Sunday, March 3, 2013

Dallas Stars Game 22: The Good and the Bad

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Dallas Stars 4-1 win over the St. Louis Blues
Shots: Dallas 27, St. Louis 26
PP: Dallas 1-3, St. Louis 0-1

The Good:

Kari Lehtonen- Much more like the Lehtonen we know. We can chalk up the game against Edmonton as a fluke, or a rough return to the lineup to shake off the rust. Lehtonen was back and doing his usual magic in the crease. The goal that Lehtonen did give up, he simply got beat by a great move and shot by Perron. Other than the Perron goal, Lehtonen held strong, stopping 25 shots of varied difficulties and locations.

Blues goal #1- Perron was left open, took the puck to his backhand to get Lehtonen stretched out and out of position. He took it back to his forehand and tucked it into the open net. Very, very similar to how Ryder scored against the Capitals last season.

This was a big save by Lehtonen and a great play by Dillon to lift the stick and save a goal.

Line juggling- Eriksson moved up to be the left wing on the top line and Cole was moved up in Eriksson's spot as the right wing on the second line. Morrow was bumped down to left wing on the third. Yes, the third line didn't produce or do much, but the juggling paid off greatly for the top two lines. Eriksson tallied a goal and an assist, Roy scored a goal and added two assists and Jagr and Cole both added goals of their own and Roussel got an assist. Eriksson's persistence at both ends of the ice were noticeable and Cole's forecheck and big body helped out the second line. His steal and forecheck pressure led to Roy's unassisted goal in the first. 

After a faceoff loss, Cole and Roussel put good pressure on the puck and that eventually led to...

Dallas goal #1- Cole and Roussel's pressure led to a turnover. Roy passed it to Roussel who was headed to the net. Roussel dropped it back out front and Cole wristed it in.

Dallas goal #2- Eriksson stole the puck from Oshie and dumped the puck then pressure the defense. Oshie tried to pass the puck out of the one through the middle of the ice. Roy skated it, stole it and wristed it on net. You can see the puck in the picture trickle under Elliott's armpit.

Staying out of the box- I know, I can’t believe it either. Other than Morrow’s high-stick early in the second period and Roussel’s fight, the Stars didn’t take any other penalties. And they didn’t give less effort or play softer in order to do that. They maintained their speed, their physicality and offensive pressure, they just had more control and awareness apparently. Not sure if it’s something that they specifically worked on somehow or just a matter of being smarter, but it was great and the Stars can definitely use a lot more games like that.

One of the few penalties of the night was the fight between Roussel and Stewart. Roussel landed a few punches but Stewart simply overpowered Roussel.

The Bad:

1st period (most of it)- This was one of the ugliest periods for the Stars in terms of overall play. Constantly, I mean constantly, the Stars simply couldn’t get the puck out of the zone. I’m not talking about skating it out, I’m talking about just getting the puck past the blue line in any way shape or form. Seemed like everyone on the Stars roster was guilty of it. They gave up turnovers all over the defensive zone, including several critical ones in the middle. Lehtonen had to come up with some big saves just to keep the Stars from being dominated on the scoreboard through 20 minutes. They did have a couple of strong plays on the forecheck and they led to goals that settled the game a little, but for the most part they couldn’t get anything going beyond center ice most of the period. They did give up a goal, which started on a Jamie Benn turnover in the defensive zone, but they managed to push forward and amazingly end the period with a 2-1 lead.

Turnovers- I won’t go too much into this since the explanation of the 1st period was pretty much on the same subject, but they still suffer from terrible play in their own zone. And it surfaces way too much for their own liking. The biggest problem is when they turn the puck over in their own zone like in the first period and when they also commit those lazy turnovers (especially along the boards) in the offensive zone.

This was Benn's turnover on a weak pass that eventually led to Perron's goal.

Faceoffs (everyone other than Eakin)- Stars won 31 of 64 faceoffs, but Eakin alone won 12 of those faceoffs. He ended up 12-for-15 on the dot. No other center ended up over 50%. Benn won 8 of 17, Roy won 9 of 20, Fiddler won 1 of 6 and Cole, Morrow and Nystrom combined to win 0 of 4. Garbutt ended up taking two draws and won one of them.

Lines seen tonight:
Benn- Daley

PP- Eakin-Smith-Morrow-Roy-Daley
PK- Fiddler-Nystrom-Dillon-Robidas
PK- Eriksson-Roy-Jo. Benn-Daley

Notable Notes:

Dallas goal #3- Jordie Benn (bottom right) showed great patience when he collected the puck at the blue line, skated around a scrambling Blues player and passed the puck across the ice, through the slot to a wide open Eriksson (top left).

Another shot of Eriksson's goal. He didn't get all of the puck, but it was enough to go between Elliott's legs.

The Blues scored a goal but it was reviewed and disallowed because of a kicking motion. it was a tough call but you can see Cracknell was trying to stop from crashing into the net and Oleksiak's right leg was pushing up against Cracknell's leg. 

Another view of the disallowed goal.

Big hit that was thrown at Dillon, but he ended up staying on his feet and knocking the Blues player to the ice. Great strength and balance by Dillon.

A great chance for Jagr and Eakin on a 2-on-1 but it was stopped by a great defensive play. 

Jamie Langenbrunner was announced as the newest member of the Dallas Stars 20th anniversary team.

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