Well friends, we put out a call for podcast questions yesterday and got a truly overwhelming number of responses. Which, by the way, is a GREAT problem to have. These are the questions that we felt worked better in written form, or we just weren’t prepared to answer last night.
There was nowhere else for me to talk about this, so I’m talking about it here. At 13:06 in the second period of the game last night, I was banished to my kitchen by the internet. I went and I stayed and WE WON so who’s laughing now!?
Why at 13:06? Well, I feel like we’re getting a little ahead of ourselves friends, so let’s go back.
In the first-ever 2BL Playoff-bound podcast, the Ladies talk being #1 in the West, Merrin cries about Sam Gagner, Carolyn fills out a bracket full of feelings, and everyone knows you’re just one wrong shirt away from elimination. It’s gonna be lit, y’all.
The Ladies nominate Pat Maroon for the Masterton, are haunted by a phantom train, get confused by the number of people named Bill in the world, talk playoff seeding, Val’s frustration, and whether old men live in trees. Remember: Podcasts are a social construct.
With only 8 points needed to clinch a playoff spot, the Ladies reflect on the Stars season, promptly jinx them by saying nice things about Kris Russell, Carolyn becomes “that guy”, and Merrin has a baby related meltdown. You know, the usual.
First, we forgot (in the moment) about Travis “Toboggan” Moen’s Stanley Cup winning goal (which was actually an own goal from the opposition) with the Anaheim Ducks in 2007. He is therefore officially added to the list of veteran Stanley Cup experience in the locker room.
This is mentioned in the reader questions, but here is the article about Brianne McLaughlin’s mom being a professional “hockey mom.”
(We apologize for the jinxing.)
Look I’m just not fussed. I’m not. I tried to be. But it was a lackluster effort on a Tuesday night at the end of December and it’s just . . . blah. The Capitals didn’t play tonight so we’re still at the top of the league, and after the Caps it’s 8 points down to the next highest team. In the Central Division it’s 7 points to the Blues and 9 points to the Kings.
WE’RE GONNA BE FINE. We were never gonna go 82-0 and honestly, after the week we’ve had I’m okay with this. At least it’s Columbus and not, like, the Ducks. Or the Capitals. Or anyone in the Central. So we phoned it in against the bottom of the league. IT’S OKAY.
That said, my GOD, that first period blew.
I’m gonna talk about this shutout in a minute, I swear. FIRST, though, I’m going to talk about Christmas week, and the fact that we played four games in back-to-back pairings against three Central Division teams currently in playoff positions. One of them won the Stanley Cup last spring, one of them won the Division last season, and one of them has a goalie I kind of like.
We got 7 out of 8 points this week. The game we lost? We lost by one point. The three games we won? We won by at least 3 goals each time, and the two second halves of each back-to-back were shutouts.
Tell me again we aren’t ready for a playoff series against the Central Division. TELL ME.
In other news, Kari Lehtonen gets a shutout for the first time this season, while at home, where his record hasn’t been as good as it is on the road. His Sv% at home has been .883 over 7 games with 5 wins. His Sv% on the road is .928 over 7 games with 7 wins. On both counts, I dropped two games where he played under 8 minutes (one of those road games was the one in Minnesota before Christmas) but they’re statistical outliers and shouldn’t be counted.
Well, that was a game last night. There was a lot of good, and a lot of meh, and I came away feeling like we really held our own against another playoff bound team. That said, I was really disappointed that the game went to OT; I really wanted our boys to lock down the points in regulation.
Sorry folks, no glitter today. Loser points don’t get sparkles.
Per usual, all data is 5v5 and score adjusted and from war-on-ice.com unless otherwise noted.
Colton Sceviour followed up his goal against the Blackhawks with another beautiful one against the Blues. Honestly, you can’t ask for a prettier goal against a hot goalie. Once deemed the unluckiest man on the Stars (by yours truly), Scevs is starting to find the back of the net again, and that’s awesome.
Yes, I know the “goals” section is later, but I’m trying to celebrate what went “Right” about that game.
- Side Note: I’ll reserve that for the shootout. Spezza’s goal deserves its own section.
The second best thing about this game was Kevin Shattenkirk’s game-saving stick. Listen, I wanted the Stars to win more than anyone, but honestly, this kind of shit is like why we watch hockey in the first place.
Niemi was once again fantastic, which begs the question: who starts tonight?
The Más o Menos
Unlike that 3-0 thrashing that happened last time these two teams met, the Stars actually stuck to their guns. The first period was some of the best defensive hockey they’ve played all year, and they did a great job on the counter attack.
- Side Note: Overall, the Blues only hit about 38.2 Fenwick For per 60 (FF60), which is slightly under league average (38.8), and definitely under what they’ve been averaging so far this year (41.2).
- Side Note 2: The problem is that the Stars only averaged 31.9 FF60, and they usually average 43. So that…was..a thing.
- Side Note 3: Both teams had about the same number of high danger scoring chances per 60 (Dallas with 7.3, Blues at 6.9) which means both teams did really well at defending the crease.
Jamie Benn scored in the shoot out! Tyler Seguin did not! Everything is opposite!
We got CREAMED in possession numbers. A lot of this happened in the second period, when the Blues took advantage of some extended zone time to get a lot of shots off.
But if we’re honest, the most damning thing on this chart is that Seguin, Benn and Sharp had the absolute best puck possession numbers on the team, but had only 2 5v5 scoring chances between the three of them.
- Side Note: Yes, obviously Tyler scored a goal, but it wasn’t from what’s considered a “dangerous area” and honestly Allen should’ve had that. Scoring chances are slightly more likely to become goals than shots from the perimeter, which is why teams focus on them.
- Side Note 2: For perspective, in the game against Chicago, the trio had 5 scoring chances, and even against CBJ, where Seguin & Benn were the two worst possession players on the team, they put up 6 scoring chances. To win games against teams like the Blues, that top line can’t let themselves be pushed to the outside.
To top all that off, the team took FOUR penalties, giving up one power play goal, and then failed to capitalize on the only power play they received. While I wasn’t a big fan of the reffing in that game (hey Tim Peel, I see you), the Stars aren’t going to win unless their special teams are firing on all cylinders. 10 minutes of special teams gameplay is the same as half a period. It needs to be treated like half a period.
Giving up that goal with less than two minutes left was crushing. With how well we’d been blocking shots and getting in lanes all game it was just…RAR!!!!!!!!! I hate the Blues. I hate that we’re playing them 5 times this year. I hate that we’re playing them TONIGHT.
Goals on Goals – Shootout Style
Good morning friends!!! And what a sweet, sweet morning it is.
Man, I have been on vacation so long I almost forgot how to write a recap. I watched the game last night at my mom’s house, and at first she tried to shush me whenever I started yelling at the TV, but then I think she understood how emotional this game was making me.
Probably because I looked like I was about to vomit for the first two periods. And then I started crying when the game ended. Well, that’s hyperbole, but only just. I definitely teared up.
But you know what a win means! GLITTER!
As usual, all numbers in this recap are 5v5, score adjusted, and from war-on-ice.com unless otherwise noted.
What wasn’t good about last night? I’m so happy with this team I don’t even know where to start. I guess I’ll begin with Antti Niemi’s play yesterday, which was nothing short of spectacular. After playing most of the game in Minnesota the night before, getting into Dallas at 2:30am, and then playing another full sixty minutes? Oh man.
- Side Note: I was having a discussion with some of the guys over at hockey-graphs.com about Niemi’s contract, and how it was a bad deal. And honestly, I definitely wasn’t a fan of it when Nill signed it this summer. Niemi’s over 30 and 3 years is pushing it for any player past that threshold. Combined with the $4.5m AAV, it was quite high. Had I been a GM, I wouldn’t have done it. But it’s clear that what Dallas needed wasn’t the same thing that conventional wisdom held to – I have come around. I think just with his 20 games played and 15 wins, Niemi has earned his salary for this year (at least). He’s been an absolute steal for Dallas, in ways he probably couldn’t be anywhere else.
With the Blackhawks as a formidable possession team, it’s SO GREAT to see this chart lopsided in the Stars’ favor. They ended the night with 59% Corsi For, which is just…ridiculous.
- Side Note: I LOVE THIS TEAM SO GODDAMN MUCH SOMETIMES.
- Side Note 2: Yay for depth scoring! Seguin, Sharp & Benn might have put up the best possession numbers, but honestly, it was the other three lines who were the most dangerous with the puck. Everyone was on their game, which is why we saw not only Sharp’s goal during 5v5 play, but one from Janmark and that tip in by Sceviour. Add in Spezza’s Power Play goal, and someone on every line scored last night.
- Side Note 3: Hemsky was on FIRE last night, creating chances left and right. I know he gets a lot of flak for not burying it on breakaways like Seguin would, but there’s definitely and edge to his game this year that he didn’t have last year. Sometimes creating chances that can get rebounds or follow ups, or at the very least frustrating defenses by extending zone time is really what you need out of a forward. Hemsky is providing that in spades this year.
Can I talk about our defensive play? I’m going to talk about our defensive play. First, the ultimate test of Defense – the penalty kill. HOLY PENALTY KILL, BATMAN. The Blackhawks had two power plays right off the bat in the first period and they got a combined total of ZERO shots off. ZE-RO. Now I know how a mom feels when they watch their baby graduate.
Second, while the game was frantic and fairly evenly matched to start, the Stars did an excellent job of keeping the Blackhawks pushed to the perimeter. In all situations (including the power plays), 56% of the Hawks shot attempts were from “low danger” areas – typically you see this around 50%.
- Side Note: And, despite that frantic first period, the Stars rallied, keeping their team FA60 (Unblocked Shots Against per 60 minutes) down at 33.6. The league average is around 39. That’s a good game defensively.
- Side Note 2: While I’m loathe to talk about him, Patrick Kane has almost singlehandedly been the entire Blackhawks offense this year. Our very own John Klingberg was assigned Kane-wrangling, having over 9 minutes of 5v5 shared ice time with him.
- Side Note 3: Klingberg came out of that match up with 60.87% Corsi For. He did this while mainly supporting Spezza’s line, which had 2 of 3 members below the 50% line, but you know, he’s bad at defense, so shouldn’t be considered a Norris contender.
The Más o Menos
I still haven’t seen Star Wars yet.
- Side Note: I am going this afternoon with my mom. Her cat is named Yoda. I think she’ll enjoy it.
NOTHING. THERE WAS NOTHING BAD ABOUT THIS GAME. IT WAS AMAZING. EVERYTHING WAS BEAUTIFUL.
No, honestly, the worst thing (best thing?) is now I’m chaffing even more at all those articles (looking at you, ESPN.com) that keep saying the Stars aren’t going to be a good playoff team. I’m sorry, bros, but like…that was a playoffs style performance.
Please, keep discounting the Stars. Please keep telling me our defense is bad. Please keep saying we can’t win with this kind of netminding. I think we work better that way.
Goals on Goals
Not a goal, but deserves to be in here, because SHUT OUT FOR NIEMI
And my Roomie (who willingly watched the game without me asking her to!!) caught this one that no one tweeted:
“This was like an advent calendar of offense.”
Well said Razor, well said. HAPPY HOLIDAYS EVERYONE!!
Okay, folks! Roomie here with your Stars vs Wild game recap.
I have this theory that I got stuck doing the recap for this game not because Merrin and Carolyn were both busy being on vacations and doing holiday-type festivities and stuff, but because it’s on that channel that is always shitty and blacks out frequently during games so you are constantly in the kind of suspense that leaves you just this side of having an actual heart attack.
Because that happened. A LOT. Like, I can save you a lot of reading by telling you the third period was mostly like ?????????????? OH HEY, WE WON! But I guess you’re reading because you actually want to know what happened or something.
I mean, so do I. But as with my previous recap, I’ll fill you in on what I can.
Random other things you should know about: Apparently, Demers’ mom made some homemade chocolate turtles that were excellent. Razor mentioned this FREQUENTLY during the game. I want to be her friend.
Also, one of the guys (Sevvy, I think?) said he wanted to see Klingberg making some of those “sultry little passes” during this game…whatever that means (re: hockey). I choose to assume he made quite a lot of them and my tv was blacking out keep them censored. Klingberg’s passes, just too hot for TV. Tough luck if you were hoping to ACTUALLY see them, Sevvy.
Anyway, first period:
Ugh… this was another one of those not good for the Stars type starts.
Some Wild guy called Spurgeon, who is (not a fish and) according to Razor quite tall and “a very elfin 170 or so”, scored the first goal less than 5 minutes in. Then, Charlie Coyle knocked Jamie Benn over and also scored and we were down 0-2 in less than ten minutes. Ruff was like… “Yeah… let’s not.” And put Antti in, which is great! ‘Cuz I love him and also he stopped all but one of the subsequent shots the Wild made in the game.
Razor speculated that this may have been due to the “reverse jersey night” confusing Kari, our formidable road goalie, into thinking this was actually a home game. I mean… maybe?
Hemsky tried to do things… twice. Dubnyk was not having it.
Porter smashed Demers into a wall trying to race for the puck, because of maybe this should have been an icing call or something? I don’t know what this hybrid icing thing is, or why it’s different from regular icing, but apparently it should have been called, so Demers didn’t get broken. But they smashed into the boards and he did 😦 He left the ice without putting any weight on his left leg.
And then… oh nevermind, Klingberg must have made a sultry little pass.
But after commercial, Demers came out and did a twirl, which apparently means to test if he is still too broken to play hockey. He wasn’t. YAY!!!
So, in my notes… I forgot to make a note about when the first period ends, but I think that was it. It was kind of boring, honestly. Even though two goals were scored and they swapped goalies, like the Wild are SO BORING. They are sooo slow and we still really couldn’t get past them, and I feel like we should have because we are fast and awesome. But mostly it looked like them kinda just floating around out there and us scrambling around, which is not how it actually was, but if I wasn’t trying to pay attention so I could write this recap, I’d have wandered off to read a book or something.
So this one started out with a lot of black screen, but it was a lot more fun… because things happened! Also, most of these things were good for the Stars.
But first it was like… “Jordie misses by a whisker!” Ughhh…
Then… Klingberg got hit and then Sharp and Jamie Benn pile in and there is fight-yness. Or basically, just a tight knot of angry dudes shoving each other. Sharp and some other guy gets sent to the box and it’s 4-on-4, which I’m like… this is MUCH better for the Stars, because… that’s one fewer boring, slow dude in the way.
Klingberg, again, decides to do something TOO SEXY and when the game comes back, we’re on the power play. 4-on-3. This is VERY GOOD for the Stars. Except not. Seguin makes a shot that doesn’t get high enough to pass Dubnyk and so no goals scored on the power play. Boo. “If you do not elevate, you will not accumulate,” says Razor. *sigh* Well, at least we’re getting to the net this time around. A little bit. Sometimes.
The first goal of the game came from Jordie Benn! Apparently, it’s also his first this season! Yaaaaay! :D:D:D:D I felt a little sorry for Jordie, whose luck, I understand is THE WORST sometimes, because they thought it might have been deflected in off one of the defensemen’s skates and were surprised that it went in cleanly. I guess he knows how to play hockey or something. Anyway, GOOD ON YOU JORDIE. THANK YOU FOR CUTTING THAT LEAD IN HALF. I feel MUCH less nervous!
SOMEONE SHOT AT US (Granlund… I think) and Niemi makes a pretty awesome save!
Klingberg, TOO HOT! Seriously, stop it. This is a family sporting event!
Spurgeon trips Jamie Benn and we get another power play. Goligoski passes to Eaves and this time on the power play, WE SCORE!!! I thought it was Eaves, but apparently, it was actually Fiddler. Who cares? WE’RE TIED! Safe to breathe now.
Then, with less than a minute left in the second, Seguin scores, finally pulling us ahead of the Wild (where we obviously belong)!
ALSO SO MANY HAPPY STARS HUGS!!!
Okay, this period is a little dicey. It started off with a goal from Roussel! Something about how if Oduya had scored on a shot he made from the blue line, it would have been all beard-y dudes scoring, because Jordie and also there’s “a thick and tantalizing beard on Eaves”. Oduya didn’t score, but I felt it was worth mentioning anyway, since this is a blog where that kind of observation is decidedly welcome.
The Wild used their coach’s challenge to dispute Roussel’s goal saying it was offsides before the goal. It wasn’t. Like, I barely understand what offsides is in hockey and I could tell this was a bullshit challenge to waste time. Result… his goal was good. Obviously. STARS HAVE A TWO GOAL LEAD! AHHHHH!!!
-sultry little pass-
“The Stars forward lines are like Play-Doh, formed and re-formed.” – Razor
About Roussel, “He’s very much the rose for these Dallas Stars, but there’s a lot of thorn before you get to the petals.” – Razor
Coyle passes to Niederriderererer? from behind the net and he scores.
About this time, Klingbae must have decided to go for the hockey equivalent of a long, slow striptease because the feed was out for almost the entire rest of the period. (I kind of imagine that he’s doing it to this song)
Eakin got an empty netter!
-sultry little pass-
Dubnyk back in.
-sultry little pass-
Wild almost get a goal? Maybe?
VERN FIDDLER SCORES AGAIN!
-sultry little pass-
They show a Kari on the bench all happy and smiling and adorable. ❤
They show Antti getting goalie head pats from his team and being adorable. ❤
I don’t have to suffer through OT and live to write another recap. ❤
That’s all! Happy holidays, everyone! <333