Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Dallas Stars Game 25: The Good and the Bad

Getty Images

Dallas Stars 4-0 Loss to the Nashville Predators
Shots: Dallas 32, Nashville 21
PP: Dallas 0/4, Nashville 2/4

The Good:

Ray Whitney- Not the way he wanted to come back, but Whitney did well in his return to the lineup. He hadn’t played since February 1 and missed 16 games in the process, but he showed that his hard work in the off time paid off. His legs seemed didn’t seem to hold him up and his hands were great as always. He was prevalent on a few power play opportunities. He made some really good cross-ice passes and threw the puck out from behind the net which almost resulted in a goal. In 5-on-5 play, he did well on the line with Cole and Roy. There wasn’t much chemistry seem yet, but that was expected being the first game for this line to be together. Glad to have The Wizard back in the fold.

The Wizard and his photobombs returned!

Ray Whitney did a good job photobombing several times in his return.

Tomas Vincour- He stood out to me tonight. Put back in the lineup thanks to Benn and Morrow being out, he fought hard for the puck, attacked the puck battles along the boards, controlled the puck when he finally did get a hold of it and created some chances. And then he even took part in the dirty stuff in the 3rd period. He looked like he was fighting for his roster spot the whole game. 

Crazy scrum in the 3rd- I didn’t like it for being a fight (or several at once). It was more about the Stars showing their frustration, their heart and fight to win. They know these games are important and this home stretch is very telling on the rest of their season. They wanted to show and showed some desperation, just too late. Also, I always love it when the team sends a message that you can’t mess with our goalie without expecting some payback. It all started with Fisher colliding with Lehtonen (even though he was pushed). Lehtonen punched Fisher in the back with his blocker, robidas threw some forearms to Fisher’s back and neck, Lehtonen hacked at his knee and then, when the play was blown dead, it got crazy. Robidas fought Fisher, and left some blood on the ice. Dillon threw three huge punches to Butler’s face. And Roussel had a quick wrestling/missed-punch situation with Weber. We've seen the team sort of roll over or give up in similar games, but it was good to see the Stars fight back. 

This was the collision between Fisher and Lehtonen that started the craziness.

Lehtonen picked up his stick, stood up and punched Fisher in the back. He later hacked at Fisher's left leg, too. 

Once the play ended, fights broke out. Three fights at one time!

Robidas fought Fisher. Fisher got the edge on this one. Robidas landed fewer puches, left blood on the ice and headed straight to the locker room. 

Roussel and Weber exchanged a few missed punches and Roussel wrestled Weber to the ground. (Getty Images)

Mainly wanted to point out Dillon here (bottom left). He had Butler down, threw three huge punches to Butler's face and that was the end of that fight. 

The Bad:

Dealing with puck pressure- The Stars couldn’t handle the pressure that Nashville was putting on them the whole game. Several times, the Stars stood behind the net looking for an outlet but instead had to rip the puck around the boards only to get intercepted by the Predators. Their pressure cut the Stars offense’s ability to enter the zone clearly. Then they would win the race on the dump and chase or lay a hit and use an active stick to quell any opportunity before it even formed.

Few quality scoring chances- They simply could not solve Rinne the entire night. They did have a few good shots, but for the most part, when they did get a shot on net it either went directly into his glove or the middle of his chest. The Stars couldn’t get much offense going from the front of the net or even close to the goal really. Several passes through the slot could’ve resulted in tremendous scoring chances, but the Nashville defense was there to cut it off or tie up the stick.

Probably my favorite save by Rinne all night. Whitney let go a good one-time shot put a sprawling Rinne made the save and the rebound was cleared. 

A good chance that Daley had in front of the net, but his shot hit off Cole's skate at the edge of the crease and didn't go in.

Jamie Oleksiak- He just wanted very good at all. He seemed slow to the puck, he didn’t use his body or reach to his advantage, and he was the source of several bad plays. I counted 2 turnovers off his stick directly and two bad passes that immediately resulted in a turnover. And one of those turnovers led to a Nashville goal seconds later.

Oleksiak was skating the puck quickly up the middle of the ice before his pocket was picked near center ice. 

Nashville goal #1- After Oleksiak turned the puck over, the Predators came back the other way on a 2-on-1. Halischuk entered the zone and fed the puck to his left to Spaling, who wristed the puck past Lehtonen's glove.

New lines- It’s always difficult to overcome multiple injuries to your lineup, especially in the case of this game. The Stars were missing their captain and big net presence in Morrow and their best offensive player in Jamie Benn. Roussel was moved to center a line with Vincour and Eriksson. The line had some chances and showed some really good hustle in the offensive zone. Roy was put in between Whitney and Cole, a line we might be seeing a lot more of since Whitney and Cole used to play together in Carolina. The Roy line was the most productive of the night in terms of creating chances. Eakin centered Jagr and Smith. This line had hustle, but a lot of times Jagr seemed to have to do it all on his own.

Special teams- Power play was 0-for-4 and penalty kill was 2-for-4. That about sums it up? Weber didn’t even get to blast a shot from the point and they still managed 2 power play goals, both starting from off to the side of the net, inside a circle.

Nashville goal #2- Craig Smith took a shot from the slot that Jordie Benn blocked away. Weber collected the puck and backhanded it toward the net. The puck hit off of Benn's stick and deflected over Lehtonen's right pad and into the net.

Nashville goal #4- Legwand (top left) threw the puck to the slot and Smith (center) deflected the puck on net. Bourque was left alone to Lehtonen's side and he easily put in the rebound. 

A rough defensive situation that Dillon was a part of. He saw two teammates skating back to the net and he left his position on the right post and skated to the man with the puck behind the icing line. Not sure if it was miscommunication or no communication at all but the two headed to the net didn't cover the man in front and a dangerous scoring chance ensued. 

Lines seen tonight:
Benn- Daley

PP- Smith-Cole-Jagr-Eakin-Goligoski
PK- Fiddler-Nystrom-Dillon-Robidas
PK- Cole-Eakin-Benn-Daley
PK- Eriksson-Roy-Dillon-Robidas

Notable Notes:
  • Faceoffs- Roy won 9 of 22, Eakin won 8 of 15, Roussel won 2 of 7 and best of all, Fiddler won 11 of 16 (he won 9 of his first 10).
  • Morrow and Benn were both out with injuries and are still day-to-day
Nashville did a good job killing a penalty and on Clune's way out of the box he got the puck and skated right at Lehtonen. Jordie Benn hooked him as he shot and Clune was awarded a penalty shot. 

Nashville goal #3- Penalty shot. Clune skated in on Lehtonen and wristed the puck five-hole before the pads closed together. 

Another good example of bad behind the net defense. Luckily, this time it didn't directly cost the Stars.

A really good save Lehtonen made. You can see the mass of bodies in front, but Lehtonen saw the puck, came out of the net avoiding the mass altogether and made the save with no rebound.

A close class when Garbutt was taken down the ice. The skate came dangerously close to Smith's neck/head.

The Nystrom-Ellis fight in the 3rd period was short, but there were a few punches and the strangest part was that Ellis was smiling the entire time. 

Roussel and Gaustad has a back-and-forth in front of the benches. Roussel collided with Gaustad and Gaustad remained on the ice hurt for a little while. At the other end of the ice, a shot hit Roussel up high and was stuck in his gear. He was knocked to the ice and appeared shaken up on the play. When they headed back to their benches, they exchanged words and skated to each other but a ref skated in a broke it up.

Bill Guerin dropped the opening faceoff after being inducted into the 20th Anniversary Dallas Stars team.

Billy G, welcome to the 20th Anniversary team.

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