Oh man, was that ever a soul-satisfying game. Literally, I loved everything about that game, except for how I was forced to partake of it. I think I liked it even better than the game against Arizona, and I was at the game against Arizona.
Standard disclaimers apply: All numbers taken are 5v5, unless otherwise noted, and taken from war-on-ice.com
- You know that part in The Little Mermaid where Ariel attempts to revive Prince Eric by singing to him and then there’s this angelic light around her and he’s captivated by her voice? That’s how I feel about our possession play last night. Lindy and several of the guys have mentioned “focusing on their game” which is what is creating the turnaround in defensive play. We’re keeping the puck out of our zone, and when it is in the zone, we’re taking away chances and blocking shots, all the way through the 3rd
- BABY ROOKIE BRETT RITCHIE!!! Oh man, that kid is probably having the best time of his life right now. Two goals in his first two games in the NHL, plus his first NHL assist, and tops in CF% last night. Plus he got some power play time and a few shifts with the top line.
- Side Bar: I know he’s only up because Horcoff is ill, and I fully expect Horcoff to come back in when he’s better, but I bet we’ll be seeing more of Ritchie this season.
- Side Bar 2: This season is really showing how continued investment in the AHL pays off for an NHL team. I bet the Pens are hella jealous.
- Side Bar 3: Speaking of Rookies making a case for the NHL, Big Rig killing it last night – three assists and four blocked shots! When Demers was in the box, he was one of the boys who picked up the extra 5v5 minutes with a total of 17.8 (~4 more than usual)
- Holy depth scoring, Batman! This is the Stars team everyone expected them to be over the summer. Goals from the First, Third, and Fourth lines, a goal on the power play and a shorthanded goal, which was, frankly, overdue. Our PK has been hunting for that the last few games.
- Kari didn’t have much to do last night (Minnesota had only 22 shots total), but he still did a very admirable job in net, and I was sad to see him lose the shutout. I’m guessing he will get the start against the Blackhawks tonight, with Lindback coming in against the Blue Jackets on Tuesday.
- Ryan Garbutt must’ve found his mantra. He hasn’t taken a penalty since the holiday break, with his last one in the Toronto game. He has looked focused and extremely dangerous. Roussel’s goal came off a rebound of one of his scoring chances last night. He had 2 SOG, 3 Missed shots, and 1 Blocked Shot.
The Más o Menos
- That second period scrum. Listen, I’m not a big proponent of fighting (vigilante justice is generally a bad way of going about things) but I will say that it was nice to see the team sticking up for Kari, as he’s definitely fought a couple of his own battles recently.
- Thankfully, I really only have one point to put here. Trevor Daley’s 5v5 play seems to be slipping again. This is the fourth game in a row that he’s been under 50%, and he’s played two of those with Jokipakka, and two with Oleksiak. He had the lowest 5v5 TOI of any of the Dmen last night. It’s an alarming trend, even if he is playing very well on the PP and PK.
- Personal rant time: What the hell, NHL?? So the game was apparently broadcast on FSSW on every carrier except for Time Warner. Well, guess who I have! But of course, it’s Blacked Out on Gamecenter because, CLEARLY the Austin area fans should be forced to attend games in person, even though Dallas is a 3-4 hour drive away. So I tried to go to two different bars to watch it, but one was showing a UFC fight and the other was only showing the Pittsburg-Baltimore playoff game. SO FINALLY I gave in and tried to illegally stream it on my laptop, which never works well because I overwork the poor thing, and eventually just shut that off to listen to the radio broadcast.
- TL;DR I already pay for two different services to watch hockey, yet I was unable to last night because the NHL continues to cling to an antiquated blackout policy. So, next year I’m not paying for GCL because what’s the fucking point.