Game Review – 1/19/09 (DAL at TBL)

by Chelsea

We’re Calling You Out, Mr. Turco:

On one end of the ice, a young goaltender who has at least four bad giveaways, chucks the puck up the ice instead of passing it, and faced six PKs.

On the other end of the ice, a grizzled veteran goalie who had an alright night handling the puck, and only faced 2 PKs.

Bet you can’t guess which one was the one to have a dumb puck-get moment and surrender a goal, or to have his five-hole thoroughly ravaged. 

One team held the other to only 20 shots against and was disciplined in only taking two penalties.

The other team was subjected to 25 shots and took six penalties. 

Bet you can’t guess which goalie let in 3 goals (on 19 shots – there was one SOG/Goal on an empty net) and which only let in two.

Bet you can’t guess which goalie locked it down after five minutes into the second period and which one let in three goals in the last ten minutes of play.

Confused yet? Surely, Turco came out on top, besting his old backup goalie with his superior puckhandling and puckstopping abilites. Surely! 

Oh, boo. Taking nothing away from the Stars’ rancid special teams (6 PPs – 1 TBL goal and 1 DAL goal. 2 PKS – 1 TBL goal), but everybody already knows the facts about that. Stars suck on the road, Stars can’t score on the road, Stars PP on the road is the worst in the league. We got it, nobody’s denying anything.

But how about that starter goalie? We’ve blamed bad defense, lack of teamwork, lack of consistency, even lack of a strong back-up goaltender. Then when the Stars win, we generally praise Turco and ramble on about how it looks like he’s finally returned to form.

Sometimes, it seems like he has. Sometimes, he makes crazy saves. We call that “bad with flashes of great”, though, not “great with flashes of bad”. 

The fact is, his sv% right now is .916 in wins. Last year, that number was .939, and actually has never been as bad as it is currently. Compared to the top goaltenders right now, that’s a dismal number. Tim Thomas averages a .914 in losses. Steve Mason is .950 in wins and .904 in losses. Turco, in losses, is a questionable .879.

 

 

But the bad defense!

That bad defense you reference is certainly not on par with Detroit or San Jose, but it stands beside them for Shots Against/Game. Actually, the Stars have the third best SA/G in the entire league. I suppose you could argue that Dallas doesn’t let in many shots, but the majority are quality scoring chances – but that’s a pretty daring assumption. Another fun fact: the Stars have allowed less than 20 SA in 8 separate occasions, and 3 of those were in October. One of them was this game.

Turco has only had 16 games with a sv% over .900 this season. Only 14 with a GAA at 2.o0 or under. Looking into it further, you see that out of those 16 games, the team allowed between 25-30 shots against in 7 of them. That seems to be his magic number; few enough so that he doesn’t let in 6 goals, but plenty enough so that each goal doesn’t do too much damage to his sv%.

Sharks goalie Evgeni Nabokov, member of the 2nd best team in the league for GA/G, has a season sv% of .907. Games in which he reached the .900 mark range from 11 SA to 36. Does the “magic number” apply to all goalies? It doesn’t appear to.

Enough about stats, though. How about the fact that Turco and the team no longer seem to trust each other?

In each game, the team looks a little more desperate. They scramble into the crease to “help out” Turco at every chance, or they put themselves out of position in an attempt to block a shot Turco should be able to save (and end up screening him in the process). When they start losing, they fall apart, because they’re all trying to do everything and cohesiveness is lost.

Conversely, Turco can be seen scurrying behind his net at every opportunity. This includes (but is not excluded to) times when: there are at least 2 Stars within reach of the puck, a Star nearly has the puck, a Star is intending to circle around and claim the puck, and when there are none of the opposition but all of his team around to retrieve it.

Take, for instance, the Stamkos goal. Turco tries to lean around his net to poke the puck away from a Lightning player who is being pressured by a Star. He gets his stick tangled in their skates, loses it, looks to retrieve it, the puck gets centered and he scrambles to get into position, but far too late. 

How about how tired he looks?

He’s given up 9 goals in the third period, just in the last five games.

He’s given up 4 third period goals in the five games before that.

In the five games before that, he gave up 6 in the third.

That’s 19 third period goals in the 15 games since Stephan had his last start. And it appears to be getting worse. Tippett is trusting that the ASG break will give him a chance to rest, but it’s expecting a lot for him to go another 40 games after that without one. He’s only human. 

Assuming we reach the playoffs, I can almost guaranteed that Turco will be too worn out to power the team past the first round. Maybe that’s just the problem; the playoff run in the spring has worn him out, and he needs someone to share duties with. Osgood and Fleury, who met up in the Stanley Cup Finals, are both struggling to find their form as well.

Either way, Turco needs to acknowledge his limitations and do something about it. Even if that means asking to sit and let Stephan play. Risking a handful of games seems smarter than risking your star goaltender in the long run.

Notes:

  • The three game stars, in order: Lecavalier, Richards, Eminger
  • The game was the first meeting between the Lightning and the Stars since the blockbuster deadline trade last year that saw Brad Richards and Johan Holmqvist to Dallas and Jeff Halpern, Jussi Jokinen, and Mike Smith to Tampa Bay.
  • Dallas gave up its first SH goal of the season, to Vincent Lecavalier, in the first period.
  • Loui Eriksson’s goal was his first in five games and second in the last eight.
  • Conclusion: We actually don’t blame Marty Turco entirely, but the Stars would be much better prepared to deal with their other issues if he could lead the charge by locking it down. Hopefully the players-only meeting following this loss produced some solutions.

SHR +/-:

Stephane Robidas: two for the assist, one for leading in blocked shots and one for covering Lecavalier like the All-Star he is; +4
Matt Niskanen: minus-one for the untimely penalty; -1
Trevor Daley: one for being the only Star to end in the positive for +/-: +1
Mike Modano: two for the assist, one for winning 88% of his faceoffs, but minus-two for all the turnovers on PP; +1
James Neal: one for leading in hits; +1
Loui Eriksson: three for the goal and one for persistence; +4
Jere Lehtinen: one for tying for the team lead in shots on goal; +1
Marty Turco: see first part of post; -1
Mark Parrish: two for the assist; +2
Brad Richards: three for the goal, two for the assist, one for tying for the team lead in shots on goal, but minus-two for being unable to win a PP faceoff; +4

 


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4 Responses to “Game Review – 1/19/09 (DAL at TBL)”

  1. Wow, incredibly well said, Chels!

    I think we desparately need a tandem goalie to take some of the load off Turco. I just don’t think he has the mental/physical stamina to play all the time. If they aren’t willing to play Tobias more then they need to bring in someone else. There are some starting to be available.

  2. Thanks! 🙂

    I agree. I’d hate to see Stephan go, but he’s not doing anything but taking up bench space right now. I really thought/was hoping they’d go after Sanford when he was on waivers.

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