Friday, January 25, 2013

Dallas Stars Game 4: The Good and the Bad (With Pictures)

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Dallas Stars lose 3-2 in OT to the Chicago Blackhawks.
Shots: Dallas 23, Chicago 41
PP: Dallas 0-2, Chicago 3-7

The Good:

Lehtonen- This is pretty much a staple. Night in and night out, the Stars would be completely dominated if it wasn’t for their goaltending. And this game was no different. Kari made some outstanding saves on chances from all over the ice. He made several saves in tight, but the biggest lane open for shooting was right down the middle. Even when the Stars had someone covering the slot, Chicago found a way to draw them out or get someone else open in the slot for a shot. Kari’s glove was impressive, most notably when he snared Kane’s one-timer out of the air. He also made several odd-man rush saves, including three huge saves in tight on Brandon Saad five minutes into the 2nd. Kari also got a piece of the puck with his elbow from a 3-on-1 shot by Hossa and then gloved away Toews’ blazing wrister seconds afterward. It continues to be said but nothing changes: the Stars are relying way too much on Kari.

His filthy glove save on Kane's one-timer

This was the last of his series of saves on an odd-man rush.

1st period- The Stars looked fantastic in the 1st period. They were quick, aggressive (especially on the forecheck) and effective. They made fast, one-touch passes to smoothly get out of the defensive zone. They made several key defensive plays, including Daley’s stop on Kane’s 2-on-1 pass five minutes into the game. Loui Eriksson was a thorn in Chicago’s side in the 1st. he stole the puck 3 or 4 times, 2 of which resulted in offensive runs, and he scored a shorthanded goal with .4 seconds left in the period.

Faceoffs- The Stars started 0-for-5 on faceoffs and they ended the night winning only 23-of-58 (40%). The good news is that Fiddler again led the way winning 8-of-10 and Wandell surprisingly won 4 out of his 5 tries. On the other hand, Eakin finished 3-of-12 and Roy finished 7-of-21.

The Bad:

Speed- As fast as we think and believe the Stars are, they couldn’t compete with the Blackhawks. Nick Leddy, LEDDY of all people, out-skated the whole team twice (once on offense and once on defense). Chicago won most of the races to the puck, provided great puck support in their own zone and counter-attacked with terrifying speed.

Defense- Other than most of the first period, the Stars looked lost on defense, especially the 3rd period. It was tough to watch as they struggled time and time again to get out of their own zone in the 3rd. it was embarrassing. Sometimes it took several different setups and tries to get out of the zone. Numerous times the Stars made cross-ice passes to get out of the zone and they were all intercepted. Play it safe and get it up along the boards, not through the middle of the ice. Too many times they covered their man, but too tight and too deep in the zone leaving the slot and points wide open for unbelievable chances for the Blackhawks. Not sure how many shots the Stars took from the points, but if I had to guess, I would say about 1 out of 6 hit the net. Like Robidas said after the game, it’s one thing if the defense is giving up chances and also creating chances, but tonight was completely one-sided.  

Penalty kill- The skill differential on special teams was evident tonight. Sure, there were some skeptical calls against the Stars, but either way, you have to kill penalties whether or not you agree with the call. The Stars simply left too many people open for too long on Chicago’s power plays. And almost always the person left open was one of their stars. Sharp’s goal was a result of him and Kane both being open, Toews goal was a result of him and Sharp being given too much space, and on Hossa’s game-winner it was as if the Stars forgot Hossa and Kane existed, leaving them wide open in the middle of the ice. The Stars had their moments on the PK when they managed some good blocks, and a few clears and Nystrom’s hard work was noticed, but they fumbled themselves up too many times against too good of a team.

Lines seen tonight:

PP- Morrow-Whitney-Jagr-Goligoski-Robidas
PK- Nystrom-Fiddler-benn-daley 
PK- Eakin-Smith-robidas-goligoski
PK- Eriksson-Roy-Robidas-Goligoski
3-man PK- Fiddler, Goligoski, Benn

Notable Notes:
  • Jagr was not on the bench to start overtime. Last I heard was that he went to the locker room to be evaluated.
  • Whitney photo bomb! Hope he keeps these up. They are beyond entertaining. 

  • Oh and the probably, maybe the biggest news of the night other than the game: Jamie Benn signed a 5-year deal!!
A few more interesting shots from the game:

Not good at all. Why two down low leaving a man open in front of Kari?

Best hit of the night.

Whitney's goal.

Seeing this startled me. such a clear passing lane from Kane to Sharp on Sharp's goal. No sticks, no bodies, nothing in the middle.

Kari gave Daley a little tap saying don't sweat it after Sharp's goal. 

The scene of Sharp's goal off of Daley.

Goligoski's near goal, stopped by Keith.

Another shot of it.

An example of covering, but leaving the most important place open, slot, with a dangerous shooter moving in for a shot.

The game-winner. Hossa was wide open for the one-timer. 

The game-winner again.

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