Dallas Stars defeat the Buffalo Sabres 4-3.
Shots: Dallas 29, Buffalo 25
PP: Dallas 1/3, Buffalo 1/3
Hits: Dallas 20, Buffalo 30
Faceoffs: Dallas 39, Buffalo 19
Blocked Shots: Dallas 15, Buffalo 14
Cole- He looked really good, like he got his legs back. It had been reported he was battling a nagging injury, which explained his weak play over the past few games. Tonight, he was fast along the boards, quick on his turns and stops, crisp in his passes, and my favorite part, excellent on the backcheck. Add a couple of assists and three shots, and he had a good night.
Dallas goal #3
Nichushkin- He keeps looking better and better. Easy to tell he is getting more acclimated and comfortable and confident. It will all eventually come together for the young Russian, but for now, steps forward are good signs. His speed and physicality was a step up again. He was good on the backcheck, negating an odd-man rush in the first period most notably and he was decent in moving the puck around. The best part of his game to me tonight was his offensive rushes. He had two solid chances created by his size, speed and reach. We are all waiting for his first, and can only hope it snowballs for him from there.
Another chance for Nichushkin. Clear that his size, speed and reach created this opportunity.
Power play- They didn’t take as many shots as I would like, but they looked solid with the man advantage. The double-minor to Ott in the first changed the game in favor of Dallas. They controlled the puck well, only let the puck leave the zone 3 times and got five shots on goal. They also added a missed shot, two blocked shots and a shot off the post. On the second powerplay, they kept the puck in the Buffalo zone for about 1:42 straight. In that time, they put 8 shots on net, had one miss the net and had two blocked.
Dallas goal #2
My favorite power play set up.
Fourth line- They were more dominant in the first period, but they had a solid night. They were buzzing in the offensive end, tallied a goal and did alright in their own zone. They were noticeable when on the ice. That plus production equals a good night for any 4th line.
Dallas goal #1
Top line- More greatness from the top line. Their speed, puck movement and ability to get the puck to the net has been great. Cole did well back as right wing in place of Peverley. Really anyone with Seguin and Benn should do well, but Cole has clicked well with the duo this season and his drive to the net fits in well.
Dallas goal #4
Faceoffs- I can't even remember the last time I said this, but the Stars absolutely dominated the faceoff dots this game. Especially Jamie Benn. Not sure what was going on tonight, but it was great to see the team do so well on the draw finally. Jamie Benn won all 9 of his faceoffs, Peverley won 8 of 11, Eakin won 12 of 16, Fiddler won 5 of 10, Horcoff won 3 of 7, Cole won 1 of 2, Chiasson won his only draw and Seguin lost both of his faceoffs.
Turnovers in own zone- yet again, this very familiar problem comes up. Several turnovers were salvaged by Lehtonen, but a couple of them led to Buffalo goals. The first one was a turnover on a pass by Fiddler to an ill-advised rush by Daley. The second, Daley let a puck get loose from him behind the net and soft defense in the slot left Moulson with a chance to deflect the puck, collect it back and score. Dillon, Jamie Benn and Robidas gave up massive turnovers in the first period alone that led to big scoring chances for Buffalo. The second period didn’t necessarily provide more turnovers, but they were definitely more costly.
Buffalo goal #2
Buffalo goal #3
Lines seen tonight:
PP- Seguin-Benn-Chiasson-Goligoski- Whitney
PP- Nichushkin-Peverley-Cole-Jordie Benn-Gonchar
PK- Fiddler-Roussel-Dillon-Robidas (Eakin in the box)
PK- Horcoff- Fiddler-Daley-Jordie Benn (Fiddler unable to change)
PK- Fiddler-Roussel-Goligoski-Robidas (Dillon in the box)
PK- Eakin-Chiasson-Daley-Jordie Benn (Dillon in the box)
PK- Horcoff-Peverley-Goligoski- Robidas (Dillon, Roussel and Fiddler in the box)