Sunday, April 7, 2013

Dallas Game 38: The Good and the Bad

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Dallas Stars defeat the San Jose Sharks 5-4 in the shootout.
Shots: Dallas 34, San Jose 36
PP: Dallas 0/3, San Jose 0/3

The Good:

Alex Chiasson- It seems like he gets better every game. He tallied two goals, 3 shots and 3 hits in nearly 18 minutes of ice time. He needs a little bit of work in the faceoff circle (0-for-7), but it's good to see the coaching staff putting him in that position to develop that part of his game. He was again solid on defense and hustled in all three ones of the ice.

Dallas goal #2- Whitney won a race along the left boards to negate an icing. Benn eventually attempted a wrap around shot, but it was broken up. The puck slid to the right and Chiasson drove to the net and put it home.

Dallas goal #3- Benn intercepted a pass at center ice, entered the zone and passed it to Whitney on his left. Whitney stopped and sent the puck through a crowd to Chiasson who tapped it in.

Another angle of the mass of sticks and bodies that Whitney sent the puck through on Chiasson's second goal of the game.
Jamie Benn- He was crafty with the puck. The offense seemed to flow smoothly through him and he created several scoring chances. His strong play led to both Chiasson goals. He was good on faceoffs and was strong on the forecheck. In addition, he scored the decisive goal in the shootout for the win.

This was a great play by Benn that led to the Stars' third goal. Chiasson pressured the puck-carrier and forced him into making a pass. Benn saw that develop and jumped up to intercept the pass. He then took the puck into the zone, dished to Whitney and eventually Chiasson put the puck in the net.

This was Benn's goal in the shootout. As Razor said it was "the old Jussi Jokinen" move. He skated in to his right, made a move left and wristed the puck between Niemi's right pad and blocker.

Fighting back- Twice the Stars were down by two goals. And twice they fired back relatively quickly to tie the game up. Not only did they have this great play and strong comebacks with the new youth-filled lineup, but they did it against one of the hottest teams in the NHL. They matched them stride for stride and physically kept up with the Sharks.

Kari Lehtonen- I have Lehtonen in both the good and the bad for this game. He let in a few soft goals and the goal review on the 4th was one he can’t really be blamed for. Other than that, he was tremendous. He does seem a bit out of it, maybe due to fatigue, but even so, he was stellar. The Stars did a good job of keeping a lot of shots to the outside, but he did his part either controlling the rebound or completely swallowing the puck to not give up a rebound at all. He had some big bodies in front of him, but he kept his eyes on the puck through the bodies and he did well when the Sharks were pushing for a tip in the high slot. And to end it all, he was perfect in the shootout.

This was a crazy play where Lehtonen made a save, but the puck bounced off his shoulder and went straight up in the air. It landed on the goal line and bounced forward before Lehtonen sprawled to cover it.

A really good save on a breakaway by Lehtonen that could have put the game out of the reach.

A mad scramble in front of the net in the third period. Lots of hits and stick work happening with the puck loose in the crease before it was shot wide. 

Lehtonen's best save of the shootout. He did the splits and held strong on the post to stop Boyle.

Power play- again the power play didn’t end up on the score sheet, but it looked strong yet again. On a man advantage in the second period, the Stars kept the puck in the Sharks’ zone for a full 1:29 straight. They stopped clearing attempts, moved the puck all over the ice, took 6 shots with 3 hitting the net and one off the post. They were just dominant. The Sharks looked helpless. One problem, they just have to find a way to put the puck in the back of the net.

Overtime- The Stars played most of overtime with the puck on their sticks and in the offensive zone. They did take a little too long to shoot and tried to force a few passes, but they got good chances. Eriksson almost ended it with 1:07 left, but it rang off the post. 

Eriksson's shot in overtime that rang off the post.

The Bad:

Kari Lehtonen (specifically, soft goals)- As mentioned above, Lehtonen seemed a little out of sorts. Whether it is fatigue or just an off night, he let in a few uncharacteristic goals. The Burns goal was extremely simple and one Lehtonen easily should’ve had. The backhander by Galiardi was a good shot, but usually we would Lehtonen get his body in front of it. The Sharks’ 4th goal was a bad call and he was interfered with a little, but even so, he didn’t seem very strong on the post to stop the wrap around attempt.

San Jose goal #1- Larsen and Rome lost the puck behind the net and Couture centered a pass from behind the net. Benn was unable to cut the pass off and Lehtonen poked it forward where it went past Marleau but right to an open Wingels for the goal.

San Jose goal #2- Burns simply skated in along the boards and ripped a shot past Lehtonen's glove. This was the one that Lehtonen wants back the most, probably.

San Jose goal #3- Nystrom was hit off the puck near the blue line. He regained possession of the puck but Galiardi was in position to steal it and zing a backhander past Lehtonen.

Another angle of the Galiardi backhand goal. You can see it went in short-side in the little area between the post and Lehtonen's left shoulder. 

Bad call on San Jose’s 4th goal- I am still trying to understand this one. My guess is the War Room or Situation Room in Toronto had to have another angle or two that we didn’t see on TV. There was no sign of the puck going, before or after the whistle. There was no conclusive evidence shown to us that it was in fact a goal.
There was no conclusive evidence the puck crossed the line, before or after the whistle. 

Another angle that shows the puck disappear after it hit Lehtonen. 

Tom Wandell- He played? Yes, he played and was the most invisible player on the ice. He hung back on offense, stayed high on defense and didn’t much else. For his first game back in the lineup in a long time, this is not how to win a roster spot.

Faceoffs- Benn won 7 of 20, Eakin won 6 of 14, Fiddler won 12 of 21, Wandell won 2 of 4 and everyone else added up to win 3 of 13.

Lines seen tonight:


PK- Fiddler-Nystrom-Goligoski-Rome
PK- Eakin-Cole-Daley-Robidas
PK- Benn-Eriksson-Daley-Robidas
PK- Roussel-Eriksson-Goligoski-Rome
PK-Garbutt-Benn- Daley-Robidas

Notable Notes:

Dallas goal #1- Nystrom stole a pass up the boards by Vlasic and sent the puck low to Fiddler. Fiddler skated behind the net and passed to Nystrom as he drove the net. 

Dallas goal #4- Fraser skated in along the left wing boards and fired the puck on Niemi. The puck bounced off of him and landed in front of the net. Eriksson was in position to bury the rebound.

Another angle showing where Eriksson was when he put home the rebound.

Matt Fraser had a breakaway chance early in the second period, but his shot went wide. Still looks a little nervous/uncomfortable in the NHL.

Early on the Sharks really took it to Stars on the forecheck and defensive pressure. The picture above was during a Stars power play. That's right on the PK, they had three players attacking the puck. It worked beautifully in the first period. The Stars were barely able to get past center ice with the puck, and they weren't able to get anything set up in the offensive zone.

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