Searching for consistency
October 30, 2003
By J. Douglas Foster
Though obviously pleased anytime his team collects two points in a game, Stars head coach Dave Tippett knows victories like the last two can set a dangerous precedent.
Yes, it's great to know you have the ability to come back from a deficit and win in the waning moments. But it's not something you want to start counting on.
"You've got to have the confidence that you are capable of doing it any time," Tippett said. "But it's obviously not the situation you want to be in."
That's exactly the situation the Stars have been in during each of the last two games, trailing heading into the third period and for the most part of that final period.
Fortunately, however, they didn't lose either game. It started with Saturday's come-from-behind 3-2 victory in Columbus. Wednesday, it was a little more dramatic as they erased a 3-1 Calgary lead, forced a tie on Bill Guerin's hat trick and won in overtime thanks to Jason Arnott's goal.
While focusing on the result is a good thing, the Stars said they need to pay just as much attention to the events that led to those deficits.
"We've got to make sure the work is there all the time," Stars wing Rob DiMaio said. "The emotion may not be there every period or every night, but the work has to be there all the time."
The biggest concern for Tippett and the Stars is that they haven't been able to establish leads in any of their last three games, something they will be trying to accomplish again when they travel to Nashville on Saturday.
Columbus used one of its two 5-on-3 chances to take a 1-0 lead, then went up 2-1 before Dallas' late comeback. The Flames used two second-period goals to turn a 1-1 game into a 3-1 lead.
Changing that, they said, means playing the first two periods as they did the final one.
"We're a good team. We know we're a good team," DiMaio said. "But we've got to be a good team for 60 minutes, not 20 minutes."