Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Dallas Stars Game 3: The Good and the Bad (With Pictures!)


Dallas Stars win 2-1 at Detroit.
Shots: Dallas 32, Detroit 40
PP: Dallas 0-2, Detroit 0-4

The Good:

Team Defense- The Star really dig in and played pack-mentality, all-in defensive effort. Forwards were consistently back-checking and even saved a few very good scoring chances from ever turning into shots on goal. The whole team seemed more energetic and won most puck battles throughout the game. There was tremendous puck support and the Stars blocked 11 shots. Most of the times that Zetterberg and Datsyuk entered the zone with the puck there was a defender and a forward on them before they crossed the blue line. Benn and Daley did a great job facing the Red Wings’ top line, and shutting them down most of the game.
This is what we saw a lot from the Stars. double-team Zetterberg and Datysuk with the puck and man up on the back-check on others.

Kari Lehtonen- what can be said about his play tonight is said almost every game: he gave them a chance to win. He deserved the shutout. Through the first two periods, Kari faced 20 shots but only a few of those were dangerous and one hit off the post. The 3rd period is where Lehtonen really earned the win, stopped 19 shots. He made countless consecutive stops in tight along the crease. He made a highlight reel save robbing Brunner early in the period, and he stopped two Zetterberg shots on the doorstep in the final minutes. The last goal was a result of the nonstop onslaught for several minutes. Two Red Wings deep in the zone were left open and Datysuk connected with an open Brunner for an easy one-timer just outside the crease with 3.4 seconds left.
Apparently, after Brunner scored, some Detroit fans starting taunting him. he simply pointed at the scoreboard with his water bottle.

Michael Ryder- Scored his first two goals of the season. His new line mate Eakin’s hard work helped in both of Ryder’s goals. His first came off winning a battle along the boards against two Red Wings. Then he managed to get to the high slot and rip a shot through four bodies in front of the net and past Howard. His second goal was a result of winning a puck battle along the right wing boards and a beautiful pass from Whitney through a couple of defenders to a wide open Ryder left Howard with no chance for a save.

Center swap- Tom Wandell was moved to the 4th line and Cody Eakin was bumped up to the 2nd line for this game… and it paid off greatly. Eakin’s gritty and speedy style of play helped in both of Ryder’s goals. On the first, Eakin’s hard work got the puck in deep to Morrow who slid the puck along the boards to Ryder. After Ryder won the battle, Eakin made a quick little pass to get Ryder the puck and into open space toward the high slot resulting in the goal. On the second goal, Stephane Robidas pinched in and blocked a clearing attempt by Drew Miller. Eakin skated in, made a move to get around Miller and made the pass to Whitney which eventually led to Ryder’s goal a few seconds later. Eakin was also constantly providing puck support in the defensive zone while Wandell was mostly invisible. He had moments where he showed his usual self: decent defensively, slick skating and good speed but cannot finish on offense.

Ray Whitney photo bombs

The Bad:

Dumb penalties- Tonight, the Stars continued their trend of dumb penalties from last season, and in the first two games of this season. Eakin used his hand to shovel the puck back on a faceoff which resulted in his delay of game penalty in the 3rd. Brenden Dillon’s interference in the 1st was blatant, with or without the new emphasis on that call. Fiddler’s obvious hooking penalty and Ryder grabbing a player as they went into the boards gave Detroit quality opportunities to tie the game in the 2nd. They can’t keep taking these penalties and expecting Lehtonen to save the game every night.

Tom Wandell- As if his being moved down to the 4th line wasn’t bad enough, Eakin perfectly complimented Ryder and Whitney, at least for tonight. The 1st line took 14 shots and played better tonight than they did against the Wild, but the 2nd line stepped up to the plate and took the spotlight tonight. Eakin fought for the puck and won the battles, Whitney played possession and provided slick passes to create opportunities and Ryder finished off the chances created by both of them. And Wandell was left on the 4th line simply being overshadowed by Reilly Smith’s stickhandling and Garbutt’s grit and outdone by Howard’s pads.

Faceoffs- Fiddler was the only Stars center to end the night with over 50% on the dot (7 of 12). Eakin (3 of 10) and Wandell (4 of 11) had decent numbers considering who they were up against (better centers), but Roy’s 9-of-23 sounds a lot better than it was. Zetterberg seemed to have his way in the faceoff circle against Roy and that is a point of worry considering Roy is our top center until (or IF) Jamie Benn signs. I understand that Zetterberg is one of the better faceoff takers in the league, but we need more fight in the circle and more wins from Roy (and the rest of the team) on a nightly basis.

Lines seen tonight:


PP- Morrow-Whitney-Jagr-Goligoski-Robidas
PP- Eriksson-Roy-Ryder-Daley-Benn
PK- Nystrom-Fiddler-Benn-Daley
PK- Eriksson-Roy-Robidas-Goligoski
PK- Eakin-Smith-Robidas-Goligoski
PK- Eriksson-Roy-Benn-Daley

Notable Notes:
  • Roy was blindsided by Franzen with about 12 minutes left in the 3rd. he looked shook up and headed to the bench without even picking up his stick. It didn’t look good, but he came right back on the ice and finished the game. Will be interesting to see how he is over the next day or two.

Roy passed the puck to Loui who tooks a couple of strides and dumped the puck. Then Franzen hit Roy.
  • Detroit was 4-0-0 against the Stars last season, so hopefully they can reverse that and win all 3 games against the Red Wings this season. The Stars return to Detroit next Tuesday and then host the Wings for the final game of the season.

  • Loui Eriksson’s 10-game point streak (7g-7a-14pts, +8, 3 GWG) against the Red Wings was snapped tonight.

  • Reilly Smith was playing against his older brother tonight: Detroit’s defenseman Brendan Smith
  • Tomas Holmstrom ended his 15-year career, retiring before the game. He dropped the ceremonial opening puck. 

Getty Images

Stars played 1-2-2 mostly, especially in first two periods. 

Ryder's first goal.

Excellent Penalty Kill tonight, mostly diamond. covering the ice well and protected the middle.

Jimmy Howard's save of the night in my opinion. Reilly Smith's made an awesome toe drag and got the backhand shot up, but Howard robbed him with the glove.