Sunday, April 28, 2013

Dallas Stars Game 48: The Good and the Bad

Getty Images

Dallas Stars 3-0 loss to the Detroit Red Wings
Shots: Dallas 17, Detroit 37
PP: Dallas 0/3, Detroit 0/4

The Good:

Penalty kill- The Stars PK was perfect. They ended the night 4-for-4 and not just that, but they really did keep the Stars in the game. They killed the high-sticking double-minor to Garbutt in one of the better kills I’ve seen all season. Throughout the night, they didn’t give the Wings much room or time to set up, they took away passing and shooting lanes effectively and were monsters at clearing the puck. It also helps to have Bachman play great as well.

Richard Bachman- Bachman stopped 34 of 37 shots and did well to keep the Stars in the game. He helped keep it a one-goal game through 40 minutes and was strong on the PK. He isn’t fully to blame for Detroit’s three goals. The first bounced off Goligoski’s skate right in front of him. The second was a backup goalie versus world-class Zetterberg. And on the third, he was screened by Abdelkader and Robidas as they battled at the top of the crease. Overall, I think he did well and has really turned his game around from the first half of the season. 

The Bad:

Handling Datsyuk and Zetterberg- All three goals were scored with Detriot’s top line on the ice (on the short-handed goal, Datsyuk and Zetterberg were on the PK together). Dillon did well fighting off Zetterberg on the first goal. It was just a bad break to hit off Goligoski’s skate and go between Bachman’s legs. On the second goal, Datysuk brilliantly got to a missed shot first, made a between two Stars to spring Zetterberg on a breakaway.  On the third goal, Zetterberg won a battle on the boards and got the puck to Datsyuk. Datsyuk drew defenders and passed to a wide open Ericsson for the goal. The Stars just couldn’t do anything against this high-powered duo.

Detroit goal #1- Zetterberg attempts a move in on the goal, but Dillon pushes him away and forces him to the  side. They battle behind the red line, but Zetterberg still managed to send a centering feed to Abdelkader in the slot. The puck instead bounces off Goligoski's left skate and goes between Bachman's legs. 

A closer shot of Goligoski's skate right after the puck slid between Bachman's legs. 

Detroit goal #3- Zetterberg wins a puck battle with Rome and Benn along the boards and kicks the puck forward to Datsyuk.... (next picture) 

Datsyuk makes a move inside, draws attention and dishes the puck to a wide open Ericsson between the top of the circles.... (next picture)

Ericsson rifles a wrist shot on net with Abdelkader screening Bachman. Bachman looks to his right, but the puck goes in to his left. 

Power play- The Stars ended 0-for-3 and again fell victim to the same problems they have been having. They moved the puck decently, got some good looks, but just couldn’t put it in the net. Actually, the Stars suffered from too many shots on the power play that didn’t even hit the net. And they gave up the short-handed goal where the Stars were simply too slow to handle the play.

Detroit goal #2- As mentioned above, Datsyuk was first to jump on a loose puck, and he made a pass between Whitney and Jordie Benn to spring Zetterberg on a breakaway. 

Zetterberg made a move to his right and tucked in a backhander between Bachman's legs. 

Dumb penalties- Too many men penalty in final two minutes of the game? Cole interference penalty 26 seconds into a crucial power play midway through the second period? Garbutt’s slash in the third? Come on. These were mindless penalties in a “play for pride and show you got heart” type of game. The Stars were fortunate the PK was outstanding and bailed them out, but again, same as it’s been all year: you cannot constantly take dumb penalties at critical points or crucial games and hope the PK bails you out.

Turnovers in own zone- Not going to add anything new here, it’s been the same problem all season. Nothing new. 

Severely outshot- It’s pretty self-explanatory. If you get outshot 37-17, you’re not going to have much of a chance to win. Let alone a game against Detroit. Let alone against a desperate Detroit team fighting to make the playoffs. Just not going to win that way. 

Lines seen tonight:

Jo. Benn-Larsen

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

Notable Notes:

  • Faceoffs- Benn won 9 of 11, Fiddler won 9 of 15, Eakin won 6 of 13, Wandell won 2 of 11. 
One of the best hits of the game. Fiddler lays out Quincey as the buzzer sounds to end the second period. 

Roussel had a tremendous short-handed breakaway chance....

...but the puck was rolling on edge and he wasn't able to lift the puck past a stretched out Howard. 

Maybe it's just me, but there were way too many Detroit fans in the stands. Seemed almost like a home game for the Red Wings. 

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Dallas' Season Ends With a Thud. Dallas Stars Game 48: 3-0 Loss to the Detroit Red Wings

Getty Images

The Dallas Stars ended their season with a five-game losing streak after a 3-0 loss to the Detroit Red Wings in the final game of the regular season.

Dallas had already been ruled out of the playoff hunt, but the Starswere playing for pride and a chance to end Detroit's consecutive playoff streak at 21 seasons. The Stars' season is officially over, and they head home before the playoffs for the fifth straight season.

Richard Bachman made 34 saves on 37 shots, but he received little help at the other end of the rink. Dallas was 4-for-4 on the penalty kill but 0-for-3 on the power play.

Detroit captain Henrik Zetterberg scored the game's first goal with 1:43 remaining in the first period. He attempted a move on net in the slot, but Brenden Dillon fought him off and kept him to the outside. They battled behind the red line, but Zetterberg still managed a centering feed intended for Justin Abdelkader. The puck instead bounced off Alex Goligoski's left skate and slid between Bachman's legs.

The game remained 1-0 until Zetterberg scored a short-handed goal on a breakaway 1:57 into the third period. A shot by Ray Whitney sailed wide and Datsyuk was the first to the puck along the right wing boards. He passed the puck between two Dallas players to spring Zetterberg on a breakaway. Zetterberg made a move to his right and tucked in a soft backhand shot between Bachman's legs.

Zetterberg and Datsyuk put Detroit on the board a third and final time 6:30 into the third period. Zetterberg battled Jamie Benn and Aaron Rome along the boards and kicked the puck ahead to Datsyuk. Datsyuk made a move to the middle of the zone and drew the attention of several Dallas players before he passed to a wide open Jonathan Ericsson between the top of the circles. Ericsson rifled in a wrist shot with Abdelkader  providing a screen on Bachman. Bachman was looking to his right as the puck went in to his left.

Dallas ends the season 22-22-4 for 48 points, placing them 11th in the Western Conference and 21st in the league. The Stars now begin the off-season and prepare for the upcoming NHL Draft in Newark, New Jersey on June 30.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Dallas Stars Game 47: The Good and the Bad

Getty Images

Dallas Stars 3-1 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets
Shots: Dallas 32, Columbus 35
PP: Dallas 1/3, Columbus 2/4

The Good:

Variety of shots on Bob- Bobrovsky is very good at getting his body in front of the puck and swallowing rebounds. He’ll take the puck in the gut or chest and squeeze it. The Stars didn’t get too much traffic in front of the net, but they did well peppering him with a variety of shots. Several times, Stars players could be seen withholding a shot to look for a pass to get Bobrovsky moving a little in hopes it would get him out of position. They didn’t cause the deflection on the first goal, but you could see the puck changing directions in front with two guys driving the net led to the goal. 

Dallas goal #1- Cole sent a centering feed to Eriksson in the slot. The puck hits off Atkinson's stick and goes wide of the net, but right to where Benn can tap it in behind Bobrovsky.

Whitney had a chance in tight that sailed high.

Cole made a great move to get between Columbus defenders and get a clear chance on net, but Bobrovsky came up big. 

Fiddler received a pass in front of the net and had a great opportunity to score, but Bobrovsky's elbow got enough for the save.

The Bad:

Forwards back-checking- Dallas’ forwards were much better after the trade deadline at coming back on defense and helping eliminate scoring chances. This game… not so much. After being used to seeing Eakin, Fiddler and others skating behind the Stars’ net to collect a puck or pressure an opponent, we didn’t see much of that tonight. The Stars defenders for the most part seemed to be on their own, especially through 40 minutes. Forwards needed to drop back quicker and more often.

Losing their coverage- Both of Atkinson’s goals were a result of him being left alone to the side of the net to put in a rebound. I don’t blame Letestu’s goal on Nystrom not getting to him fast enough. It was a clean faceoff win and Letestu let his hammer shot loose. Nystrom headed right at him. If the puck was an inch lower, Nystrom would’ve blocked it. If the puck was an inch higher, Lehtonen probably would’ve gloved it. The Atkinson goals were just being lost, from Lehtonen to the defense.

After the initial shot from the left wing boards bounced to the slot, Comeau took a shot on net. Lehtonen thought he had the puck covered but it slid to his right. 

Columbus goal #1- Lehtonen thought he had the puck, but it slid to his right and Atkinson got the open goal. 

Columbus goal #3- A shot from Johnson near the blue line was stopped by Lehtonen. He thought he had it, but again it trickled to his right. Again, Atkinson was left alone to the side of the net and scored the final goal of the game. 

Another shot of the final goal. 

Penalty kill- Columbus ended 2-for-4 on the power play and the numbers tell the story here. The Stars did well on the first two. They managed six successful clears and only allowed two shots on goal in the first two PK’s. Columbus scored after four clears and one shot on goal in the third man advantage. The fourth Columbus power play led to a goal right off the opening faceoff.  Considering how strong the PK was recently, Dallas fell back a little tonight.

Columbus goal #2- Off the opening faceoff on a power play, Letestu's shot deflects off Nystrom's stick and goes off the post and into the net.

Lines seen tonight:

Jo. Benn-Larsen

PP- Eriksson-Benn-Whitney-Cole-Robidas (Goligoski and Robidas switched on first unit)
PP- Smith-Eakin-Garbutt-Daley-Goligoski
PK- Nystrom-Fiddler-Daley-Robidas
PK- Eriksson-Eakin-Dillon-Goligoski
PK- Cole-Eakin-Dillon-Goligoski
PK- Fiddler-Nystrom-Jo. Benn-Daley (Robidas in the box)

Notable Notes:
MacDermid got into it with Boll for the second fight of the game.

MacDermid landed a few good punches on Boll and ended up on top. 

Huge hit by Boll on Eakin that made both of them wince on the bench soon after. 

Probably Lehtonen's best save of the game. Gaborik intercepted a Robidas pass at the Columbus blue line. He streaked ahead on a breakaway, but Lehtonen stood strong. 

A solid save by Lehtonen on Umberger in tight in the first period.

A really awkward but good save by Lehtonen. Easily the weirdest save of the night.

Lehtonen didn't see the puck on this save until it was almost literally on his pad. 

Another huge hit by Columbus. 

 Nystrom landed some haymakers in his fight. 

Not sure what was going on here, but thought it was funny. After his fight, the camera caught Nystrom pointing two fingers at his eyes, then someone on the ice, then pointed to the Columbus penalty box. 

Richard Matvichuk was honored for being selected to the 20th Anniversary team.

Opening ceremonial faceoff.


Playoff Hopes End in Loss to Columbus. Dallas Stars Game 47: 3-1 Loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets

Getty Images

The Dallas Stars’ playoff hopes came to an end with a 2-1 loss at home to the Columbus Blue Jackets Thursday night.

Jamie Benn scored his goal 12th goal of the season and Kari Lehtonen made 32 saves, but the Stars couldn’t mount a comeback in time. They have now missed the playoffs for five consecutive seasons.

Columbus jumped on the scoreboard early. Just 19 seconds into the game Brandon Dubinsky skated into the Stars’ zone along the left wing boards. He took a shot on net that bounced high off Lehtonen into the slot. Blake Comeau’s shot was blocked as well, but Lehtonen thought he had the puck. It trickled to his right and Cam Atkinson was alone in position to bury the puck for his seventh goal of the season.

Benn tied the game 8:43 into the second period on the power play when he tapped the puck in off a broken play. Erik Cole made a centering feed for Loui Eriksson that bounced off Atkinson’s stick and toward the Columbus net. Benn was standing to Bobrovsky’s right and scored before the goalie could get in position for the save.

Mark Letestu’s power play goal 7:56 into the third period gave the Blue Jackets a 2-1 lead. He took a slap shot off a faceoff win that deflected off Eric Nystrom’s stick and over Lehtonen.

Atkinson scored his second goal of the game in very similar fashion to his first. Lehtonen thought he had smothered a Jack Johnson slap shot, but it fell to his right. Again, Atkinson was left alone to the right of the net and put the puck in with less than two minutes remaining in the game.

Although Dallas is eliminated from playoff contention, they have a chance to play the role of spoilers and eliminate the Detroit Red Wings Saturday night.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Dallas Stars Game 46: The Good and the Bad

Getty Images

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.