1st-place Stars record another loss to far lesser opponent

Jamie Sabau / National Hockey League / Getty

The Dallas Stars are the best team in the NHL, despite their propensity to leave points on the table against far lesser teams.

Case in point: Dallas dropped a 6-3 decision to the last-place Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday. It was the Stars' eighth loss in regulation and 11th overall through 38 games, with several of them coming against far lesser competition.

Date Opponent Score
Oct. 10 Colorado (18-17-2) L 6-3
Nov. 2 Toronto (13-15-7) L 4-1
Nov. 10 Toronto (13-15-7) L 3-2
Dec. 1 Calgary (17-16-2*) L 4-3 (SO)
Dec. 4 Edmonton (15-19-3*) L 2-1 (OT)
Dec. 17 Calgary (17-16-2*) L 3-1
Dec. 29 Columbus (14-22-3) L 6-3

* Heading into Tuesday's action.

"Obviously, we haven't defended well against weaker teams," Stars coach Lindy Ruff said postgame, according to Mike Heika of the Dallas News. "That's on my shoulders. That's something I have to correct."

He wasn't the only one willing to shoulder the responsibility.

"For some reason we think we can come in against these weaker teams and outscore them, but it's not how it works in this league," Jamie Benn said. "You've got to play good team defense ... that one's on me, I'll take the blame for that, not getting these guys ready.

"It's not easy to win in this league, and it was a poor effort against a team that was desperate. We made it too easy on them."

The Stars have amassed 57 points in the standings on a league-high 132 goals for, with a second-ranked goal differential of plus-35, so a loss to a bottom team out East on a Tuesday night in December probably isn't too much to be concerned about for the time being.

However, should the Stars continue to approach weaker teams with less focus than they should, it could become an issue when they enter the playoffs (likely) as a heavily favored top seed.

1st-place Stars record another loss to far lesser opponent
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