Thursday, February 21, 2013

Dallas Stars Game 17: The Good and the Bad

Getty Images

Dallas Stars 4-3 loss vs Vancouver Canucks
Shots: Dallas 25, Vancouver 22
PP: Dallas 0-5, Vancouver 1-5

The Good:

Cristopher Nilstorp- He didn’t dominate and he didn’t get the W, but Nilstorp did alright in net. The score shows four goals against, but he was hung out to dry or screened hard on three of them. The one to blame him for would be Bieksa’s back-hander during the 4-on-4. More than just making huge saves, he hung on to shots swallowing up rebounds on several dangerous chances. His biggest save came about two and a half minutes into the second period when Jordie Benn turned the puck over in his own zone and left Nilstorp to fend for himself in a 1-on-1.

Nilstorp's awesome new helmet. Razor said his nickname is Raptor so that helps makes sense of this design.

Vancouver goal #1: Burrows made a habit of standing in front of Nilstorp throughout the game. He provided a slight screen before he deflected Edler's shot from the point in.

Vancouver goal #3: Roussel blocked Garrison's initial slap shot from the point and he stuggled to get off the ice. a little open ice allowed Garrison to recollect the puck and rip it again, this time with Higgins screening Nilstorp.

Vancouver goal #4: Burrows and Henrik skated in 2-on-1 against Goligoski. He failed to block the intial pass from Sedin to Burrows then he chased Burrows instead of covering the pass back to Sedin and Rome didn't hustle to get back, he instead was caught watching. 

Jordie Benn- For his first game back with the big club, he played a pretty solid game. Take away the turnover early in the second and he played well. Especially on the PK, he anticipated passes, intercepted them and throughout the game he did a good job of making safe, smart passes clears out of the zone.

Forecheck- Yet again, the Stars’ forecheck was very strong. On Morrow’s goal, the Stars lost the faceoff to Schneider’s left, but Morrow went in hard behind the net. He pursued Kesler so that when Kesler coughed it up, Morrow was right there to stuff it home. Throughout the game the Stars forced the Canucks into turnovers (mostly near the blue line) and panic clears out of the zone, both of which led to good scoring chances.

Brenden Dillon- Just like Kari Lehtonen, his name belongs in this category every night, and tonight he yet again stood out. Just wanted to make a quick point that he really stood out to me on two opportunities Vancouver’s top line created in the middle of the first period. A turnover created a 2-on-1, Dillon hustled back and didn’t look at the puck he simply stared down his target, shadowed him to the net and lifted his stick at the perfect time… with has back to the play. Then he hung around the slot, taking out two Canucks and intercepted a cross-ice feed. Both chances came within 15 seconds and both were within 10 feet of the net.

The Bad:

4 on 4- The Stars seemed completely flat on both of the 4-on-4 opportunities in the game. They were outskated throughout and eventually scored on by a defenseman, and one who isn’t known for being quick. With Jagr, Benn, Roy and Eriksson the Stars should be much stronger on 4-on-4’s, especially considering the Stars have quick, puck-moving defensemen that can push up and create off a rush.

Bieksa, yes Bieksa, skated through the Stars, including quick, mobile defensemen Larsen and Goligoski on the 4-on-4. How can you let someone, especially a defender, especially one not known for speed, go right through you like that?

Vancouver goal #2: Bieksa had only Nilstorp in front of him so he shielded Larsen from the puck and backhanded it between Nilstorp's legs.

Final PK- The Jagr picture below sums up the feelings of every Stars player, coach, fan and everyone in between about the last PK that closed out the game. It can be argued that Roy shouldn’t have hooked Booth on his way to the net, but it happened and what’s more surprising is what Dallas did on the PK. You’re down by a goal, on the PK and there are two minutes left, what do you do? You sit back and keep the puck to the outside, making sure no shots go through or do you feverishly attack the puck, push for a short-handed attack and try to get a goal. If the Stars claim they tried to do that, then they were just completely dominated because it sure didn’t look like it. The Stars didn’t touch the puck for 1:58. Let me say that again in another way: The Stars were down by a goal with less than two minutes in regulation and they didn’t touch the puck at all until there were 2 seconds left in the game. They didn’t touch the puck, hold it or even graze it. Canucks simply held it, passed it all over and didn’t even look interested in shooting.

We feel ya, Jagr. Those last two minutes were brutal to watch.

Power Play- 0-for-5. Does that sum it up? Yes, they did have two power plays in which they kept the puck in the Vancouver zone most of the time (once by top unit and once by the second unit). And yes they did take lots of shots, but the Stars don’t get many power plays and with the mix of creative players on both units, they absolutely have to take advantage of their few power play opportunities.

Faceoffs- Vancouver dominated this category, winning  33 of 59 draws. Stars came into this game 24th in the league in faceoffs and tonight didn’t help. Against a team known for great, patient puck control and the Sedins magical eyes in the backs of their heads, you can’t lose faceoffs, especially in your own zone. Here are the Stars’ results: Benn 7 of 14, Roy 9 of 16, Eakin 5 of 10, Fiddler 2 of 10, everyone else 3 of 6.

Lines seen tonight:
Benn- Larsen

PP- Morrow-Benn-Jagr-Dillon-Robidas
PP- Eriksson-Roy-Ryder-Goligoski-Larsen
PP-Morrow-Benn-Jagr- Benn-Robidas
PK- Fiddler-Nystrom-Dillon-Robidas
PK- Eriksson-Roy-Benn-Goligoski

Notable Notes:

35 seconds in, Benn dangled through all of this to get to the red line to Schneider's left to take a shot finally. 

Dallas goal #1: This was Benn's angle when he scored.

Dallas goal #2: Ryder collected the puck on a broken play, took it to his backhand and simply slipped it through everyone and in. 

Dallas goal #3: Stars lost the faceoff, Morrow pursued the puck hard. Kesler overskated the puck in front of Schneider and Morrow was there to bury it.

This was the penalty called on Smith for interference that led to Vancouver's first goal. How this is interference is beyond me. They were both looking at the puck, both took part in the slight collision.

Scary moment when Bieksa stuck his knee out in an attempt to hit Eriksson. Eriksson went down and needed help off the ice, but he returned for his next shift.

Stars did well poking the puck at the blue line throughout the night.

Eriksson had a huge chance on this breakaway, but instead of shooting he passed it over to Dillon, who missed. 

Roussel and Kassian fought, Roussel started out strong, landing two big punched but Kassian got the win.

More of the night's lone fight. 

Schneider robbed Benn on this chance in tight on a power play. 

Tough moment for Roussel after he blocked Garrison's shot in the 3rd. He struggled to stand and stumbled getting to the bench. He was back on the ice later in the period and seemed to be fine. 

Marty Turco was announced as the first member of the Dallas Stars' 20th Anniversary Team.

In celebration of him being the first of the 20th Anniversary Team, Turco dropped the ceremonial opening faceoff. (Getty Images)

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