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Annual Meltdowns and Bouncing Back

Friday, 03.6.2009 / 11:44 AM CT / Feature
By Seamus O'Callahan  - Hockey Historian
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Annual Meltdowns and Bouncing Back

Well, last night was the annual meltdown at Staples Center in Los Angeles. It seems to happen every season out there. And after this latest debacle, we can come up with just a few possible explanations.

Seamus O'Callahan
Did Eddie Belfour break a mirror or two in his last game at Staples?

Is the arena built on Indian burial ground?

Facial hair? You know – these blown leads never took place in LA until Coach Tippett shaved off his mustache. Coincidence?

Seriously though, that was a tough one to take last night. Every point is precious in this tight race and the lost point may come back to haunt the Stars. Time will tell.

But I did a little research this morning and came up with some trends that should help ease the Stars fans’ worries a bit.

There have now been four “meltdown” games at Staples Center in Los Angeles in the four seasons since the lockout. And in each previous instance, the Stars bounced back.

Exhibit A) January 2, 2006. The Stars scored the first two goals of the game and should have led, 2-0, at the end of two. Instead, (Stars killer) Lubomir Visnovsky found the back of the net with less than one second left in the second stanza. Despite that, even the 2-1 lead looked like it was going to hold up until Antti Miettinen’s hook with 1:09 to play gave LA a 6-on-4 situation with the goalie pulled. Visnovsky tied it with 27 seconds left. Jason Arnott gets called for tripping 40 seconds into OT and LA captain (and future Star) Mattias Norstrom scored from the point on the power play for the win.
The Aftermath: Dallas won the next six in a row.

Exhibit B) February 12, 2006. The Stars were doing fine, having gone 14-4-1 since the last visit to LA, listed above. Dallas scored four goals in the second, powering to a 5-2 lead after two. Our old buddy Visnovsky scored just 45 ticks into the third and this one just had that feeling again. LA went on to score three goals in the first 2:57 of the period, and just like that, it was tied at 5-5. The Kings won it on a power play goal by Derek Armstrong with 6:26 left. LA outshot Dallas, 16-6 in the third.
The Aftermath: The game led into the Olympic Break. Dallas went 11-3-0 after it, going on win its seventh division title in nine seasons.

Exhibit C) November 10, 2007. The Stars lead, 4-0, with just over seven minutes remaining in regulation. But the Kings scored four goals in a span of 3:11 to tie it and scored another to take a 5-4 lead just two minutes later. Mike Modano (somehow) tied the game again with 1:05 left in regulation before Anze Kopitar scored midway through OT to win it, 6-5.
The Aftermath: Doug Armstrong is relieved of his duties three days later. The Stars go 6-0-1 in their next seven games to jump back in the race.

So have faith Stars fans. History tends to repeat itself.  A win tonight at Anaheim would give the Stars five points out of six on a three-game swing; and that’s huge after a five-game losing streak.

On a side note, I’d like to personally thank Sharks goalie Brian Boucher for his error last night on the slow hopper to short:



His gaffe gave Minnesota a 3-3 tie late in the third that the Wild would eventually win in overtime. Let’s just say that Boucher won’t be pushing Elvis Andrus for playing time at Rangers Ballpark this season.

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STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 x - ANA 77 48 22 7 225 215 103
2 x - NSH 76 47 21 8 218 183 102
3 STL 75 46 22 7 228 186 99
4 MIN 76 44 25 7 219 186 95
5 CHI 74 44 24 6 209 172 94
6 VAN 75 43 27 5 215 203 91
7 WPG 75 39 24 12 212 197 90
8 LAK 75 37 24 14 200 188 88
9 CGY 75 40 28 7 219 199 87
10 DAL 76 37 29 10 236 243 84
11 SJS 75 37 30 8 210 212 82
12 COL 75 35 28 12 205 209 82
13 EDM 75 22 40 13 181 254 57
14 ARI 76 23 45 8 160 252 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Benn 76 28 44 -4 72
T. Seguin 66 34 35 -1 69
J. Spezza 76 16 41 -3 57
J. Klingberg 59 11 27 6 38
C. Eakin 72 17 19 -2 36
T. Daley 62 16 19 -9 35
A. Goligoski 76 4 31 0 35
A. Hemsky 70 11 21 -6 32
S. Horcoff 72 11 17 8 28
V. Fiddler 74 12 14 -6 26
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
K. Lehtonen 34 15 10 .907 2.84
J. Enroth 14 26 2 .900 3.28
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