Saturday, April 20, 2013

Dallas Stars Game 44: The Good and the Bad

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Dallas Stars 2-1 loss at the St. Louis Blues
Shots: Dallas 22, St. Louis 20
PP: Dallas 0/2, St. Louis 1/3

The Good:

Kari Lehtonen- He gave the Stars a chance, and that’s what they needed. They just failed to capitalize. If you look at the goals the Stars gave up this game, you can argue that they weren’t on him. Or at least that other players/factors carried more blame than him. He only faced 20 shots, but his 18 saves were solid and he took care of his rebounds. Again, he gave his team a chance to win, and they couldn’t repay him for his efforts at the other end.

Faceoffs- Benn won 8 of 19, Eakin won 4 of 7, Fiddler won 10 of 19, Wandell won 3 of 5, Cole won 3 of 4 and Roussel won his only faceoff taken.

The Bad:

Terrible goals against- The first goal for the Blues was on a terrible PK by the Stars. A scrum behind the Stars’ net drew all four penalty killers behind the red line. The Blues won the scrum, passed it to Pietrangelo who was wide open at the top of the right circle and he ripped it on net. With Chris Stewart’s big body in front, Lehtonen was screened a little and the puck hammered off his helmet, throwing him off a bit. Stewart was on the doorstep to corral the rebound and put it in the back of the net. The second goal was a bad play from several Stars players. Dillon tried passing the puck up the boards out of the zone, but it was intercepted near the blue line by Eaves. He passed it low to Porter who centered the puck off the side of the net. The puck came out front and Eaves drove hard to the net to lift in a backhand shot. You can argue the blame falls on Dillon’s pass that was intercepted, Benn’s skating out of the zone before getting the puck, Eriksson and Goligoski’s inability to tie up Eaves or stop him from getting his shot off. No matter how you look at them, the Stars gave up two terrible goals, and it cost them the win.

This was the scrum behind the net that led to the first goal of the game. You can see all four penalty killers below the red line, which is almost worst-case scenario. 

Pietrangelo got the puck off the scrum and his slap shot hit Lehtonen right in the head. He stumbled for a second, and dove to make a save on the rebound, but...

St. Louis Blues goal #1- Stewart had set the screen on Pietrangelo's shot. Once the puck hit off Lehtonen's head, he was in position to get to the rebound ahead of all the Stars. 

This is the pass that led to St. Louis' second goal. Dillon attempted to pass the puck up the boards, but you can see that no Stars were in position to receive the pass. Eriksson was in the center of the ice and Benn was cheating up along the boards to create a quick offensive opportunity. Eaves was at the top of the circle and cut off the pass before it crossed the blue line.

St. Louis Blues goal #2- Eaves stole Dillon's pass and sent the puck down low to Porter. Porter attempted a centering pass, but it hit off the side of the net and slid out front. Eaves drove hard to the net, shielding off Goligoski and Eriksson as he lifted a backhand shot past Lehtonen.

Too little offense too late- The Stars had six shots in each of the first two periods. That’s a total of 12 through 40 minutes compared to the Blues’ 15 shots. They woke up in the third period, but it was too late. The Stars scored their lone goal on a very simple play that they seemed to avoid a lot of the night: shot the puck on net. They attempted some fancy plays or an extra move here or there throughout the game. Just get it on net like Robidas did and good things will happen. They really put the pressure on the Blues in the third period, but they ran out of time and weren’t able to tie it up before the buzzer. 

Dallas goal #1- After a couple of good keep-ins at the blue line by Robidas, the puck finally gets worked back to him by Rome. Roussel screened Elliott and deflected Robidas' slap shot in the net.

Lines seen tonight:

Jo. Benn-Larsen

PP- Eriksson-Benn-Cole-Whitney-Goligoski
PP- Nystrom-Fiddler-Eakin-Robidas-Jo. Benn
PK- Eakin-Cole-Rome-Robidas
PK- Eriksson-Cole-Rome-Robidas
PK- Roussel-Garbutt-Goligoski-Dillon

Notable Notes:
One of the biggest hits of the night done on Roussel after the play was blown offsides. It was between this and Robidas' hit on Steen early in the game. 

One of the Stars' best chances of the night. Eriksson danced to the front of the net and tied to tuck in a nifty backhander, but Elliott kicked it out.

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