Thursday, February 14, 2013

Dallas Stars Game 14: The Good and the Bad

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Dallas Stars 7-4 loss at Calgary Flames
Shots: Dallas 34, Calgary 23
PP: Dallas 2-4, Calgary 2-2

The Good:

Brenden Morrow- Sure Benn and Jagr created many opportunities and the third line constantly put on offensive pressure, but Morrow seemed to have something extra tonight. He was vintage Morrow. Checking, winning the board battles, hammering the net, owning the crease. He was himself tonight. and he had two patented goals to show for it. And every time he touched the puck in the offensive zone, he seemed to be a threat. I still don’t understand why Gulutzan didn’t put him on the power play though.

Morrow's first goal: Jagr had the puck (left) and passed it to Morrow in front of the net and he put the puck between Irving's legs.

Morrow's second goal: Jagr passed to Oleksiak and the puck came loose of his stick toward the net. Before Irving could cover the puck, Morrow put his stick in under Irving's glove and pushed the puck into the back of the net.

Forecheck- The Stars forecheck was ferocious. They forced numerous turnovers, most notably one that led to Nystrom’s goal. Before that, it led to great chances where Garbutt was robbed by Irving. They threw 2 men deep and it paid off, but for some reason when the Stars needed a goal, when they needed that pressure in the final 10 minutes of the game, the forecheck seemed lazy and less effective. Instead of a strong forecheck we saw more defensemen pinching in.

A good, aggressive forecheck forced a turnover and Fiddler patiently held the puck attracting all of the Flames' attention. He then dished the puck off to Nystrom who snuck into a an open space in the circle and ripped a one-timer in. 

Battle back- There isn’t much good to take out of this game, but two things do need to be acknowledged: they did finally outshoot an opponent… big time (34-23) and they did fight back. Each time the Stars scored the team clearly picked up momentum and seemed to get themselves back into the game. Then a defensive lapse would happen, they’d give up a goal and it felt like the night was over, then the Stars scored again and the thought was “just one good shot and we’re right back in this.” The loss hurts, but it was on a back-to-back and it was on the road. Take some positive from it and use it against the Canucks Friday.

The Bad: (instead of simply saying defense and defensive coverages, I’ll be more specific)

Passes across the slot- Like I pointed out in the last game, the Stars did ok taking away shots but they left passes, specifically passes across the slot, wide open. Completely wide open. It felt like a video game: skate in, pass it across the slot for a one-timer and it’s a goal. Rinse and repeat. They were fortunate the Oilers couldn’t capitalize but 5 of Calgar’s 7 goals were on cross-slot passes for one-timers.

Calgary goal #2: Tanguay held the puck (far left) and made a pass to an open Hudler in the slot for a one-timer. 

Calgary goal #3: Iginla had the puck (far right, off picture) and sent a pass through the middle of the ice to a wide open Cammalleri who immediately put it in the back of the net.

Calgary goal #6: Ryder got tangled up with Glencross at center ice and fell, the Flames skated in with a 3-on-1 and Cervenka was wide open for a pass that Iginla sent through Rome.

Surviving the forecheck- Yet again, the same problem. The Stars are powerless against an aggressive two-man forecheck. Haven’t seen much difference in the way of planning to counter it, and the Stars continued doing what they do best when trying to get out of their zone: overpass to a turnover, cough up a simple turnover, reverse to try exiting again and struggle again eventually turning it over.

An example of Calgary's extremely aggressive, effective forecheck early in the game.

Just wanted to add that the Flames took the same approach on the PK. They rushed the puck and kept the Stars PP unit on their toes and on the move.

Covering late man in- The Flames made a (dangerous) habit of entering the zone, pushing to the net and dropping the puck back or making a little back pass to a trailing man skating all alone into the zone. Almost every time the Stars were too focused and over-pursuing the man with the puck, leaving the trailer wide open for a blast or with enough room to skate in and get a quality chance.

Calgary goal #1: A mass of bodies was focused directly in front of the net and on the puck so Boumeester simply skated up and snapped the loose puck through the bodies and into the net.

Richard Bachman- It wasn’t all him… but he did have a big part in the ugly final score. He didn’t play like the Bachman we saw last season. He was terrible controlling rebounds. He took entirely too many peaks behind to see if the puck was in the net. He was sluggish moving side to side. Took too long to play the puck several times, leading to chances.

Alex Goligoski- I’ll simply put it this way: he was beyond horrible. He gave up turnover after turnover in his own zone, he failed to keep in the offensive zone a number of times, he lost control of the puck along the boards a lot, he fumbled passes throughout the game and on (at least) two of the Flames’ goals you can clearly point to Goligoski as the main reason for a goal against. Simply terrible in every facet of the game tonight. He did get an assist, so I guess not every facet… but still… you get the idea.

Faceoffs- The Stars won 40 of the 77 faceoffs, but if you look back at the game, the Flames were tossed out way more times than the Stars. The Stars were only tossed out once or twice that I remember, but the Flames were constantly being tossed. So the Flames won almost as many faceoffs as the Stars with essentially their second-string draw-taker on the line against the Stars’ main center. Benn won 17 of 28, Roy won 10 of 19, Fiddler won 8 of 17 and Eakin won 4 of 12. So basically take out Benn and the Stars were atrocious on faceoffs.

Lines seen tonight:
Goligoski- Oleksiak

PP- Morrow-Benn-Jagr-Daley-Robidas
PP- Roy-Jagr-Benn-Eriksson-Ryder (on the 5-on-3 opportunity)
PK- Fiddler-Nystrom-Robidas-Dillon
PK- Eriksson-Roy-Rome-Oleksiak
PK- Eakin-Garbutt-Dillon-Robidas
PK- Eriksson-Roy-Rome-Daley

Notable Notes:
  • Calgary’s Jay Bowmeester played in his NHL-leading 599th consecutive game.
  • The Stars are now 1-15-2 in the second game of a back-to-back over the past two seasons, and they’ve been outscored 63-29 in those games. 
Calgary goal #4: Simply another cross-ice pass to an open man in the slot for an easy goal. 

Calgary goal #5: A shot from the point (upper right) went wide, bounced off the boards, hit off of Stempniak (far left) and was put into the net by an untouched Cammalleri.

Not a goal but another wide open shot from a cross-ice pass. This one luckily rang off the crossbar.

Roussel fought Iginla early in the 3rd. Only a few punches landed and Iginla ended up on top. 

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