Well, that was a game last night, wasn’t it, folks? That’s our Stars, keeping it interesting right up until the very end. Watching this team play is going to give me an ulcer, I swear.
Let’s get right to it. You know the drill: All numbers from war-on-ice, 5v5 and all score situations, unless otherwise noted.
- The Stars actually won that game. No, seriously, the best thing we can talk about today is the fact that the Dallas Stars, yes, those Stars who can’t win close games, scored late in the third period and then didn’t give up a goal to go into OT (quite the opposite, actually).
- Side Note: In the post game, Lindy said “we didn’t play as good as we did against Montreal” and that is 100% true. The Stars were sloppy, turned the puck over a lot, had some poor play in the neutral zone, allowed way too many breakaways…but…this time they won.
- The Power Play? I know, it’s weird to be saying that, but our power play was pretty effective early in the game, providing two goals. As the game went on, the Sens managed to shut it down (and even have two shorthanded chances) so I wouldn’t call it “fixed”, but tonight was a marked improvement over the last few games.
- Side Note: Our 4v4 was also much better than it has been lately. While the Stars didn’t score when both captains were in the boxes, they had 3 SOG to the Sens’ 1. Hopefully they will be just as effective next time we’re in an OT situation.
- The Penalty Kill was, with one exception, great. Dallas spent twice as much time shorthanded as Ottawa, but you wouldn’t be able to tell from the numbers, and you definitely wouldn’t be able to tell from the score. It was an enormous clearance by Daley at the end of the game that just slid right into the empty net and allowed the fans to breathe for the first time in 15 minutes. Special teams won this game, and it’s been too long since we’ve gotten to say that.
The Más o Menos
- The 5v5 possession game wasn’t great last night (coming out to only 51.7% as a team), and that was due in large part to that sloppy play I mentioned earlier. The Stars only started 37% of the time in the offensive zone, but that’s not usually such a hindrance to running that fast game like we had in the beginning of the 1st The end of that period was as bad as it gets for the Stars, and with a crucial game against Winnipeg on Saturday, they cannot afford to make those same mistakes.
- Side Note: Huge, game-winning goal aside, Klingberg looked great last night. Excellent puck management, contributing offensively on the power play, hustling to get loose pucks. He probably will get overlooked for the Calder voting, but his numbers make him a very strong candidate:
- Side Note 2: I’m really glad Schlemko’s settling in. He seems to fit Dallas’ speedy style of play. I’d like to see him get more ice time, preferably in lieu of Oleksiak. (And I feel bad he hasn’t gotten his first Dallas Star goal yet!)
- Kari posted a better GAA than his average, and really came up big late in the game to keep it tied up. I don’t think we’re going to get many more shut outs from him this year, but if he can keep it to three goals or less, the Stars have enough offensive power to claw their way into the playoffs.
- We lost another large lead in a matter of minutes in the 1st period, played a loosey-goosey 2nd period, and then ran into penalty trouble in the 3rd. By all accounts, that’s not how you win hockey games, so while I’ll take the victory, if the Stars don’t keep practicing their good habits, we won’t see many more of these.
- Oleksiak did not have a great game. He also did not have great game against Boston, nor did he have great games in Cedar Park over the All Star break. He needs more consistent minutes and should probably be sent down to the Texas Stars for a longer stretch than just one or two games.
- Side Note: Listen, this is the absolute last time we’re going to talk about this, Stars fans. To all of those “rejoicing” that Jordie Benn was the healthy scratch, please, just stop. I don’t disagree that he had a very rough start to the year and deserved his benching, but I also think you guys need to sit down and accept the facts: Jordie is a good defenseman. Don’t believe me? Take a look at this Usage Adjusted HERO Chart:
- Usage adjusted means that the biases for Zone Starts, Quality of Competition, and Quality of Teammates have been found as a baseline (for defensemen only – the forwards have separate charts), averaged, and then subtracted from Jordie’s numbers, leaving the differentials you see here. So, please, if you feel like hating, the line starts on the left. Just for comparison, here is Daley, who as we know, is having a killer season.