When you read this recap please do yourselves a favor and picture a dirty, sweaty Russell Crowe standing center ice in the AAC yelling to the crowd “ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED???”
This game, friends, is pretty much EXACTLY what lands the Dallas Stars in the “fun” category of all those charts the analytics crowd (Carolyn included) posts on twitter. What makes them fun? HIGH EVENTS. SCORING CHANCES. GOALS.
So many goals.
Admittedly, for a certain subset of fan of either the Dallas Stars (myself included) or the opposing team, these games are less “fun” and more “mind-blowingly stressful.”
But hey! Have a chart!
5v5, score adjusted, numbers from war-on-ice.
You know how there’s normally a squiggly line to show where 50% is? And it’s not on here? THAT’S BECAUSE NO ONE WAS ABOVE 50%. Our team possession was 36%. THIRTY-SIX-PERCENT.
They talk about teams stealing games, friends. This game was flat out robbed from the Carolina Hurricanes. And I’d feel bad about that, but I’m too busy cheering about the fact that we’re still on top of the league.
And now on to the game. BUT FIRST.
Okay first of all, I want you to know that I never really think about John Michael Liles unless we’re playing him, but I laugh when we do because I think about that time the Leafs were BLOWN OUT by the Canes and Steve Dangle screamed about John Michael Liles. (He used to be a Leaf.) ANYWAY.
The chart says “so many early chances for the Stars” with a down tick because I should have written “Canes” instead of Stars. My roommate came out of her room while I was drawing this graph and was talking at me while I was drawing this.
Eaves’ beard is also a low point on this graph but that’s because it looks RIDICULOUS and is hiding his precious face. I like him with some scruff but he’s approaching Brent Burns territory and it’s . . . not a good look for him.
Spezza gets a ping on the crossbar that was literally the Stars first movement toward the Canes net IN THE GAME. And that was like, four minutes in.
And then! On the first actual shot of the game!
Eaves scores off a brilliant feed from Tyler Seguin, who got the puck from Klingberg, who lost THREE CANES INCLUDING TWO STAALS along the boards in the Stars zone. It was a perfect storm of failure for the Hurricanes.
And then, 26 seconds later, this.
On the second shot of the game. Val carries the puck through the neutral zone, passes to Jamie, clears the lane for him, and then all you’ve got is the league’s leading goal scorer against the worst goaltending in the league. (Sorry Cam Ward, but also not that sorry.) 2-0 Stars.
But we’re only halfway through the scoring in this period.
Johnny Oduya scores on a slapshot from the top of the zone that in so many other situations would never have gone in for us. There were like five guys between Oduya and the net, but helpfully all of them got out of the way, the puck deflected off one of the Canes defenders, and it’s 3-0 Stars.
AND THEN. Jay “man if we didn’t get some goals back later I’d have been in real trouble” McClement goes off for tripping Antoine “everyone’s favorite French punching bag” Roussel and Tyler “I AM GOING TO WIN THE ART ROSS THIS YEAR OR AT LEAST TIE WITH JAMIE” Seguin scores on the power play.
Because why not? This team is ridiculous. 4-0 Stars.
And on to first intermission.
The Hurricanes make the decision to pull Cam Ward for the second period and put Taco Goalie Eddie Lack in net. If you’re not familiar with why people call him the Taco Goalie, it’s because he loves tacos so much that he literally has a tattoo of a taco on his arm.
That’s not temporary.
I was so ready for a Taco Goal against the Taco Goalie, y’all. SO READY. And instead, Jaccob Slavin nets his first NHL goal. FIRST. NHL. GOAL. Because why not set all your milestones against us. We are so happy to oblige.
Some baffling defensive choices were made by Oduya and JoBenn here, but mostly the one that led to Slavin being right up in Kari’s kitchen to pick up that rebound. This wasn’t on a rush, we were in the zone. I just don’t know, y’all.
There’s a long period in the middle here where not a lot happens except some chances back and forth, but mostly chances for the Canes that Kari stops. There weren’t even any penalties this period. Although I did remember at some point that it was the Canes the Stars were playing when Razor made his infamous “like poop through a diarrhea infected goose” call.
Until literally the last minute of play in the period when Val Nichushkin. Well.
Walks in like a big Russian condor and scores his 4th of the season, 2nd since he’s been moved to the top line with Jamie and Tyler (which just happened a few games ago).
That goal was waved off on the ice, then it was decided they would conference about it, then they called the goal, but then it was under review. Honestly, if you can figure out what the officials were thinking, I’d be interested to hear about it. Either way, after the shortest review time ever, it’s deemed a good goal and we head into intermission up 5-1.
AND THEN CHAOS DESCENDS.
Like. You guys. We went into the third period up 5-1. Last year that was cause for concern but the third period has been so much better this season. Sooooo much better.
Here’s when a lone hockey god cackles in the corner. “NOT THAT MUCH BETTER.”
So the first thing that happens in the first two minutes of the period is that Jason Spezza goes off for a tripping penalty. Now, I have no idea where to find this stat, but it was mentioned last night that Justin Faulk leads the league in power play goals. So. You know. The inevitable happened.
I don’t have a gif of this one but Kari came out to the top of the paint (I HATE IT WHEN HE DOES THIS), and no defender went in to, you know, cover the gaping hole that left. You know who did cover that gaping hole? Eric Staal, thank you SO MUCH, buddy. This was reviewed for goalie interference, because an argument could be made that Eric Staal prevented Kari from moving back into position, but honestly? He didn’t even try.
A little more than a minute later, Di Guiseppe scores HIS first in the NHL.
I feel like handing Klingberg a “you didn’t even try at all” sticker on this play. What were you doing, child?
Another young player’s milestone, you’re welcome AGAIN, Canes!
The Canes get called for Too Many Dicks On the Dance Floor just before the halfway point in the period. We don’t score on the ensuing power play and with about eight seconds left to go in it, the Stars also collectively lose their minds and their ability to count and get an opposing Too Many Dicks call. Justin “they call me Special Teams” Faulk scores on the power play, and it’s 5-4 Stars because THE STARS WANT ME TO SUFFER.
But I wasn’t even done suffering y’all. A couple of weeks ago, a friend on twitter asked us which player we hate without any good reason at all. My pick? Jeff Skinner. I don’t know why, you guys. I just DO. So what do the Stars do here? They give the player I hate for no good reason at all a reason to celebrate IN MY BUILDING.
And then, as Stephanie says, Lehtonen was pulled.
Sometimes pulling a goalie is about the poor play of the goalie, and sometimes pulling a goalie is about the poor play of the team in front of the goalie. You know how many shots Antti Niemi faced at the end of this game? Zero. He faced zero shots.
Carolina had three misses, so corsi events were actually still even. And even with keeping the Canes to 0 legit shots on goal, the Stars only had 3 shots at even strength in the last six minutes.
BUT IT DOESN’T EVEN MATTER WHATEVER BECAUSE PATRICK “GOD MADE ME MORE BEAUTIFUL THAN YOU AND THAT’S OKAY” SHARP SCORED ON THE POWER PLAY WHEN VICTOR “AT LEAST I STILL HAVE A FAMOUS BROTHER” RASK TOOK A PENALTY FOR TRIPPING EAVES.
AND THE STARS WIN DESPITE THEMSELVES.