Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Dallas Stars Game 39: The Good and the Bad

Getty Images

Dallas Stars defeat the Los Angeles Kings 5-1.
Shots: Dallas 31, Los Angeles 30
PP: Dallas 1/5, Los Angeles 0/4

The Good:

Richard Bachman- For having sat through so many games on the bench, just watching, he was thrown into a close-knit, tough game and he had to stop the puck immediately. He was peppered with 17 shots in the second period, but he remained poised and solid in net, stopping all of them in a period where the Stars usually allow that onslaught and see a goal deficit grow. He faced shots from all over and with wide open and crowded views of the puck. The best aspect of Bachman’s game was his rebound control. He was back to the Bachman of last season where he would not only stop pucks, but wouldn’t let them see the light of day after they hit him or he seemingly carefully placed them in a safe spot. Simply put, he was a wall.

We saw this a lot from Bachman, which was great. He was back to his old ways: stopping pucks and not giving up a rebound. 

Bachman showed a lot more poise in net than he had previously this season. He got in the way of shots well, saw through crowds and controlled his rebounds. 

Forecheck/Creating turnovers- Unbelievable. Amazing. Unbelievably amazing. This was easily the best I have seen the Stars forecheck, pace and tenacity all season. They were relentless. They came at the Kings in waves. They never gave up, in all three zones of the ice. They made the Kings look like the early-season Stars when they were trying to exit the zone. The Stars forced turnovers on what felt like every other play. Then they not only forced a turnover, but they took it and created a chance off of it. Their turnovers weren’t for nothing. They either got a goal, a penalty called against the Kings or, at worst, a good shot on net.

I felt like this picture best symbolized how the Stars hounded the Kings all over the ice, throughout the entire game. 

Forwards back-checking- Again, there was puck support all over the ice, all the time. The forecheck came in waves and once the puck was turned over by the Kings, there were immediately two other Stars nearby. And in the defense zone, there was always a forward back with both defenders. Unlike last game, very very few odd-man rushes and breakaways. Solid play by the forwards helping on the backcheck. In addition, when they got into puck battles along the boards, they had support and won those battles, unlike what we have seen recently. 

Penalty kill- Going 1-for 5 doesn't tell how strong and crucial the PK was. Aside from letting the pass from Kopitar to Doughty go through the PK box on the first one, the Stars were really strong the other four chances. They killed off a full 4 minutes when Rome was in the box for his high-sticking double-minor. That helped give them major momentum. Killing Robidas' penalty midway through the second period really seemed to spark the Stars. They were buzzing and dominant, and it carried over into the third period.

The Bad:

Penalties- The Stars were called for two double-minors for high-sticking and a third high-sticking for two minutes. Sometimes in the fast-action of a play, a stick can get away from a player or tied up expectedly. It still remains a responsibility for the player to have control of their stick at all times. And a couple of the high-sticking penalties were unnecessary and could’ve been easily avoided (especially Rome’s penalty). Eriksson’s high-sticking double-minor 34 seconds into the game really felt like it killed any kind of momentum or energy the Stars were trying to start the game off with.

Kari Lehtonen injury- there was no clear sign of an injury or a play that specifically could be pointed out as the reason for the injury, but Lehtonen left the game with 5:40 left in the first period. He was listed as questionable but never returned. 

Sorry for the bad picture, but there wasn't a good shot in the presentation of Lehtonen's injury. This meeting with the medical staff in the hallway was the last we saw of Lehtonen.

Lines seen tonight:

PK- Fiddler-Nystrom-Daley-Robidas
PK- Eakin-Cole-Dillon-Goligoski
PK- Roussel-Garbutt-Daley-Robidas

Notable Notes:

  • Faceoffs- Benn won 12 of 18, Eakin won 9 of 19, Fiddler won 5 of 15, Wandell won 4 of 7 and Nystrom, Chiasson and Roussel combined to win 3 of 6.
Dallas goal #1- Rome blasted a shot from the point that Quick kicked out to his right. The puck bounced off the boards and Goligoski immediately rifled it into the net as Nystrom screened Quick. 

Dallas goal #2- Chiasson collected the puck along the left wing boards and fed a pass to Whitney who found open ice in the high slot. He took a few strides toward Quick and wristed it by him.

Dallas goal #3- This was the best angle I could get on this goal. Robidas took a slap shot from the blue line and Fiddler was left alone in front to deflect the puck past Quick. 

Dallas goal #4- Eriksson had the puck to the left of Quick, but he spun around and made a deft pass to Whitney at the top of the crease. Quick was out of position after the pass, leaving a gaping net for Whitney. 

Dallas goal #5- Nystrom entered the Kings' zone and passed the puck up to Fiddler, who skated in along the left wing boards. Fiddler threw the puck on net since Cole was on top of the crease. The puck hit off the defender in front and snuck past Quick. 

Los Angeles goal #1- On the PP, Kopitar sent a pass through the Stars' PK box that went to an open Doughty. He had enough time and room to settle the puck and wrist it past Lehtonen's glove. 

Quick's best save of the night. He stoned Whitney on a one-timer opportunity with lots of open net available. 

Ellerby saved a goal here for Quick. Eriksson's forecheck resulted in him stealing a pass by Muzzin. He took a look at Quick, made a move to his left, got Quick out of position, but Ellerby held up Eriksson's stick, not allowing him to shoot as the puck drifted wide. 

A good chance for Nystrom on a one-timer, but he seemed to not get all of the puck. It ended up sliding on the ice right at Quick, who squeezed the pads for the save. 

Uh.... What?

Ed Belfour was honored as a member of the Stars' 20th anniversary team. 

Ceremonial faceoff. 

Eddie The Eagle Belfour!


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