Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Dallas Stars Game 46: The Good and the Bad

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Dallas Stars 3-2 loss at the San Jose Sharks
Shots: Dallas 26, San Jose 37
PP: Dallas 1/3, San Jose 1/2

The Good:

Kari Lehtonen- The Sharks could have easily won 8-2, and that’s just the score after you take away some huge saves by Lehtonen. Add to that four shots that hit off the posts and you get the idea. The only problem I had tonight with Lehtonen was his rebound control. He seemed to punch out or kick straight out more pucks that usual. He made the huge save which is great, obviously, but the Stars defenders were very good at clearing the rebounds through the first two periods. He really kept the Stars in the game and gave them a chance to win. He deserved better. The whole team deserved better.

A huge save by Lehtonen in the first period. 

The puck was sent in from behind the red line. It bounced off Lehtonen and almost went in. 
A short-handed chance for Braun on a Dallas 5-on-3.

A good save by Lehtonen and Robidas was in perfect position to clear the rebound before it could be put in by Boyle.

This was on a one-timer from a cross-ice pass.

Lehtonen made the save, but the puck bounced over him toward the goal. Daley was luckily there to swipe the puck away, saving it from bouncing into the net.

Lehtonen made a great left pad save on Boyle after a nice pass from Thornton. The rebound sat for a second, but Daley was first on the scene and cleared the puck.

Lehtonen stayed strong on the post and kept the puck out, even as Desjadins crashed the net and helped dislodge it.

Fierce forecheck- Especially in the second period. The Sharks couldn’t handle the Stars’ forecheck. Whether the Stars sent one or two in, they either took the puck away or forced a bad pass by the Sharks.

One example of the Stars' forecheck. This came in the second period. Benn came in for the steal, Eriksson fought to win the puck back, Benn again stole the puck and created a chance.

The Bad:

Inability to clear the zone- this was a major problem in the second period especially, when the Sharks really turned it on and attacked the Stars. They seemed unable to make a simple pass or play just to get out of the zone at times. The Sharks ended up taking the puck or simply receiving the puck at the blue line and reloading an attack.

Here is an example of having a simple opportunity to clear, but instead giving up a turnover. Roussel had two easy outlet passes, but he skated to the line and lost the puck. 

Giving up big first shots- The Stars did well to stick on their men for the most part. But take a look at the pictures under Kari Lehtonen’s paragraph above and look at how many big chances the Sharks had. The Stars did a great job clearing the rebounds, but giving up that first shot and hoping Lehtonen comes up big is a major risk.

Ray Whitney- I know it’s tough to put someone like the Wizard in this category, but tonight he earned it. As a grizzly veteran, you would expect him to step up a game like this. Other than on the power play and dropping the puck for Eriksson on a breakaway, when did you see or hear Whitney do something positive? He failed to clear the zone three times and all three times, it hurt the Stars. Whitney had easy plays and room to get the puck out, but all three times he opted for a cutesy tip ahead with his back or side facing the blue line. The first two times, the Sharks flipped the turnover into a scoring chance immediately. And on the third turnover by Whitney, the Sharks scored the game-winning goal. 

San Jose goal #3- Whitney receives a pass from behind the net, but instead of getting the puck out of the zone, he attempts a little tip ahead. Braun takes the puck and shoots it toward the net. It hits either Dillon or Benn in front and Marleau is in the slot to recover the puck. He back a back pass to a wide open Couture who put it in the net.

Another angle of the game-winning goal. 

Penalty kill- The Stars ended up 1-for-2, but they were beyond fortunate to survive the first Sharks power play. I counted 9 shots during that power play, 3 of which reached Lehtonen and one hit off the post. They only managed to clear the zone once. To say they survived or that they hung on by the skin of her teeth is putting it lightly. On the second Sharks PP, the Sharks didn’t even have to set up to get their goal. After the Stars cleared the zone twice, the Sharks skated into the zone, got behind the Stars and deflected a pass in. Easy as that.  

This was actually one of the few good moments of Dallas' PK. They occupied the middle, had sticks in passing lanes and kept the shot to the outside at an angle.

Faceoffs- Benn won 11 of 25, Fiddler won 6 of 17, Eakin won 5 of 11.

Lines seen tonight:


PP- Eriksson-Benn-Whitney-Cole-Robidas
PK- Eriksson-Eakin-Daley-Robidas
PK- Roussel-Cole-Rome-Larsen

Notable Notes:

Dallas goal #1- Garbutt passes the puck from behind the red line to Eakin along the right wing boards. Eakin skates into the right circle and wrists a shot on net. Niemi coughs up a big rebound and Roussel fights his way to the front of the net to put it in the net.

Another angle of the Roussel goal.

Dallas goal #2- Benn passes the puck from the right boards to Goligoski at the blue line. His slap shot bounces around the front of the net and Eriksson tucks in the rebound behind Niemi.

San Jose goal #1- On the power play, the Sharks enter the zone quickly. Gomez centers the puck for Torres, who tips the puck over Lehtonen.

Hit of the night: Cole eliminated Gomez at center ice.

The Stars had a 4-on-2, but Larsen's shot never even made it past the San Jose defenders. The puck his a shin guard and the chance was done.

Cole almost had a goal on this rebound, but couldn't fish the puck out of Stuart's skates fast enough.

Whitney had a breakaway, but he dropped the puck for Eriksson as he occupied both defenders. Niemi ended up making a blocker save on the shot. 

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