Saturday, February 16, 2013

Dallas Stars Game 15: The Good and the Bad

Getty Images

Dallas Stars 4-3 win at Vancouver Canucks
Shots: Dallas 29, Vancouver 28
PP: Dallas 0-4, Vancouver 0-3

The Good:

Mixing up the lines- Smith was bumped up to the second line. Ryder moved down a line. Roussel teamed back up with Eakin. It all worked. The first line was creative as always. They didn't do much in terms of production but they were always a threat and played well both ends of the ice. Second line had some pop. Smith scored his first NHL goal, Eriksson had several good chances and they were really good on the back-check. Not fun to see Ryder out of the top 6 but he’s struggling and Eakin and Roussel provided some great energy and physicality and helped Ryder to two assists. Fiddler line was gritty and strong on forecheck and back-check as always and they provided the fights that sparked the teamed and turned the game around.

Full team contributions- No goals from Benn, Jagr, Roy, Eriksson or Ryder. Who scored? Smith, Eakin, Roussel and Dillon stepped up. The “little” guys came up big. The defense wasn’t pretty but as the game went along they started playing stronger and got much better at getting the pucks out of the slot and into the corners. Bachman came in during the first period and didn’t play too well, but played well enough to get the win. PK held strong against a Vancouver power play full of weapons. It was a full team effort and probably the best two points the Stars have earned this season.

Stars goal #1: Smith's first NHL goal! 

Stars goal #2: Eakin puts in a rebound off Schneider.

Stars goal #3: Roussel gets the puck and puts it past the heap of bodies in front.

Stars goal #4: Benn (bottom right) made a cross-ice pass to a streaking Dillon,who ripped it over Schneider's left shoulder.

3 fights in 3 seconds- wow! If this didn’t get your attention or get you out of your seat, I’m not sure what will. Garbutt versus Volpatti. Fiddler versus Lapierre. Nystrom versus Weise. The whole line fought! I don’t think I’ve ever seen a full line fight one after another. And Dillon said their new nickname is The Hanson Brothers! The last fight was the best in terms of the most punches being landed, but the first fight was between two former teammates and had a few punches thrown. The second fight was a surprise in that Fiddler (Fiddler!?!?) of all people fought, and it was against a pesky guy who isn't a stranger to fights. The third was just a meteor shower of fists being thrown back and forth. The fights turned the game around and gave the Stars a momentum boost that propelled them to a comeback victory.

Garbutt started it off fighing Volpatti. A few punches were thrown, Volpatti ended on top. (Getty Images)

Fiddler, yes old man Fiddler, got in on the action fighting pesky Lapierre. This was the quicker fight, but pretty intense. Fiddler ended on top. (Getty Images)

Nystrom wrapped up the fighting in a meteor shower of fists between him and Weise. (Getty Images)

A full line in the box at the same time for fighting. The Hanson Brothers Line? 

The Bad:

Richard Bachman- Yes, he got the win. But what happened to Bachman in the summer? Last season he was dominant in goal. He swallowed pucks giving up no rebounds. He was always in position. He played big despite his size. This season he can’t play the puck well. He gives up a rebound on almost every save. He takes a while to get into position. And he seems to lack confidence in his abilities, always peeking behind to see if the puck is in the net or panicking to get in position and make a save. He did make a few big saves, and he got the win in the end, but he didn’t play anywhere near what we’ve come to expect of him after last season.
Stars got lucky when the refs waved off Raymond's goal. They said it was goalie interference, but in all honesty, the puck was well on its way to the net before Raymond collided with Bachman. and the collision didn't really stopBachman from making the save. 

Kari Lehtonen injury- This gets its own paragraph simply because, depending on the extent of the injury, this could be a season-changer. He skated off and Gulutzan didn’t say that it seemed very serious but a groin (or knee) injury is nothing to mess with when it’s to a goalie. And he’s had some trouble with his groin. Last season against the Coyotes he made a kick save and was out with a groin pull. If Lehtonen misses extended time, this season is going to turn into a huge question mark. The team would go from a playoff bubble team to a “how long can they survive?” team. We’ve seen glimpses of greatness from Bachman and Nilstorp, but we’ve also been treated to some less-than-stellar outings. Hopefully the Stars best player isn’t out for a long time, our playoff hopes rely on him behind a superhero in net every game.

Schroeder skated in and took a shot. Lehtonen blockered it aside but immediately jerked and winced. He waved to the bench and pointed at his lower body, looked like his groin was pulled. 

Defense behind the net-The Stars have struggled all season defending when an opponent holds the puck behind the Stars net. Oleksiak seemed to be strong at it simply from his gargantuan reach, but the Stars seem to hesitate or panic every time they are put in that position. Even when they seem to line up correctly and be in position a simple pass goes through the men at the posts and to a wide open person in the slot or in the circles. The Canucks went after this weakness more than any Stars opponent so far this season. They connected on dozen or so passes from behind the net to an open player but couldn’t convert on the opportunities.
This was an example of what the Canucks, especially their top line, did a lot. set up behind the net, make a pass to someone in the slot or in the circles for a good one-timer. 

Lines seen tonight:
Goligoski- Larsen

PP- Morrow-Benn-Jagr-Daley-Robidas
PP- Eriksson-Roy-Ryder-Goligoski-Larsen
PK- Fiddler-Nystrom-Daley-Rome
PK- Eriksson-Roy-Robidas-Goligoski
PK- Roussel-Eakin-Daley-Rome

Notable Notes:

Very fortunate Benn didn't get a serious injury on this slide into the boards. 

Canucks goal #1: Bachman took too long scrambling to get set and Daniel Sedin backhanded it in.

Canucks goal #2: Higgins' shot was going to Bachman's glove side, it hits off of Robidas' stick and ends up going right and into the net.

Canucks goal #3: Henrik Sedin (top left) passes it through all those people and sticks right to Burrows (bottom right) for the one-timer goal. 

Rome was smart to duck and avoid the hit from Volpatti. Ralph Strangis said it right: Volpatti was ready to end his night."

Stars couldn't handle Canucks' set up on the PP. Daniel (22, in the middle) was the decoy several times for a pass to go through to a wide open Ryan Kesler.

This is not how you want to see a hockey team play defense.

Again, Canucks went with what's successful against the Stars: two man aggressive forecheck. but they didn't do it as much as the game went along. 

Another close call. Thought Roussel was injured, but he got up fine.

What i thought was the biggest hit of the night. Dillon laid out Burrows.

Look at this coordination. Mid-game, mid-play Roy deflects a shot from the blue line, but it hits the crossbar. 

Reilly Smith finally got his first NHL goal. 

Kesler vs Roy

Henrik Sedin received a roaring standing ovation that lasted several minutes. His second assist of the night made him the franchise's all-time scoring leader. (Getty Images)

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