Monday, January 28, 2013

Dallas Stars Game 6: The Good and the Bad (With Pictures)

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Dallas Stars lose 2-1 to Columbus Blue Jackets
Shots: Dallas 25, Columbus 27
PP: Dallas 1-4, Columbus 0-7

The Good:

Jamie Benn- Oh how we missed him. He did well in faceoffs, had an assist, 2 shots, a hit and over 20 minutes of ice time over all situations. His skill, speed, body and passing was on display in his first game of the season. His timing was a little off and his speed isn’t what it can be, but he didn’t seem out of place or in need of a week to catch up. The more he plays, the faster the rust will be brushed off, but this was a positive start.

Special teams- 1-for-4 on the power play and 7-for-7 on the penalty kill!? That’s amazing. Only problem is the fact that the Stars took 7 penalties but other than that their special teams were on. They managed the puck decently on the power play, getting a variety of different shots in. Morrow screened Bobrovsky to help Larsen’s shot from the point go in. and on the PK the Stars were saved by Lehtonen many times but they also were solid in front of the net. If Kari gave up a rebound, they were there to clear, especially the forwards during the 5-on-3. They had 3 or 4 short-handed chances, and kept Columbus out of the middle for the most part.

PK looked really strong, active and cleared the puck well.

Faceoffs- Jamie Benn didn’t start off strong losing his first two, but he won 12-of-22. Eakin went 7-for-14 and Wandell won the only faceoff he took. Surprisingly, the weak link in faceoffs was Fiddler, who went 4-for-12. Three other players pitched in winning a faceoff each: Morrow, Nystrom and Eriksson.

Kari Lehtonen- I’m going to keep putting him here until he proves he shouldn’t be permanently stamped under this category. Yet again, he kept the Stars in the game. He was unbelievable killing the 5-on-3 in the second period, stopping all 8 shots faced. He made an unbelievable save, probably a save of the year candidate early this season. Click here to watch the video of the save. A shot hit off of him up high and popped behind him toward the gaping net. Lehtonen reached behind his back and nabbed the puck out of midair with his glove along the goal line.

The Bad:

Stars 1st line- Don’t get me wrong, they had their moments. They were able to enter the zone effectively most of the time. Their creativity was on display several times, and they were strong on both sides of the ice, but this is the first line. And against the Columbus Blue Jackets they were pretty much shut down and kept off the score sheet? They are 3 very creative, offensively talented players but all they could muster was 3 shots on goal? Eakin, Whitney and Ryder combined for 8 shots and what felt like many more opportunities. No offense to Nikitin and Tyutin but that line (if kept together) will face many more daunting matchups, so I would’ve liked to see more out of this line.

Digressing during the game- The Stars seem to be in a habit this season of starting off strong and energetic and focused but then digressing as the game moves along. Although the first period was relatively slow and uneventful, the Stars were very strong. They outshot Columbus 9-3 and were very solid on defense, providing puck support and a quick exit from the zone. Then after their elongated penalty kill in the second, the Stars just seemed to fade away. Columbus came out strong in the 3rd period, and manhandled the Stars after taking the lead early on Prospal’s goal. They were more physical, speedy and won the puck battles. The Stars seemed to gain some life when they were scrambled late to tie the game, but it’s far too late in the game to wake up and try. Have to give a solid 60-minute performance, and until the Stars do that, they can expect to keep seeing these types of results.

Weak offense and Forecheck- The Stars seemed to enter the zone fine most of the night, as long as they took a shot quickly. Dump and chase didn’t work, passing inside the zone usually led to a turnover and they were outnumbered along the boards and lost most of the battles. When the Stars finally did manage a shot, they mostly ended up in the middle of Bobrovsky’s stomach. And the forecheck… was it even there? As Razor pointed out, late in the game the Stars were heavy on the attack and even sent a defenseman to pinch in, but Columbus repeatedly would either skate out of the zone up the middle or would make a pass and easily glide out of their own zone.

Penalties- I touched on this earlier so I’ll just say, the Stars need to stop doing two things: taking so many penalties, and taking dumb penalties. Simple enough. And Fiddler got a rare double-penalty for hooking and high sticking on the same play. I don’t remember ever seeing that before.

Lines seen tonight:
Eriksson- Benn-Jagr

PP- Eriksson-whitney-ryder-benn-daley
PP- Morrow-benn-jagr-larsen-goligoski
PK- Benn-eriksson-benn-daley
PK- Fiddler-nystrom-robidas-dillon
PK- Eakin-garbutt-robidas-dillon
PK- Eakin-eriksson-daley-benn
PK- Eakin-eriksson-robidas-dillon
PK- Wandell-garbutt-robidas-dillon
PK- Fiddler-wandell-robidas-dillon
3 man PK- Eakin-robidas-daley
3 man PK- Nystrom-benn-dillon

Notable Notes:
  • Injuries- Roy (groin), Nilstorp (groin), Rome (flu)
  • Healthy scratches- Reilly Smith and Colton Sceviour
Ray Whitney photo bomb streak continues!

Great puck support to get out of the zone (early on) but that faded away.

Columbus goal: Robidas for some reason over-committed on Anisimov even though Dillon was right there. Tyutin made a pass to a wide open Dorsett on the right for the one-timer goal. 

This thing never gets old!

Dallas goal: Morrow screened Bobrovsky. You can faintly see the puck already next to Bob while he's still maneuvering to look around the screen.

Whitney had a great chance, but the puck bounced over his stick.

Columbus goal: Prospal's stick is in the top left of the screen. That's where the shot came from. Johanssen screened Lehtonen a little on the goal. 

Another view of Prospal's goal. Terrible angle, but a goal is a goal. Throw it on net, you never know.

This was the Stars' best chance to tie and Bobrovsky's best save of the night. Ryder wide open in the slot.

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