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Canadiens vs Stars Recap: Losing begins to take its toll as Habs routed in uninspired outing

After a streak of good play but terrible luck at home, the Habs were hoping a change of scenery could bring about a change in their bad fortune.

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The Montreal Canadiens looked to get their eight-game road trip off on the right foot with a win in Texas versus the Dallas Stars.

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The Canadiens looked fairly good in the first period, outshooting the Stars 11-8, and leading 17-10 in five-on-five shot attempts, but were undone by an odd-man rush by the Stars, and Jason Spezza got Mike Condon to bite on a fake shot before taking the puck around the frozen goaltender and firing a shot short side.

The Canadiens had a great chance to equalize the score on a late-period power play, after Alex Galchenyuk dangled his way into the offensive zone and found himself in some open space, got it to Desharnais, who then got it across to a wide-open Dale Weise.  Weise's shot went through the crease and out the other side, reinforcing any notions the team had about an inability to score.

A harmless pass to the front of Montreal's net bounced off Jeff Petry's stick directly to the slot early in the second, and Jamie Benn was right there to capitalize and put the Stars up 2-0.

That seemed to be the point where the Habs gave up hope of getting the win from the first game of the road swing, as the rest of the game went just as you'd expect a 6-2 loss to have played out.  The Stars added four more goals: three on the power play, two of those coming on two of the three delay-of-game penalties taken by Canadiens defenders on clearing plays gone awry.

Daniel Carr did make things a bit interesting with a skillful power play goal of his own to make it 3-1 midway through the second, but Dallas took the game over once again. After having a power play goal waved off and punished with a goaltender interference penalty, the Stars went right back on the attack and scored in the brief four-on-four.

The goal was setup by a Jamie Benn hit on Jeff Petry as the Habs defender attempted to clear the puck.  Petry's head appeared to bounce off the helmet of Benn after initial contact had been made, and he was unable to rejoin the play, and did not return for the rest of the game.

Paul Byron ensured that the Stars wouldn't have all the fun on their man advantage, scoring on yet another short-handed break, his third goal scored in such a fashion this season.

The Canadiens ended up with fewer shots than the Stars after the initial edge in the first period, being outshot at five-on-five for the first time since November 28th.  The team was flat all night, giving up several odd-man rushes, leaving opposing players open in the middle of the ice, and, perhaps most telling of their performance, were beaten in footraces that would have been icings against the Stars on (by my unofficial count) four occasions.

Michael McCarron had a fair NHL debut, getting things started by launching a puck on goal from outside the Stars' blue line.  He clearly wasn't concerned about replicating Carr's feat of scoring on his first career shot.  He received some time on the power play — as Michel Therrien announced he would before the game — setting his 6'6" frame as a screen in front of Antti Niemi on an Andrei Markov shot that went by the goaltender unseen, but not unheard as it rang off the post.

He finished the night with a non-stellar 39.1% shot-attempts-for percentage, though that wasn't the lowest mark on team. He had two shots and served two penalties: a minor for closing his hand on the puck while down in his own end, and another late in the second for body-checking roughing.

McCarron and the Habs will make their next stop in Nashville to take on the Predators on Monday night. A more-determined, more-disciplined effort will be required to have them in position to capitalize on the one bounce that hadn't been going their way before the stay in Dallas, and turn it into a much-needed win.