Jaromir Jagr- can’t really ask for a better start. Four points (2 goals and 2 assists), 3 shots, +1 and a clear display that he still has the skill to play in the NHL. Every time he touched the puck, he took the attention of at least two Coyotes, leaving his line mates open. He made some very crisp passes, especially the no-look, behind-the-back pass to set up Loui Eriksson for the game winner. Jagr also displayed his speed jumping behind the Phoenix defense for his first goal, and deking through three players to get a really good scoring opportunity in the 1st that Mike Smith stifled. All of that in 16:04 of ice time.
Brenden Dillon- Showed that he was the most NHL-ready defensive prospect in the system. He displayed a nice set of wheels, skating the puck zone-to-zone and pinching in on offense to take a few heavy blasts from a distance. One of the biggest positives of Dillon’s 17:33 of ice time was his physicality. The Stars’ defense got softer when they traded away Fistric, but Dillon made up for with 5 hits and constantly pestering Coyotes forwards deep along the boards.
Derek Roy and Vernon Fiddler on faceoffs- Roy went 6-for-6 in the faceoff circle before losing a draw. He ended the night winnig 16 of 23 faceoffs and Fiddler won 11 of the 15 faceoffs he took. Faceoffs will be very critical this season since the Stars traded away their best faceoff man in Steve Ott. And unti Jamie Benn gets signed, Roy and Fiddler will have to keep taking charge on the draws.
Stars Power Play- Last season, the Stars were the worst team in the NHL on the Power Play (13.5%). They went 2-for-4 with the man advantage and looked a lot better than last season. They were able to enter the zone with the puck and maintain control of it once they got in. Jagr’s second goal was a result of 7 straight passes on the Power Play.
Marty Turco- He fit it really well on the broadcast team. He provided some really good information and insight. He wasn’t just there for the sake of having a local popular person on screen. He seems to balance out the slow-paced Ludwig and trying-too-hard Rhadigan.
Defense- Larsen seemed rusty. His passes were off, he had trouble clearing the zone several times and seemed to have a few moments of miscommunication. Robidas and Goligoski had several miscues and Goligoski misplayed a pass in front of Kari Lehtonen that led to the Coyotes’ first goal. Trevor Daley seemed invisible most of the game and Dillon good night, but Jordie Benn…
Jordie Benn- had the worst night of the Stars defense. No points, no shots, no hits, 2 blocks and a huge turnover that led to a Coyotes goal. An errant pass by Phoenix out of the zone caused the puck to slide freely to center ice. Benn turned around and tried a tight backhand pass to Daley, but it was easily intercepted by Radim Vrbata who went in on a breakaway and scored 5-hole on Lehtonen to give the Coyotes a 3-3 tie early in the 3rd.
Tom Wandell and Cody Eakin on faceoffs- As mentioned above, the Stars really everyone to pull their weight in the faceoff circle with Steve Ott gone and Jamie Benn still unsigned. Wandell won 4 of his 14 faceoffs and Eakin went 1-for-6 on the draw and as tossed twice.
Also saw on PK- Eakin-Smith-Benn-Daley
- Stars were outshot 40-26.
- The Stars and Coyotes were the two worst Power Play teams last season (13.6% and 13.5%, respectively). The Stars went 2-for-4 and the Coyotes went 2-for5 with the man advantage. All three goals in the second period were Power Play goals.
- Marty Turco had a good point when he said “Last year at 48 games, 15 of the teams that made the playoffs were in it. Only the Coyotes weren’t.” it emphasizes the importance to a good start and just how critical every game is in this shortened season.
- Morrow was very physical dishing and taking hits. Really good to see that his body is healed and able to take the physicality.
- The Stars’ 4th line was really energetic, had really good pace, and played almost their entire time on ice in the offensive zone. They cycled the puck down low really well and created chances off the cycle better than the other lines.
- The plan of the night for both teams seemed to be long-distance shots with deflections in the slot.
Mike Modano was introduced with his new position and dropped the cermonial faceoff before the game
We didn't see this much, but when the Stars went 1-3-1, they were effective.
The Stars liked entering the zone slowly on the boards and waiting for someone on delay to cut in quickly through the middle, leading to several scoring chances.
This was the scene of Jagr's no-look, behind-the-back pass past two Coyotes to a wide open Eriksson for the game-winner.
The game-winner from Eriksson.