To summarize my feelings on this game, I’m going to do a very vain thing and quote myself.
As usual, all numbers from war-on-ice.com, 5v5, all score situations, unless otherwise noted.
- Let’s start from the end and work our way to the beginning, why don’t we? That 3rd period was as good as the Stars have ever played this season. It was beautiful, fast hockey, with good possession, smart defending, and tons of scoring chances. Unfortunately, Bobrovsky is a damn fine goalie and really saved CBJ’s collective asses.
- Baaaaaaaaaaaaby rookie Brett Ritchie! Lindy Ruff said after the game that Ritchie was probably the best player on the team last night, and it’s really true. After that lackluster first period where Ritchie carried the fourth line, he got bumped up to Seguin’s right wing, and it looked like he’d been playing with them all season.
- Side Bar: He also got some time on the power play, though that’s not a particular feather in the cap this game.
- Side Bar 2: Horcoff was activated off of IR, so I expected him to play, but Ritchie is really earning his spot. I wouldn’t be surprised if Sceviour is the healthy scratch vs the Preds on Thursday.
- Hemsky is finally finding his groove. He has three goals and an assist in the last five games. He’s still only on pace for 12 goals this season and 32 points, which isn’t enough to justify his salary (4mil/yr) yet. Doing some speculative math (giving 25% weight to his recent trend continuing) it’s likely he’ll end closer to 20 goals and 40 points.
The Más o Menos
- This chart isn’t as good as it looks, but it’s not as bad either. Like I mentioned in my tweet, we were only at a 36% 5v5 CF during the first period, which was penalty-riffic. There were only 10.8 minutes of even strength time during the first period, and only 38.1 minutes overall.
- Side Bar: The fourth line only averaged about 5.5 minutes of even strength time, so their Corsi is not as bad as it looks – Moen has a 0% but only faced three Corsi events total.
- We only blocked 4 5v5 shots (to CBJ’s 11), but three of those were by forwards (Eakin with one, Roussel with two). When our forwards commit to defending, we’re a better team.
The Downright Ugly
- Listen, we’ve said what we need to say about our back up goaltending situation. It’s unsustainable, and if we don’t make it to the playoffs, this is going to be the big reason. We’re 1-7-0 with backup goalies playing this season (and that 1 is the EDM shootout). Those extra 14 points, or hell, those extra 7 points are a difference maker right now.
- Side Bar: In many of those 7 losses, I was content to blame the defending, but I just can’t this morning. There was one memorable break away, and Lindback just got taken. The only goal I don’t think he could’ve saved was the one that deflected off of Hemsky.
- Side Bar 2: He looks a crazy amount like Cary Elwes.
- The “Power” Play. God, there is really no excuse for that. We went 0 for 5. OH FOR FIVE. If the Stars want to win games, they have got to get the PP clicking again. The power play isn’t why we lost (i.e. no shorthanded goals) but it certainly is the reason we didn’t win. CBJ’s penalty kill was 22nd in the league coming in last night, and so that 0% conversion rate is just downright embarrassing.
- That first period. That period reminded me of everything that was frustrating at the beginning of the season. Turnovers, stupid penalties, slow, disconnected play. Thankfully the boys snapped themselves out of the funk, but we just can’t start games like that, especially since 3 of our next 4 games are against Central Division teams.
Listen, if we’re going to lose, at least we should lose to the East. Right after the Preds we play the Avs, which is another team trying to claw their way into the playoffs, and two games after that, we play the Jets, one of the teams currently in a wildcard spot. We’re still in this, but we’ve got to come out hot every night.