock Nel­son, rookie Devon Toews and Josh Bai­ley also scored as New York had three goals in the open­ing five min­utes and went on to get their 11th win in 14 games.

Tampa Bay, which vis­its the Stars on Tues­day, was 18-1-1 in its pre­vi­ous 20. The Light­ning — the NHL lead­ers in wins (35), points (72) and road wins (16) — lost in reg­u­la­tion for just the ninth time this sea­son but sec­ond in the last five games.

Blue Jack­ets 7, Rangers 5: In Colum­bus, Ohio, Nick Foligno scored twice, Sergei Bo­brovsky re­turned from a team sus­pen­sion and stopped 22 shots, and Colum­bus held off a late surge.

Cam Atkin­son and Artemi Pa­narin each had a goal and an as­sist, Ryan Mur­ray had two as­sists and nine other play­ers picked up points in the of­fen­sive ex­plo­sion for Colum­bus.

Jets 4, Ducks 3 (OT): In Win­nipeg, Man­i­toba, Bryan Lit­tle scored at 4:49 of over­time as Win­nipeg ex­tended Ana­heim’s los­ing streak to a fran­chise-record 11 games. The Jets are 5-2 in their last seven.

Flames 7, Coy­otes 1: In Cal­gary, Al­berta, Mark Gior­dano had two goals and an as­sist in his 800th ca­reer game for Cal­gary.

Canucks 5, Pan­thers 1: In Van­cou­ver, Bri­tish Co­lum­bia, for­mer Star Loui Eriks­son had a goal and two as­sists as Van­cou­ver dealt Florida its sixth straight loss.

Hur­ri­canes 6, Preda­tors 3: In Raleigh, N.C., Se­bas­tian Aho had three goals and an as­sist to lead Carolina.

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