Saturday, February 2, 2013

Dallas Stars Game 8: The Good and the Bad (With Pictures)

Getty Images

Dallas Stars 4-3 SO win versus Phoenix Coyotes
Shots: Dallas 24, Phoenix 34
PP: Dallas 0-2, Phoenix 0-3

The Good:

Forecheck- Much better. Forecheck was strong and effective. Vincour and Fiddler’s forecheck directly led to Dillon’s goal by forcing Yandle into an awkward situation where he slapped the puck up the boards right to where Dillon was waiting to rip a shot off. Jagr’s active stick on a forecheck almost led to a Derek Morris pass deflecting off Jagr and into Phoenix’s net. Garbutt was strong as well, but I don’t think anyone stood out more than Roussel.

Penalty kill- Nothing new to say here. They just keep doing it. The Stars are 7th in the league with 84.2% on the PK. They were particularly aggressive this game and spent a lot more time in the offensive zone than normal while on the PK.

Antoine Roussel- First NHL game, 3rd shift, 1st NHL goal. And what a nice goal it was. He collected the puck in stride inside the blue line, skated in on Mike Smith and lifted a backhand shot top right corner. He was a clear impact player throughout the game. Every shift his energy lit the rink up. He finished all of his checks and took the body every time he was supposed to, and was gritty stirring it up with the Coyotes several times. He was ferocious on the fore-check and an asset on the back-check. He was credited with 2 shots and 3 hits but watching felt like much more. In the faceoff circle, he went 6-for-6 before losing his 7th and final draw. All of that in only 7:18 of ice time.

Roussel made a nice move going to the backhand and lifting the puck top corner for the goal.

Clearing the zone- Just simply wanted to say the Stars seemed much more comfortable getting the puck out of the zone. They were very patient with the puck and didn’t have as many critical errors in their own end. If there weren’t two people in position to get an outlet pass, there was always at least one.

Shootout- Kari was Kari, looked solid in net. Beaten by a really good, elevated backhander by Vrbata. The Stars have 4 strong shootout options and they showed it tonight. Eriksson hit the post, Whitney was stopped easily but we know he’s crafty so we’ll see better out of him, Benn scored to keep the game alive and Jagr finished it off.

The winning goal in the shootout by Jagr. (Getty Images)

The Bad:          
Power play- As effective as the PK is, the PP just seems to not work at all. There are glimpses. But that’s all they are… glimpses. Just getting into the zone is tough enough, let alone getting set up, maintaining possession, moving the puck and getting good shots. I believe they have the pieces, just might need some more time to mesh. The creativity available is too much to continue to hover around 14%.

Stopping Hanzal- Not sure what it was, but Hanzal dominated the Stars in this game (2 goals, 5 shots, 2 hits and a takeaway). His presence and rush at the net pulled Jamie Benn to the front of the net on Vrbata’s goal (which deflected off of Benn’s skate and in). Hanzal had several opportunities in tight, and he cashed in on a shot from the point as Jordie Benn’s penalty was expiring. He was given lots of space to deflect the puck, shoot it off the post and shoot it again into the net. And his second goal was just a beauty of a quick snap release that went through a sprawling Robidas and past Lethonen (who may not have even seen it considering the quickness and Robidas’ positioning).

Hanzal's rush to the front of the net helped when Vrabata's redirection hit off of Benn's left skate and went in.

Hanzal was given too much room on his first goal. He got off about 3 shots in tight for the goal.

Hanzal's second goal was just a really nice rapid snap shot through Robidas and past Lehtonen.

Faceoffs- Stars won 30 of 57. Not necessarily bad, but average. If you take out Roussel’s 6-for-7 night, Benn won 11-of-20, Eakin 7-of-13 and Fiddler 5-of-13. Eriksson and Morrow lost their combined 3 faceoffs on the night. Roy’s return should help bring the team numbers back up.

Lines seen tonight:

PK- Benn-Eriksson-Robidas-Dillon
PK- Nystrom-Fiddler-Robidas-Dillon
PK- Benn-Eakin-Robidas-Daley
PP- Jagr-Benn-Eriksson-Whitney-Benn
PP- Jagr-Eakin-Morrow-Goligoski-Robidas
PP- Eriksson-Benn- Jagr-Whitney-Goligoski

Notable Notes:
Ray Whitney photo bomb streak is over. He didn’t get to Fiddler’s pre-game interview and so the streak ends.

Jamie "Big Rig" Oleksiak's first game was a success (1 shot, 1 hit, 1 block, even, 15:32 ice time)

Brenden Dillon scored his first career NHL goal. 

This was Ryder's goal on a nice rip of a snap shot from the top of the circle that ricocheted off of Ekman-Larsson's ankle and into the net.

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