Friday, March 22, 2013

Dallas Stars Game 30: The Good and the Bad

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Dallas Stars 2-0 win at the Los Angeles Kings
Shots: Dallas 21, Los Angeles 40
PP: Dallas 0/2, Los Angeles 0/3

The Good:

Kari Lehtonen- Back to normal for the best player on the team. Very deserving of the win and the shutout. Clearly, the man of the match.Without Lehtonen, the Stars would’ve probably been down 4-0 after the second period. Through two periods, Lehtonen faced more shots (30) than the Stars usually take in an entire game. To say that Lehtonen saved the Stars from a grotesque outcome is an understatement. As Razor put it “He looks like he can stop bee bees with an antenna.”

Lewis flew into the zone and threw the puck to King who redirected the puck on net. Lehtonen came up with a huge save and didn't give up a rebound.

Nolan overpowered Goligoski along the boards, took the puck to the center and got a shot on net. Lehtonen made a quick right pad save. This play is a pretty good glimpse into the Stars' defense' goaltending situation this season.

This was the second of a pair of great, fast saves in tight for Lehtonen. 

Penalty kill- Another great road show for the Dallas Stars PK units. They managed solid ice time and good changes, gave the Kings fits along the blue line when they entered the zone or tried to handle the puck at the point. As usual, Lehtonen came up HUGE several times on the PK, especially on the one where Morrow was called for boarding.

The vets- Both Whitney and Jagr's goals were things of beauty and the main reason: experience. Jagr's vision and ability to realize that if he took a shot on his forehand, there was a goalie and a defender in his way. If he took it to his right and took a shot on his backhand, there would be an opening in the crowd and most importantly, Quick would be slightly out of position. On Whitney's goal, his recognition of where to set himself up and where to rip his shot on net gave the Stars a 2-0 lead. Great to have the vets take over the third and help give the Stars the win.

Dallas goal #1- Benn battles Kopitar behind the Dallas goal. Benn eventually gets the puck and skates it out. He drops it back near the Kings' blue line for Jagr. Jagr comes in to the left, makes a move to his right and backhands the puck in off of Doughty's right leg.

Dallas goal #20- Eakin took a huge hit near his blue line to pass the puck up to Eriksson. Eriksson entered the offensive zone along the right side and passes back to Goligoski in the middle of the zone. Goligoski passed to his left to Whitney who ripped a one-timer past Quick.

A better shot of Whitney's goal.

Gulutzan tweaking the lines- Gully changed up the lines to start the third period, and the results were clear. The Stars were terrible in the second period, they were great in the third. The Stars were barely generating offense and hadn't scored through 40 minutes. They scored two big goals in third and the line combinations had a direct impact on both. Here's what the new lines on offense looked like: Nystrom-Benn-Jagr... Eriksson-Eakin-Morrow... Whitney-Roy-Cole... Roussel-Fiddler-Vincour.

The Bad:

Sloppy seconds- Something happens to the Stars during the second period. Not sure if it happens in the first intermission or once the puck drops, but the Stars are a completely different team in the middle frame. They become unbelievable sloppy. They struggle to do basic plays, and often seem lost or scrambling. It was tough to watch the second period. The Kings manhandled the Stars for the first 15 minutes of the period. They seemed to have spent most of the period in the Stars' zone. And, yet again, Lehtonen (more than) bailed them out. as mentioned above, Lehtonen saved the Stars from going into the third period down by 4 goals or so.

Ugly chances- The Stars had their chances. They were few and far between compared to the Kings’ chances, especially through the first two periods. It seems like one out of every 5 Stars chances are actually legitimate, dangerous scoring chances. The rest of their shots and chances come from a distance or off to the side. The Kings’ chances came on breakaways, open shots in the slot, deflections on the doorstep and multiple rebounds in tight. The Stars need to attack the net more and get more chances in the high-percentage areas like they did in the third period.

Faceoffs- Benn won 5 of 15, Roy won 10 of 24, Eakin won 6 of 13, Fiddler won 3 of 8.

Lines seen tonight:

(Below are the new lines on offense in the 3rd)


PP-Morrow-Roy-Cole-Jo. Benn-Daley
PK-Roy-Eriksson-Jo. Benn-Dillon
PK-Eakin-Cole-Goligoski- daley

Notable Notes:
This image sums up why the Stars went after Jagr in the summer.

Eakin, and the Stars in general, had a really good forecheck early. They forced three turnovers in the first two minutes of the game. In the image above, Eakin pursued the puck, stole it and protected it from two Kings. He then made a pass out front for a scoring opportunity.

A great opportunity in the second period for Eakin. He had to awkwardly gather puck from his skates and get the shot off, but Quick was there for the save.

Jagr had another great chance soon after he scored his goal. The puck went wide on a shot and bounced off the end boards right to Jagr at the side of the net. Quick again made a good save on the play.

The beauty of Jagr's possession, patience and puck protection. That's Kopitar on his back. Kopitar, who is a tall, strong, physical and skilled player, was pushing, shoving, reaching and ultimately getting beyond frustrated that Jagr held him off the puck for a good while.

The Stars released their schedule for the 20th Anniversary team ceremonies.

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