Friday, March 1, 2013

Dallas Stars Game 21: The Good and the Bad

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Dallas Stars 5-1 loss to Edmonton Oilers
Shots: Dallas 34, Edmonton 38
PP: Dallas 0-5, Edmonton 1-9

The Good:

Erik Cole- Not necessarily the kind of game you want to debut in, but Cole showed why the Stars wanted him. He didn’t get on the scoresheet, but we got to see what we can expect over the next two and a half seasons. Cole used his body shielding players off the puck as he skated hard along the wing. He stood in front of the net, took abuse and battled to hold his ground and provide a screen. He took two good shots on his first two shifts. I liked his second shot where he made a move near the blue line, zoomed by a defender, circled around the back of the net and shot a backhander on the wrap around. He didn’t get all of the shot, but he created something out of nothing and got a decent chance off of it. My favorite part of his night was when the Oilers had a short-handed breakaway and he hustled from the offensive zone blue line all the way back to the Stars’ net and fouled up the play just enough to save a goal, even a shot, from happening. Hopefully, we’ll soon get to see him factor in a victory.

Cole's second shot, and his second best play of the night.

Penalty Kill-Tall, tall task this game. But they were a bright spot for the Stars. They killed 8 of 9 opportunities on the night and had to suffer through three separate 5-on-3’s. They kept the Oilers to the outside. They kept the cute plays out of the Edmonton power play, and, for once, they positioned themselves well against plays from behind the net. They even had a couple of short-handed rushes.

This is what the Stars had the face three times. Scary power play with a nice set up on a 5-on-3.

The Bad:

Mindless penalties- Here’s the list: Fiddler committed a slash in the offensive zone. Nystrom was called for boarding when he rammed Potter (and his head) into the boards. Dillon cross-checked Eberle’s back and sent him face-first into the boards. Jamie Benn held a defender’s stick in the offensive zone, trying to get a split-second edge. Too many men penalty called when Daley changed a little too quickly trying to jump in on a short-handed rush. Any of these sound smart? Even before the score got ugly, they were committing these dumb penalties. Can’t imagine the migraine Gulutzan had as he watched this game.

Nystrom's boarding penalty. Potter left the game after this play.

Dillon's boarding penalty. 

Kari Lehtonen- Not the way to come back. Yes, they weren’t all on him. Oilers were wide open numerous times throughout the game. but still, two goals went past him that shouldn’t have. The two I’m talking about are the Gagner goal (first for the Oilers) and the Petry goal (Oilers’ third goal). Gagner’s goal came from behind the goal line. He threw the puck out front, it hit off of Lehtonen’s blocker and went in the net. Petry was a backhand from the left wing boards that Lehtonen tried to deflect out front, but instead it hit off of Daley and fluttered behind Lehtonen. He made a few decent saves here and there, but he wasn’t as good as he could be, and neither was the defense in front of him.

Edmonton goal #1- Gagner, from behind the goal line, throws the puck at the net. It hits off Lehtonen and goes in.

Edmonton goal #3- Petry throws a turn-around backhander at the net. Lehtonen uses his stick to deflect it but it hits Daley in front and goes in.

Defensive zone coverages- The Oilers should’ve ended up with at least 8 goals. I counted three off the post and two wide open one-timers that didn’t go in so that’s 10 right there. It was embarrassing how many times a white jersey was left alone to skate in unguarded for a pass or shot. And it’s not like they weren’t covered along the blue line, or along the boards. They were left unguarded in the circles and in the slot.

Edmonton goal #2- Schultz (19, far right) skates in freely and gets a one-timer past Lehtonen on an Eberle (top center) saucer pass.

Edmonton goal #4- Jordie Benn misplays the puck behind the net. Puck comes out front and Hemsky (top center) wrists it in past Lehtonen's blocker.

Edmonton goal #5- Eager (bottom center) is wide open for a pass. He takes a blazing one-timer that goes past Lehtonen. You can see the room to Lehtonen's left where Eager put the puck.

Power play- It’s not just that the Stars didn’t score on 5 chances. It’s not that they have been hot for a little while and just went completely cold all of a sudden. It’s the manner in which they went cold. Twice they didn’t get a full 2 minutes, but if you look at the three full power play opportunities, here’s what I think you’ll see. The first was an absolute mess. It was convoluted, sloppy and repetitive. It looked as though they didn’t where they were going or where their teammates on the ice were going. Nothing came out of the first chance. The second was the best in my opinion. They looked more in control, they made more passes and looked for better shots. They had a few close ones, but of course no goal. The third chance they resorted to a middle ground. They stood around and watched too much, but they did get some good passes and shots off.

Benn’s hit on Jones- I’m all for defending your goalie and sticking up for your teammates. But Jones obviously didn’t crash the net with intent to injure Lehtonen. He was creating a scoring chance and with a little contact and a lot of momentum he ended up colliding with Lehtonen. You can see he held up and even grabbed on to Lehtonen, and then patted him on the head as he skated off knowing he was called for interference. I would’ve had no problem with Benn legally landing a big hit on him or asking him drop the gloves, but Jamie Benn decided to jump on the ice for a line change and immediately cross-check Jones’ lower back. As much as I like Benn and defending your team’s honor, this was dirty and definitely not the right way to go about getting revenge. Hopefully there’s no further punishment coming.

Benn's cross-check to the back on Jones. He received a game misconduct and a 5 minute major.

Faceoffs- Again, they didn’t fare too well. Benn won 7 of 18, Roy won 8 of 18, Eakin won 5 of 14, Fiddler won 10 of 19.

Lines seen tonight:
Benn- Daley

PP- Eakin-Smith-Morrow-Roy-Daley
PK- Eriksson-Roy-Dillon-Robidas
PK- Fiddler-Nystrom-Benn-Daley
PK- Nystrom-Garbutt-Dillon-Robidas
PK- Benn-Eakin-Benn-Daley
5-on-3 PK- Fiddler-Daley-Robidas

Notable Notes:

Dallas' only goal- Gologoski tries to stick-handle through a crowd. The puck gets poked away and Jagr (top right) skates in off a change and rips it through the bodies and into the net.

Brenden Dillon fought Sam Gagner near the end of the second period. It was much of a fight as Gagner immediately went for the wrap up. Dillon threw a few punches and the refs pulled them apart.

Daley made the defensive play of the night for the Stars. He laid out on a 2-on-1 and knocked the puck away from Eberle. No shot or pass taken on this play thanks to Daley. 

Dillon exploded through middle of the ice during a 4-on-4 but Dubnyk came out and made the save.

Mark Fistric played his first game back in Dallas.

Plays like this led to wide open chances time and time again for the Oilers. There's 3 Oilers on this screen, two were on the far left off screen standing wide open.

Jere Lehtinen was announced as the 4th member of the Dallas Stars 20th Anniversary team.

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