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!!