Thursday, April 18, 2013

Dallas Stars Game 43: The Good and the Bad

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Dallas Stars 5-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks
Shots: Dallas 30, Vancouver 38
PP: Dallas 1/5, Vancouver 0/2

The Good:

Kari Lehtonen- He came back strong. Maybe that’s an understatement. He was stellar. He stopped 37 of 38 shots and got help from the post on one. His rebound control was great. He was a little shaky to start, but he returned to his normal superhero ways as the game moved along.

A big kick-out save by Lehtonen on a hard shot by Kassian.

A wide open wrap arond chance by Daniel Sedin in the first that Lehtonen stopped. 

You can't really see it in this picture, but Henrik Sedin sent a pass to the slot that was redirected on goal. Lehtonen was gliding right, made the stop to his left and kept the puck out. 

Kassian's shot hit Rome's stick and off the post, but Lehtonen made the quick cover to ensure no goal. 

Forcing turnovers- This is one of my favorite aspects of the Stars’ play since the trade deadline. They have been ferocious on the forecheck and in their puck pursuit in the neutral zone. They forced many turnovers and bad passes in the neutral zone, and it was haunting the Canucks early. Their hard work directly led to Benn’s goal and a bunch of chances.

An example of Dallas' relentless puck pursuit and jumping on an opportunity to force a turnover

This forecheck led to a wide open chance for Reilly Smith in front of Schneider, but he lifted it over the net.

Ballard overskates the puck and Benn pounces on the opportunity to get a goal. 

Dallas goal #3- Benn takes the loose puck and skates in on net. He takes a wrist shot that goes by Schneider's blocker and in.

Special teams- Dallas was 1-for-5 on the power play, which doesn’t sound that great, but take it all into account. Fiddler’s goal came soon after Lapierre left the box, so it wasn’t a power play per say, but it basically was in the manner that they kept the same formation, ran the same play and were in the same position as they were on the power play. Dallas killed both of their penalties and looked strong doing it. I counted 5 clears, 4 shots on net and 2 short-handed opportunities on their two kills. The power play did give up too many successful  clearing attempts (17), but they had another good game of moving the puck, getting in position and taking shots on good looks. They just need to make sure to get more on net and definitely more in the back of the net with so many chances.

Dallas goal #5- Eriksson initiated the play with his outlet pass to Robidas. Robidas skated into the Vancouver zone wide right and centered it to Cole. Cole scored an almost identical goal to Benn's in terms of shot and positioning.

Backchecking- The forwards did a great job of coming back to help on defense. A couple of times, they were first back to cut off a dump in. What I liked the most is that when Vancouver came in on the attack, the defense blocked a shot, cut off a pass or poked the puck loose and the forwards swooped in to control the puck and get it out of the zone. They did this the best in the third period, and not only did they get the puck out of the zone, but they did it safely, efficiently and wisely. 

Scoring by committee- Simply put, the Stars received scoring from three of their four lines, and Roussel whiffed on a wide open net in the first period, so almost every line scored. The Stars need all four or at least three to contribute to continue to be successful. Need to make sure the Stars don't sink or swim offensively solely on the performance of the top line.

Dallas goal #1- Seconds after Lapierre's penalty expired, the Stars maintained their attack with the same position and play as they did on the PP. Daley made a pass from the left wing boards to Eakin in front of the net. He was tied up and unable to shoot, but Nystrom was there to backhand it cross-crease to a wide open Fiddler.

Leading up to Eakin's goal, Smith received a long outlet pass from Larsen near center ice. He nudged forward a little backhand pass that Eakin kicked form his skate to his stick as he skated between the Vancouver defenders. 

Dallas goal #2- After the nice play at the blue line, Eakin had open ice to skate in and score on a wrist shot from between the circles.

Dallas goal #4- Whitney's forecheck led to a turnover in the corner. He passed the puck (with Kassian's mistaken help) to Dillon at the blue line. Dillon took a slap shot and Benn tipped it from the slot. Schneider made a save but Whitney was on the doorstep to bury the rebound. 

The Bad:

Turnovers in own zone- I won’t even get into detail on this considering this seems to have been in the same category for almost every Stars game this season. For a couple of minutes in the first period (and a few other times throughout the game) the Stars seemed completely lost on how to get the puck out of the zone. Luckily, the turnovers didn’t directly cost them a goal.

Benn faceoffs- Not sure what was going on with Benn on the dots this game, but he was constantly kicked out, replaced by a winger who more often than not lost the faceoff. Whether it was Cole against Kesler or Eriksson against Sedin, it wasn’t good. 

Faceoffs- Benn won 10 of 22, Eakin won 5 of 17, Fiddler won 12 of 21, Wandell won 3 of 6, Cole won 1 of 3, Roussel won 1 of 2, Eriksson lost his only faceoff and Whitney won his only draw.

Lines seen tonight:


PP- Eriksson-Benn-Cole-Whitney-Goligoski
PP- Nystrom-Fiddler-Eakin-Daley-Robidas
PP- Eakin-Garbutt-Smith-Whitney-Daley
PK-Fiddler-Nystrom-Robidas-Dillon (Daley in the box)
PK- Eakin-Eriksson-Rome-Goligoski
PK- Eakin-Cole-Daley-Robidas
PK- Wandell-Smith-Goligoski-Dillon 

Notable Notes:

Leading up to Vancouver's goal, a long pass bounced off the boards and Goligoski turned around to get in position to get the puck. 

Vancouver goal #1- Unfortunately, Goligoski misplayed it and was overpowered by Roy, who drove the net, made a move to his right and lifted a backhander past Lehtonen.

Stars' biggest hit of the night. Dillon eliminated Pinizzotto. 

Vancouver's biggest hit. After the play ended and the ref blew the whistle, Burrows threw down Robidas to the ice.

A shot hit off the post, bounced off Edler's back and nearly bounced into the net before Alberts swiped it away from the goal line. Cole scored on the play, but it was put in after the ref blew the whistle to end the play.

A great chance in the first period, but Schneider stopped Garbutt. 

Fiddler had a breakaway, but Schneider made a good save on his backhand attempt.

One of Smith's good chances. Schneider got a piece of it, just enough to send it over the crossbar.

Another one of Smith's great chances. A turnover led to him receiving a pass in the slot, but his shot sailed up over the net. 

This was a tremendous save by Schneider on Garbutt. Eakin took the loose puck (off a bad pass by Barker) and sent it out front to Garbutt. His one-timer was a laser on net, but Schneider gloved it.

This was a great chance in the first period that Roussel had. A rebound off a deflection left the net open and Roussel swung at the bouncing puck. He whiffed and the puck was cleared to end the play.

Zubov was honored before the game for his selection into the Dallas Stars 20th Anniversary team.


Ceremonial opening faceoff.

ZUBIE!!! You are missed!

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