Posts tagged ‘Mark Parrish’

May 9, 2009

Depiction: Remembering 08-09

by Chelsea

Kristine and I took some time to gather a collection of our favorite pictures from what is otherwise a fairly forgetful season. As the second round of the playoffs gets do-or-die (go Caps! go Canes!), we’re going to take a moment to celebrate all the Stars’ good times that got buried beneath the shame of the season’s less-than-desirable end.

______________________________________________________________________________

Opening Night vs Columbus.

You can’t help but smile at Brunnstrom’s “omgIscoredcomehugme” reaction to his NHL debut hat trick.

We started calling Grossman “Saint Nick” after seeing this picture of him and his workshop elves. Months later, it’s still a favorite.

Fistric catches up with Mittens.

While everyone was busy questioning Modano’s ability to play, he was busy proving that he could still fly.

Nobody liked seeing the Morrow-Ribeiro line broken up, so it was no surprise that their reunion brought many happy moments.

Stephan replaced Turco in a 0-5 loss to the Devils. We really wish this had happened more often at this point of the season.

He did have one good save, though.

When Zubov returned from injury on 11/7, we all celebrated. When he went out again on 11/28, it was a little heartbreaking. The 11/7 game against the Ducks was also Mark Parrish’s debut with the the Stars, in which he scored a hat trick.

Okay, so Morrow going out on 11/20 isn’t even close to a happy moment, but you can’t really look back on the season without pausing to sigh and say, “If only Morrow hadn’t gotten hurt…”

Ribs keepin’ us all entertained.

These two really should have played together more often. They both had their struggles, but they definitely make us excited for the Stars’ future.

Yes, this is a good moment. Did any of you reallllly want him in Dallas for four years?

Loui’s first NHL hat trick, against Columbus. We predict many, many more to come.

Neal’s first career hat trick, in Toronto.

Parrish says goodbye to 2008 with a nice goal, making thousands of drunk Texans really happy.

Tipp rewards Neal for a strong game by giving him his first NHL shootout attempt. He scores (awesomely) and wins the game. Everyone wows and suddenly the Stars have a new shootout specialist. By the end of the season, he’d scored on 5/7 attempts.

Go nuts? Okay!

The 2009 ASG…
…a great excuse to sit around all weekend,
watching favorite players show the rest of the league…
…that they’re just ridiculously awesome.

Not a good moment, but definitely a memorable picture.

They were discussing Valentine’s Day gifts, I’m sure.

Can’t help but wonder if Sydor looked at them and saw Lehtinen and Modano.

Swedes!

Those familiar happy feelings that come with scoring on the Sharks.

Grossman doesn’t score often, but when he does, leaping hugs will follow.

They’re like Power Rangers.

He only played a few games at the end of the season, but by the time he’d finished his first shift he’d impressed us. That cannon shot from the point never failed to amaze.

And finally…
Lehtinen warms up for the last home game of the season.

After the game, Stars waited to give their jerseys to fans.

March 19, 2009

Game Review – 3/17/09 (DAL at VAN) and 3/18/09 (DAL at CGY)

by Kristine

Games:

I’m going to try to keep this simple. We lost both these games, and there’s been a lot of talk about why that is. The blame game can be played in many ways here. You could start back at the beginning, and blame Hull for signing Avery. You could also blame Avery for being Avery and not fitting in. You could blame Turco for his world of suck earlier in the season. You could blame Tippett for not keeping lines together. You could blame Jackson for not upgrading our blue line at the trade deadline. If you really wanted to, you could put some blame on Fabian Brunnstrom for not being willing to spend a year in the minors. You could put a bit of blame on Matt Niskanen for being young and not as solid defensively as he could be. Actually if you’re going to go that far, you could probably find some blame to put on just about every single player on the ice and most of the office to boot.

Here’s the thing. It’s just not that simple. You can’t boil it down to “the season sucked because of this player or that person.” It’s been a huge combination of things. Did Avery’s signing contribute to the problems? Yes, I think that’s been made clear. Did Turco’s bad season hurt? Obviously it did. Beyond that, Tippett has done the best he can with the one thing that’s made the biggest impact: injuries.

Look at this list of players who are currently injured: Brenden Morrow, Sergei Zubov, Mike Modano, Brad Richards, Steve Begin, Brian Sutherby, Toby Petersen. Four huge names, two important grit guys, and Petersen. Going back in time, add to that list players who have spent (relatively) significant amounts of time injured: Jere Lehtinen, Steve Ott, Stephane Robidas, Fabian Brunnstrom, Landon Wilson, Joel Lundqvist, Mark Parrish. Another impressive list. In fact, it would almost be easier to name the players who have been healthy this season. Off the top of my head? Mike Ribeiro, Loui Eriksson, James Neal, Krys Barch, and our young D. Oh, and Sydor and Morrison. Chris Conner has been healthy, but he would be in the AHL if we weren’t so short on bodies. Same with Hutchinson as he’s been scratched for ages now. Is it any wonder we’ve been losing? Ribs and Loui are fantastic but as we’ve seen lately, they can’t be expected to carry the entire team for the rest of the season.

Because we’ve been battling the Injury Gods all season, the pressure has been on Tippett to keep the playoff dream alive. His solution has been to play intense, playoff-level hockey since about the end of December, and we’re starting to see the result of that. The Stars are exhausted. The past few weeks have been proof of that. Sure, we’ve won the odd game here and there and yes, players are still having great nights here and there. But overall, they look worn out and beaten down. I don’t blame them one bit. I will admit that I do somewhat blame Tippett for pushing them until they have nothing left to give, although I do understand why he did it. He was doing his best to keep his team running, and for a while it worked. The Stars went on that great run in January and early February, but within a few weeks were back to losing. Richards breaking his wrist seemed to be the metaphorical nail in the tire and they’ve been deflating ever since.

There are eleven games left in this season. If the Stars make the playoffs, that’s another at least four games. Can they continue to play at the level they’ve been playing at for that long? I don’t believe they can. Mike Ribeiro and Stephane Robidas are playing nearly 30 minutes a night, and it shows. Mike Modano is out with a lower body injury after the Vancouver game, and I’m sure his injury is made worse by the total fatigue his body must be experiencing. Same with Sutherby leaving last night’s game. How much longer until Robi, Ribs, and Loui push themselves too far and wind up on our laundry list of injured players? We can offer sacrifices and prayers to the Injury Gods all we want, but I don’t think it would surprise anyone to see them hurt.

The Stars are in 10th in the West now. At this point, take the pressure off. Stop playing the high level of hockey, let the young guys take bigger minutes and rest the top line guys, and see what happens. I would think the health of the team would more important than making the playoffs, especially if you’re making them with a roster that reads like an AHL team’s anyway.

SHR +/-:

DAL at VAN (3/1709)
Stephane Robidas: two for the assist and one pity point for playing almost half the game with an exhausting 27:35; +2
Matt Niskanen: one for leading in SOG and one for a very solid game; +2
Mike Modano: two for the assist but minus one for the team-high four giveaways; +1
James Neal: three for the goal, one for the two huge takeaways in the first and one for having a very good game overall; +5
Chris Conner: two for the assist and one for being willing to hit when nobody else is; +3
Jere Lehtinen: one yay you’re back point and one for making magic with anyone and everyone; +2
Mark Fistric: one for playing a very physical game; +1
Steve Ott: three for the goal, one for leading in hits with five and one for drawing penalties left and right even if nobody could capitalize on the PP; +5
Marty Turco: one for making some huge saves at critical times; +1
Steve Begin: one for winning a team-best 40% of his faceoffs and two pity points for that huge hit he took; +3
Darryl Sydor: one for the solid game; +1
Mike Ribeiro: two for the assist, one for playing almost half the game with 27:19, and one pity point for how exhausted he must be; +3

DAL at CGY (3/18/09)
Nicklas Grossman: one for doing the most banging in corners with four hits; +1
Stephane Robidas: two for the assist and one for tying for most SOG with three; +3
Matt Niskanen: one for tying for most SOG with three and one for being strong on the PK; +2
Trevor Daley: one for leading in TOI with 24:47, one for tying for most SOG with three, and one for thinking quickly enough to give Turco his stick and take Ott’s for himself; +3
Brendan Morrison: three for the goal, but minus one for leading the team with three giveaways and minus-one for winning only 27% of his faceoffs; +1
Krys Barch: one because I’d rather have him in the lineup than certain others; +1
James Neal: minus-one for coming off a great game and doing absolutely nothing; -1
Brian Sutherby: one for winning 50% of his faceoffs when nobody else could win any and one “please don’t be hurt” point; +2
Loui Eriksson: two for the assist and one for tying for most blocked shots with four; +3
Mark Fistric: one for being the only D to end in the positive and one for upending Olli Jokinen in front of the net; +2
Steve Ott: one for the fight, one for not losing it, but minus-one for picking it to begin with; +1
Marty Turco: one for not sucking; +1
Darryl Sydor: one for tying for most blocked shots with four; +1

March 12, 2009

Game Review – 3/10/09 (DAL at STL)

by Chelsea

Game:

Also known as “Another Crucial Game, Another Heartbreaking Loss” or “What Happens When a Team Reaches a New Level of Mental Exhaustion.”

As a fan, I won’t declare this season over until they name the 3 stars of game #82. However, seeing the team play like they think the season is over is getting old, fast.

Now without Brunnstrom as well, the already-depleted team was heading back on the road after a rough loss to the Canadiens on home ice. It was the kind of game that the Stars needed to see a leader step up and steal the win for. 

Unfortunately, that leader was not Turco, who picked a very poor time to have a prolonged brain fart. He let in three goals on the Blues’ first eight shots, putting the Stars in a 3-0 hole only twelve minutes into the first period. 

After the third goal, Krys Barch and Cam Janssen dropped the gloves off the following faceoff, going at it for nearly two full minutes. Barch’s helmet probably did more damage than his fists, as Janssen left the fight with some badly bloodied knuckles.

The dust settled to find Turco not in net, but replacing Tobias Stephan on the bench. It was the first time all season that Stephan was put into the game before it was completely lost. 

Stephan played the game with what seems to be a bit of a trademark. He let in a couple of goals, despite having made some sharp saves throughout, then locked it down for the rest of the game. He played well, so it’s unfortunate that the team in front of him did not.

While two Stars, James Neal and Mike Ribeiro, managed to score a goal each against goalie Chris Mason, it wouldn’t be enough. The Blues persevered and regained their three-goal lead each time Dallas scored. Still, even if Stephan had played perfectly, it wouldn’t have been enough as the Stars lost 5-2.

Though Loui Erikssons point streak ended, Ribeiro managed to extend his to five games. In those five games, he’s amassed five goals and six assists. 

Mark Parrish, who was toppled early in the game after receiving an open-ice hit from Jay McKee, left the game and did not return. He joins Morrow, Zubov, Richards, Petersen, Lehtinen, Brunnstrom, and Sawada on the “man we need them healthy” list. 

For all the times that “the injuries are rough, but they’re no excuse” has been said, there’s no denying after a game like this that all the key injuries have taken the Stars down a rough road. Ribeiro and his line are worn thin from being the last remaining offensive threat, Robidas is starting to struggle under the large load he’s been carrying as #1 defenseman and special teams core piece. Modano looks physically and mentally exhausted. The rest of the team looks like it may not be able to handle much more of Tippett’s “four months of playoff mode” hockey. 

When Marty Turco is saying in interviews that nobody is enjoying anything anymore, maybe it’s time to relax before the entire team drops of fatigue. 

SHR +/-:

Stephane Robidas: one for leading the team with six hits; +1
Trevor Daley: two for the assist; +2
Mike Modano: two for the assist; +2
Brendan Morrison: one for being one of only two people to end up in the positive; +1
Krys Barch: one for the fight and one for winning it; +2
James Neal: three for the goal; +3
Brian Sutherby: minus-three for the suicide pass but one for feeling so bad about it; -2
Chris Conner: minus-two for being a -6 in his last three games; -2
Steve Ott: one for being one of only two people to end up in the positive; +1
Tobias Stephan: two for making more and better saves than Turco; +2
Marty Turco: minus-two for getting bested by a backup that never plays; -2
Mike Ribeiro: three for the goal; +3

January 31, 2009

Game Review – 1/29/09 (DAL at DET)

by Chelsea

Game:

So… I was initially working on a picture to put up with the review, but it’s taking much longer than expected and now I’m behind on the review again. Sorrys.

Dallas Stars took on the Detroit Red Wings for the fourth and final time of this season. So far, the series was tipped in the Stars favor (2-1-0), with the only loss coming in a 6-1 shaming at the Joe Louis Arena.

Marty Turco, in fact, had never won a game at the Joe in the regular season. It seemed like he was a little overdue for that win.

Coming off a shut out win against the Atlanta Thrashers, the Stars seemed confident and prepared to take on the defending Cup champions.

After getting horribly outplayed during their last visit to Detroit, it was great to see the Stars keep pace with the Wings during the first ten minutes of play. Dallas broke ahead early when Kris Draper took a holding penalty at 9:57, leading to the first of a number of productive Stars power plays.

Less than thirty seconds into the man-advantage, at 10:15, Steve Ott netted his seventh goal of the season and second in two games with a skillful deflection of Brad Richards’ shot from the blue line. Mike Ribeiro, responsible for setting Richards up for the shot, got the second assist.

Less than a minute after, there was a careless collision in open ice, and this happened:

That’s Chris Chelios hi sticking Krys Barch, which resulted in this:

Despite having a mouthguard in, Barch had 8 of his teeth (three top, five bottom) shattered by the hit. Though he returned to the game after getting patched up, he still had to stay in Detroit afterwards to go to the dentist and get (according to Razor) five root canals done before rejoining the team in Columbus.

The situation is slightly reminiscent to taking drivers licenses away from the elderly; Chris Chelios apparently is not able to control his own limbs anymore, so someone should consider taking his hockey stick away. If they can do so without losing half a dozen teeth.

The double minor Chelios got put the Stars on another power play at 10:50 in the first. At 11:32, they scored again, putting the league’s worst road PP 2-for-2 against the league’s best home PK.

This one was also orchestrated by Richards, who collected a pass from Ott and patiently drew the attention of Detroit goalie Chris Osgood before sending a slick pass to Jere Lehtinen. Lehtinen, who had snuck up behind the defense deep in the slot, had an open net and didn’t hesitate to put the puck in it.

The second half of the double minor expired without incident, Osgood managing to shut down another chance by Ott to hold it at 2-0.

With both the Richards and Ribeiro lines producing, Mike Modano’s line had been comparatively quiet. RW Mark Parrish was still out with the flu, replaced by Chris Conner who, despite some speedy effort, had yet to produce.

He got his golden opportunity from Modano when an icing call sent play back to Detroit’s zone with 1:30 in the period. Modano won the faceoff and scrambled to get the puck to Conner. Conner shot it immediately, surprising Osgood and earning himself his first goal of the season.

A bit of a scrum at the end of the period resulted in Matt Niskanen and Tomas Holmstrom getting a minor penalty each, for interference and hi sticking.

The first period ended with a very surprising score of 3-0 Stars. The three goals came on only 12 shots, leading to Chris Osgood getting pulled in favor of Ty Conklin for the start of the second.

Penalty troubles continued for the Red Wings only 00:25 into the second period, with Marian Hossa called for tripping Trevor Daley. This time, it seemed like Conklin would be able to hold off the Stars where Osgood could not. However, he too was solved by Dallas as they applied continual pressure during their power play.

Having managed only two goals in January, Loui Eriksson’s frustration had become increasingly apparent over the last few games, but it was patience that produced for him in the end. Fed the puck by James Neal, Eriksson appeared prepared to fire it at Conklin, who came out to the edge of his crease to meet him. Instead of shooting, though, Eriksson pulled right past him and slipped the puck in the abandoned net. The goal, assisted by Neal and Modano, is Eriksson’s team-leading 23rd this season.


Definitely a goal worth watching.

The struggling Wings, now down 4-0 to the Stars and only 1-for-4 on the PK, didn’t manage to get themselves in the game until they drew a penalty of their own.

Conner was whistled for hooking at 3:31 in the second, giving the Wings a chance that they wouldn’t spoil. Even on an off day, they’re a team with too much talent to be held off the scoreboard for long.

Turco started the PK with a string of spectacular saves, including the rarely-seen and highly-entertaining scissor kick stop.

It was a fast shot and a sneaky tip-in that put the puck past Turco, Hossa getting enough of his stick on Brian Rafalski’s shot to get it in the net. Pavel Datsyuk got the second assist.

At 5:34, Nicklas Grossman was assessed a minor penalty for cross checking. During the stop in play, Barch and Downey did their best to drop the gloves, but were separated by the officials and handed matching roughing minors.

Detroit thought they’d cut the Stars’ lead in half at 10:42 when Dan Cleary’s shot popped up off Turco and over and appeared to go into the net. During the scramble, Darryl Sydor seemed to have both hit the puck into the net before knocking said net off its moorings. It became apparent after further review, though, what everyone thought was the puck was actually someone’s stick blade; Sydor’s slap at the puck sent it into Turco’s glove, and he was able to grab it before it crossed the line.


For some reason, Sydor got two minutes for delay of game for having taken the net with him as he stumbled forward.

The Wings did not score on their power play, and play continued 4-1 Stars.

They did manage to score eventually, though. This time it was Andreas Lilja with a slap shot at 15:11 in the second. It was assisted by Valtteri Filppula and Niklas Kronwall.

Dallas got another scare late in the third, when the Red Wings scored again on a power play (thanks to a goaltender interference call on Ott) to narrow the lead to a very reachable 4-3. However, Marty Turco was being slightly squished by Holmstrom at the time of the goal, as he’d gotten bumped by Daley and the pair fell backwards onto Turco. The goal was disallowed due to incidental goalie interference.

Turco and Holmstrom had been battling through most of the game, with the netminder delivering purposefully-placed blows to the legs whenever Holmstrom intruded into his crease. None of these were called as penalties, and when Holmstrom’s intrusions went too far and led to the called-off goal, Detroit fans were livid at the apparent double-standard. Really though, it didn’t matter if the contact had been intentional, as Turco was still unable to move through his crease or make a save.

The period ended 4-2 Stars. After the first period’s 22-shot game (12 SOG for Dallas vs 10 for Detroit), both teams’ defenses started to lock in down in the second. Detroit outshot Dallas 10-8 for the period.

Third period started.

Ten minutes in, there was some concern for Johan Franzen after he took an accidental hit to the head from James Neal. Neal, who had been coming in for a hit on Lidstrom, missed his check and got Franzen instead. Franzen didn’t appear to have been paying attention, following his teammate along the boards with his head down. He wasn’t injured by the collision, and play continued.

Ott got yet another penalty halfway shortly after as the play got more physical, jeopardizing what had been a so-far successfully defended lead. It was a pretty questionable cross checking call after Ott collided with Datsyuk and delivered a little extra bump as he stood back up.

The Red Wings had some trouble on their power play, as they missed the only three shots during those two minutes.

With two minutes left in the game, Holmstrom took a minor penalty for closing his hand on the puck, then made it a double with an unsportsmanlike conduct when he argued with the official.

Conklin retreated to the bench with roughly 1:20 to go, and the extra Detroit attacker put the game at even strength again. Neither team scored, and the game ended 4-2 Stars.

The third period was basically a contest of which team could out-Wings the other. Despite power plays for both teams, only 7 shots on goal were recorded in the impressively-performed period.

Notes:

  • The three game stars, in order: Richards, Ott, Lilja
  • Our three game stars, in order: Ott, Richards, Modano
  • Turco made 22 saves on 24 shots, good for a .917%.
  • In the last three games, Turco has let in only 3 goals on 77 shots and recorded 1 shut out. For the first time this season, his GAA is under 3.00 (2.98).
  • Over those three games, Ott has scored 2 goals and recorded 3 assists for a 5-point streak.
  • The win meant that the Stars won their last three (all in regulation) – the first time this season that they’ve gotten three wins in a row.
  • In the last five games, the Ott-Ribeiro-Lehtinen line has been on fire, recording 9 goals and 9 assists for 18 points, with a combined +/- of +10. The Stars won four of those five games.
  • Conclusion: With Ribeiro’s line finding impressive chemistry and Richards finding his place on the power play again, their display of fine offensive skill is only highlighted by Turco’s return to form. If they can keep this going, good things will happen.

SHR +/-:

Nicklas Grossman: one for good defense; +1
Stephane Robidas: one for good defense; +1
Matt Niskanen: one for good defense; +1
Trevor Daley:
one for good defense; +1
Mike Modano: two for each assist; +4
Krys Barch: one for omgyou’rebleeding, two sympathy points, and two style points for returning to the game with the same hard-hitting fight-you attitude; +5
Toby Petersen: minus-one for spending 9 minutes doing absolutely nothing; -1
James Neal: two for the assist; +2
Loui Eriksson: three for the goal and one for style; +4
Chris Conner: three for the goal and one for finally showing hand speed to match his feet speed; +4
Jere Lehtinen: three for the goal and one because he’s Lehtinen and we love him; +4
Andrew Hutchinson: one for good defense; +1
Steve Ott: three for the goal, two for the assist, and one for leading in hits with five again; +6
Marty Turco: three for a good game and one for finally winning at the Joe; +4
Darryl Sydor: one for good defense and two for pretty much saving a goal; +3
Mike Ribeiro: two for the assist; +2
Brad Richards: two for each assist and one for PP style; +5
Fabian Brunnstrom: one for his fancy highlight moves in the short time he played with the Moose before the flu took him out for the rest of his time in Manitoba; +1

January 29, 2009

Game Review – 1/27/09 (DAL vs ATL)

by Chelsea

Game:

The Atlanta Thrashers came to town in for the first time in a number of years, and were greeted by a very sparse crowd. Thanks to some especially icy weather, most Stars fans were confined to their couches and TVs. 

With both teams fully rested after the All-Star break, it seemed like both would give a good show, despite what the standings implied. 

Stephane Robidas returned from his weekend stint in Montreal sans face cage, mentioning that the probably-permanent metal plate in his jaw made it stronger than it had been before. 

Besides Brenden Morrow and Sergei Zubov, the only still-injured Stars are Fabian Brunnstrom, Landon Wilson, and Steve Ott. Brunnstrom was recently assigned to the Manitoba Moose for a few days, after which he’ll be returning to the Stars’ lineup finally. Wilson’s still nursing a rib injury and there’s been no timetable set for his return. Ott, of course, has been playing, but as far as we’ve heard as not been cleared to fight with his still-healing hand. 

Mark Parrish was scratched for Chris Conner, apparently because he’s coming down with the flu. Get well soon, Parrish!

A couple of nice streaks coming into this game that are worth noting: Marty Turco entered the contest with a career record of 5-0-0 against Atlanta, and Thrasher superstar Ilya Kovalchuk had never scored a goal against Dallas in the 7 times he’d faced them. 

The first period started, the teams meeting each other’s shots, hits, and puck battle wins. However, it became clear which team wanted it more when Jere Lehtinen displayed some unexpected creativity in putting the puck behind fellow-Finn and Thrashers netminder Kari Lehtonen. 

Right off the bat, the Ott-Ribeiro-Lehtinen line had the same energy that made them such a force in the Panthers game (Ribeiro with a hat trick, Ott and Lehtinen each with an assist) and it once again paid off. Only 3:48 into the first, Ott stole the puck from a Thrasher and fed it up to Ribeiro, who threw it haphazardly towards Lehtonen. Lehtonen made the save, but the puck bounced up into the chest of Jere Lehtinen and he bumped it down into the net. 

The call on the ice was a goal, and the call stood despite further review. 

There had been some question from us about why the Thrashers have had such a rough season. It seemed to us that they had more than enough talent and an experienced if unproven coach. However, when instead of rallying after the Dallas goal, they followed it with a string of giveaways and penalties, the picture was a little clearer.

When two Thrashers took penalties within 30 seconds of each other, they all but gift-wrapped another goal for the Stars. However, the power play only managed a few shots on goal, and soon it was at even strength again. 

Marty Turco positively robbed Kovalchuk of the game-tying goal at 13:14 after he was left unattended in front of the net, making a sharp and much-appreciated save to hold Dallas’ lead.

Atlanta got their first power play when Krys Barch took a penalty at 15:07 for holding, but nearly surrendered a short-handed goal to Loui Eriksson. 

The first period ended 1-0 Dallas. 

Second period began.

In the first few seconds, the official raised his arm to signify a delayed penalty against the Thrashers. However, the Stars maintained possession as Ribeiro’s line struck yet again.

Ribeiro displayed some stickhandling wizardry to keep the puck away from the Thrashers, helped by Lehtinen, long enough to complete a pass down low to Trevor Daley. As Ott moved in front of the crease and shook off Rich Peverley, Daley slid the puck out in front. Ott buried it in the net at 00:28, negating the penalty before it was ever enforced. 


With the game set at 2-0, it became a good old-fashioned goalie showdown. Lehtonen on one end, fighting to keep the game within reach for his struggling team and Turco on the other, fighting to seal his team’s second consecutive win.

Lehtonen finished the second period by backing his team through two penalty kills, holding them within reach of the Stars two-goal lead. His team didn’t produce much offense, though, testing Turco with only 6 shots.

Second period ended, third period started.

The final period of the game would prove to be a test for both teams. For the Thrashers, the third is typically when they stepped up their game. For the Stars, a game with two strong periods to start usually ended in disappointment. 

Each team took a penalty in the third, but Atlanta finally managed to turn the momentum in their favor. Turco was peppered with more shots (13) in the third period than he’d faced in the entire first and second (12). This was mainly thanks to the heroic netminding of Kari Lehtonen, who blanked the Stars continually. Meanwhile, the rest of the Thrashers looked a little lazy with the puck.

Plenty of Stars fans will remember the game against the Avalanche in which it seemed Turco might get his first shut out of the season in a 1-0 game, only to let in a goal with less than a minute on the clock and put the game all the way to a shootout.

The Thrashers looked to create a similar situation when they pulled their goalie and put the pressure on the Stars. Turco responded by shutting it down and making a number of big in-close saves to claim his first shut out win of the season.

Notes:

  • Three stars of the game, in order: Turco, Ott, Lehtonen
  • Turco made 25 saves on 25 shots. Ott ended with a goal and an assist. Lehtonen made 31 saves on 33 shots.
  • The Stars outshot the Thrashers 33-25. 
  • Ribeiro’s two assists give him seven points in his last four games.
  • Conclusion: After a run that saw every game ended in overtime or a shootout, the Stars have now won their last two in regulation. Turco’s shutout and the team’s ability to stand up consistently in front of him were also a nice change. Can they reach that illusive 3-game win streak against Detroit?

SHR +/-: 

Nicklas Grossman: one for embracing his physical side; +1
Stephane Robidas: one for tying for the team lead in +/- with +2; +1
Trevor Daley: two for the assist and one for tying for the team lead in +/-; +3
Mike Modano: one for leading in takeaways; +1
Toby Petersen: minus-one for returning to his low-impact ways; -1
Jere Lehtinen: three for the goal and one for tying for the team lead in +/-;  +4
Steve Ott: three for the goal, two for the assist, one for leading the team in hits, and one for tying for the team lead in +/-; +7
Marty Turco: three for the shut out and one for winning it; +4
Mike Ribeiro: two for each assist and one for tying for the team lead in +/-; +5

January 20, 2009

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

 


January 17, 2009

SHR +/- Midseason Report

by Kristine

Now that the half-way mark of the season (the Monday game vs Detroit) has passed, and the SHR +/- has been updated to it, I thought it might be interesting to take a look back at some trends and numbers.

Let’s start by looking at where everyone is at the 41 game mark.

Skater +/- Skater +/- Skater +/-
Grossman +37 Eriksson +98 Parrish +27
Robidas +76 Wilson +25 Lundqvist +16
Niskanen +42 Wandell +6 Boucher +31
Daley +52 Conner +14 Janik +8
Modano +76 Lehtinen +21 Crombeen +26
Morrow +57 Hutchinson +6 Sydor +7
Barch +52 Fistric 0 Zubov +18
Avery -42 Ott +49 Ribeiro +94
Petersen +24 Stephan +23 Richards +67
Neal +85 Janik +8 Brunnstrom +53
Sutherby +3 Turco +46

Obviously, some players have been way outshining others. Some big names – Mike Ribeiro, Stephane Robidas, Mike Modano, and Brad Richards – sit at or near the top, like you would expect. The top also holds a few surprises, with Loui Eriksson holding down the top spot and James Neal breaking into the top 5 early and staying there.

While the top ten or so spots in our plus/minus seem to be pretty accurate, the bottom is a little bit harder to judge. It’s kind of cluttered by people who were call-ups or are no longer Stars, like Tom Wandell or BJ Crombeen. It also doesn’t take into account injured players like Jere Lehtinen, Sergei Zubov, and Joel Lunqvist. If you take away those people, and only count players who are currently playing or have played more than ten games with us, the picture becomes a bit more clear. Darryl Sydor has only earned 7 points with us, Doug Janik is at + 8, and Andrew Hutchinson is +6. Toby Peteresen, at +24, has the lowest +/- to games played ratio. These numbers are fairly on par with our actual feelings about the players.

If you divide number of games with a negative +/- update by total games with updates (since not every player earns or loses points in every game), three players come out with 0%: Brenden Morrow, Fabian Brunnstrom, and Crombeen. Morrow and Brunnstrom each had 17 updates, and Crombeen had 10, and none of them earned negative marks in any of them. It should come as no surprise to anyone that Eriksson comes out on top after that, with only 1 of 26 updates in the negative (a -1 on Dec 12 for “struggling offensively and defensively), for 3.8%. The other players to wind up with less than 10% of their updates as negatives are Krys Barch (5%), Robidas (7%), Neal (8%), and Landon Wilson (10%). On the other end of the spectrum, and again no surprise, 56% of Sean Avery’s updates were negative. After him is Marty Turco, with 28% of his 32 updates being negatives. The only other players to end up with 25% or more of their updates being in the negative are Nicklas Grossman (25%) and Sydor (27%).

Loui Eriksson had a hot streak from October 22 to December 2, earning at least one point in sixteen straight games. The only person to come close to that is Ribeiro, with positive points in twelve games from October 18 to November 15. Eriksson has earned more than five points in seven of his 26 updates, and joins Neal, Mark Parrish, Richards, and Brunnstrom as the only players to earn more than 10 points in one game, with each of them earning 11 points once.

However, the record for most points earned in one game goes to Mike Ribeiro, who earned 15 points October 23 against the Islanders. It’s worth noting that while most of the players with 11 points earned them via hat tricks, Ribbons earned his 15 via one goal, a few assists, style, and being awesome with Morrow. The record for most points taken away in one game goes to Avery, who lost 50 points on December 2. Actually, he technically lost them last night, when we decided that his current -12 did not match up with our feelings about him. He had previously and initially lost 20 for the comment and the following stupidity, and yesterday we assigned him -15 for treating the Stars badly before the comment and -15 for ruining the Stars while he was here. Both are retroactive to the day of the comment, making him -50 for that day. Hey, it’s our plus/minus – we can adjust as we see fit. 😉 Aside from that debacle, the most points we’ve taken away in one game was 6, also from – shocking! – Sean Avery. If you pretend he was never a Star, which we like to do anyway, the most we’ve ever taken away in one game was four. That has happened to multiple players, multiple times. Obviously we’re much more generous for people who do good things than we are anxious to take points away from people.

It’s interesting to note that nobody has hit 100 points yet, although Eriksson is only two points away and Ribeiro is only four away. It’s also worth noting that Morrow hit 52 points in only 15 games. Had he continued at that rate, he would have hit 100 points ten games ago.

Let’s take a look at averages. Once again, we have Louibot at the top with an average of +4 points per game. Under him, averaging +3, are a ton of people. In no particular order: Neal, Parrish, Morrow, Crombeen, Modano, Brunnstrom, Philippe Boucher, Steve Ott, Tobias Stephan, Ribeiro, Lundqvist, and Wilson. The only person with a negative average is Avery with -2. Another real shocker in that one, hmm? Mark Fistric averaged evenly in his short time here, and Turco, Petersen, Matt Niskanen, Janik, Grossman, Hutch, and Brian Sutherby all averaged +1. The rest of the players averaged a middle-of-the-road but still good +2.

If you divide a player’s total number of games with SHR +/- updates by the number of games he’s played as a Star in the first half of the season, you can see who we consider a difference-maker and who is mostly invisible to us. At the top of that chart is Tobias Stephan, who has earned points in eight games despite only actually playing in seven. 😛 More accurate are the numbers for Mike Ribeiro, who has registered an update in 35 of 41 games, or 85%. Turco also makes a difference – although often a negative one – with points assigned to or taken away from him in 84% of his 32 games played. Morrow, when he was around, got positive numbers in 83% of the games he played in (and 0% negatives, as we mentioned before). Also registering highly was Zubov, who received an update in 8 of the 10 games he played in this season. At the bottom we have the people who don’t make much of a difference either way. The worst is Hutchinson, who has shown up in the plus/minus only five times in the 17 games he’s played in as a Star, which comes out to 29%. Barely above him is Parrish with an update in only 30% of the games he’s played with us. Brian Sutherby has only made waves three times in his 10 games, but we’ll cut him some slack and say he’s still getting comfortable here.

Finally, let’s narrow our view to the L10 games played. That takes us back to December 20. I think it can be agreed that the Stars showed vast improvement in the 2nd quarter, so how do things shape up in the plus/minus when you look only at the most recent games? A few players have really bought their A-game, notably Niskanen, Neal, and Otter. All three of them have registered positive updates in at least five games and a negative update only once each. On the other side of things, Robidas has received his only two negative updates in the L10 for a string of games in which he played frustrated and took unnecessary penalties. In the meantime, Hutchinson has updates in only three of the L10, despite playing in all of them, and two of Sydor’s five updates were negatives. Mike Modano has also had a rough, slightly quieter L10, earning negative updates in three games, nothing in four games, and positive updates in three games. On the whole, however, the number show that the team continues to step up and improve.

Overall, it’s pretty obvious that it’s King Loui tearing up the SHR +/- charts this season. If he continues to have a breakout season, his final report for the 08-09 season will look pretty damn good. Same goes for Ribeiro, Neal, Modano, and Lehtinen. It’s also interesting to note that while our top five all register at least 75 points, and the bottom five only register 10 or fewer points, the overall average is only 35 points. There’s actually a 71-point difference between Eriksson’s team-leading 98 points and Parrish, who is the team median with 27 points. I can appreciate that we have some people stepping it up in a big way, but I’d like to see more support from the rest of the roster in the second half of the season. We’re a few games into it as I post this and it’s looking like we might see some more shake-ups as the season continues. Good luck on the second half, Stars!

The SHR +/- page is updated after every game and includes a full roster, as well as the current top and bottom five players. Check it out by clicking here, or find it in the header links any time.

January 17, 2009

Game Review – 1/15/09 (DAL vs BUF)

by Chelsea

The Good:

Offensive defense! The Dallas defense continued their scoring ways from the Red Wings game in the contest against the Buffalo Sabres. Trevor Daley and Matt Niskanen both scored again, while Nicklas Grossman and Marty Turco got assists. Yup, even Marty got on the board.

Power play power! The Stars got four power plays and scored on the first two. In fact, the Sabres looked very surprised at the fury Dallas unleashed during the first man-advantage. 

Building a three-goal lead! Dallas had so much energy, drive, focus, firepower – whatever you want to call it – that Buffalo just couldn’t hold them back. They scored three times in the first 23 minutes of play. 

Sutherby! After being unable to contribute in points since coming to the Stars, Sutherby has tried on many occasions to make himself heard with his fists. He finally succeeded in picking a fight after someone tried to behead Mark Parrish, and while he didn’t get many punches in, showed some pretty impressive balance to get the takedown. 

The Bad: 

Sacrificial defense? While the defensive core (+ the goalie) were busy collecting points, I guess they forgot to actually defend? The Stars let Buffalo get 35 shots on goal, and four of those went in.

Penalty killing? It’s nice to get on a power play and tear up the opposition, and I’m sure that’s why the Stars were being very generous in taking penalties. After having none in the entire first period, they made up ground by taking five in the remaining regulation time. 

Losing a three-goal lead? You can’t just give up when you’re up by three, and Dallas learned that one the hard way. The Sabres staged a comeback, scoring four times to erase three-goal and and then two-goal leads. Then they won in the shootout.

Speaking of that shootout, oh… well, yikes. Parrish, really? He’s never scored in a shootout, ever. Why not give Ott the go? And when will Ribeiro learn that his fancy stuff doesn’t work for patient goaltenders? 

The Ugly: 

Stephane Robidas took a hit in OT that left him wincing on the bench and missing practice this morning. He says he’s fine, but ‘fine’ shows up to work in the morning. We’ll see.

Mike Modano took a nasty hit to the back… from Toby Petersen. Yup. Petersen seemingly smashed his shoulder/elbow into Modano’s back, who made his way to the bench where he grimaced and winced for about five minutes. We really hope Petersen apologized, but he seriously just looked clueless the entire time. It was the last of a couple of big hits on him, and the fact that he didn’t go in a five-round shootout says maybe he wasn’t feeling so hot.

Darryl Sydor had an awful night. He got his face smeared into the glass a couple times, he lost the puck in his skates and stood there looking confused (right in front of Turco, no less), and then he nearly shot the puck into his own net at least once. Uck.

Sabres fans in Dallas have serious grunge issues. Between getting drunk and yelling at annoyed Stars fans, they also got into the “Stanley Cup Brett Hull no goal!” grudge again. I mean, really, it was ten years ago. You probably care more than the players do. Time to move on.

SHR +/-:

Nicklas Grossman: two for the assist; +2
Stephane Robidas: one concern point for ackdontbehurtplease; +1
Matt Niskanen: three for the goal; +3
Trevor Daley: three for the goal; +3 
Mike Modano: two for the assist and one concern point; +3
Toby Petersen: minus-two for the penalty that the Sabres scored on, minus-two for hitting Mo, and minus-one for not looking concerned afterward; -5
Brian Sutherby: one for standing up for Parrish, one for the fight, and one for not losing it; +3
Loui Eriksson: one for being a defensive force despite not showing up on the scoreboard; +1
Jere Lehtinen: two for the assist and one for being a puck-thief; +3
Steve Ott: three for the goal, two for the assist, one for style, and one for leading in hits; +7
Marty Turco: two for the assist, one for being solid in the beginning of the game and shootout, minus-two for becoming a sieve in both scenarios once one goal got in, and one for keeping the Stars in the game through the Sabres’ last push in regulation; +2
Joel Lundqvist: two for the assist; +2
Brad Richards: two for the assist and minus-one for leading in giveaways; +1

January 16, 2009

Game Review – 1/12/09 (DAL vs DET)

by Chelsea

Game:

Stars versus the Red Wings again, this time actually on Versus. Or VS. Or however they spell their name. Basically, the showdown in Big D was being aired on national TV, so there was just a bit of pressure on the Stars not to lose in a repeat performance of their 6-1 embarrassment a few days before. 

Brad Richards centered the top line for Dallas again, with Loui Eriksson on his left wing and Joel Lundqvist on his right. 

The defensive pairings didn’t change. 

First period started.

Dallas was immediately commanding, pushing towards the net to test Wings goalie Chris Osgood within fifteen seconds of the puck dropping. 

Detroit took the first penalty when Jiri Hudler tripped Krys Barch at 2:19, putting the Stars on their first power play. It was a surprisingly strong start, as Dallas forced Osgood to freeze the puck to alleviate pressure.

There was a surprising amount of goaltender penalties taken in this game, the first of which belonged to Stars goalie Marty Turco, who was given 2 minutes for delay of game at 7:04. It was served by center Mike Ribeiro.

The Stars PK worked well to prevent a power play goal, but could not continue holding back the surging Detroit offense.

Brian Rafalski opened the game’s scoring at 10:49 with a deflection past Turco. Tomas Holmstrom and Brett Lebda got the assists.

The Red Wings continued their attacks, scoring again to further their lead not even two minutes later. 

This one came from Holmstrom at 12:39 when Pavel Datsyuk ripped through Stars defense and drew Turco’s attention, only to pass across the slot to Holmstrom. Osgood got the second assist.

Being down 2-0 to the Red Wings is never a good position to be in. So, really, what better time to get your first NHL regular season goal? The Wings saw their lead cut in half by Dallas defenseman Nicklas Grossman. 

The goal came at 16:01 off a slap shot from the point, and was initially thought to have been tipped in by Mark Parrish. Grossman was eventually credited with his goal, his first in 110 games. Andrew Hutchinson and Krys Barch assisted.

However, the Stars saw their comeback stifled when Jere Lehtinen was whistled for tripping at 16:35. The Wings flexed their special teams muscles and regained their two-goal advantage half-way through the following power play. 

Marian Hossa got himself on the scoreboard at 17:43, when Nicklas Lidstrom’s shot from the point freed up a rebound in front of Turco. Hossa stuffed in the net to claim the game’s first PP goal. Datsyuk got the second assist.

The first period ended.

Because the game wasn’t on FSN, there was no Ric Renner in intermission. A moment to appreciate.

Second period started.

The tug-a-war from the first period was not lessened over intermission, as Dallas once again narrowed the points gap, within the first minute of resumed play.

At 00:52 in the second, Stephane Robidas walked the puck into the top of the faceoff circle and fired a wrist shot to beat Osgood on the glove side. He got some help from Steve Ott, who was screening the netminder in hopes to pick up a deflection or rebound, but it was Jere Lehtinen who got the only assist.

Osgood took the second goalie penalty, another delay of game, at 1:21. Robidas took a penalty as well, at 12:39 for hi sticking. 

Through the power plays and penalty killing, the momentum of the game continued to pass between the two teams, with Dallas slowly gaining the upper hand. 

The benefit of that shift became apparent late in the period, as the Stars continued the onslaught that would eventually see them outshoot the Red Wings 23-10 over those twenty minutes.

This time it really was Mark Parrish, who was fed a well-placed pass by Krys Barch and wristed the puck past Osgood before he could react. The goal came at 15:53 and served to finally erase the two-point lead that had been haunting Dallas all night. Matt Niskanen got the second assist.

Hossa did not improve their situation, putting the Stars on the power play by tripping Mike Modano. Dallas didn’t convert on the man-advantage, but were offered up another as the period ended.

Seen here is the result of Chris Osgood having fed Mike Ribeiro the blade of his goalie stick. Because the hit drew blood, it was probably already going to be a double minor, but… Ribeiro did his best to sell it, anyway. Those would be his gloves flying up in the air as he falls.

He definitely has a love-it-or-hate-it style, and frankly, we love it.

The incident occurred at 19:45 and gave the Stars 3:45 minutes of power play time to start the third with. 

Second period ended. Third period began.

What could have been a very long and productive power play was spoiled by Modano, when he got two minutes at 00:40 for hooking Henrik Zetterberg. This resulted in a 4-on-4 situation that was very beneficial for the Wings.

They were able to hold back the Stars and kill of what remained of Osgood’s double minor, building up the momentum they’d lost in the previous period. 

Detroit pulled ahead again at 5:19, when Datsyuk pulled out some sorcery to beat Turco in the high corner. Turco overdid it, trying to stop the shot with the blocker instead of simply being in position, but this doesn’t take credit from Datsyuk and his wizardry with the puck.

Johan Franzen and Brad Stuart got the assists.

Kris Draper provide Dallas with a prime opportunity to force overtime when he got a delay of game at 9:09, but it just passed as the 5th unproductive power play for the Stars.

However, when Lebda got whistled for holding on James Neal at 15:54, their hard work finally paid off. At exactly 17:00, Steve Ott did his best Brenden Morrow impression by camping out in the crease and deflecting the puck behind Osgood into the net. 

Mike Ribeiro got the primary assist for setting him up, and Brad Richards got the second. 

Regulation ended tied at 4-4, and overtime began.

OT didn’t actually last too long. When a burst of… something (confidence? adrenaline?) hit Matt Niskanen as he gained possession, he puckhandled his way past a handful of Detroit defenders. Carrying the puck straight up the slot, Niskanen backhanded it into Osgood’s face as he made a sprawling save. The rebound bounced free, and Trevor Daley was quick to capitalize. 

Loui Eriksson and Matt Niskanen got the assists.

Notes:

  • Three stars of the game, in order: Robidas, Datsyuk, Barch
  • The Stars outshot the Red Wings 49-30; the most shots on goal that Detroit has allowed in some twenty years.
  • Ott, Niskanen, Richards, and Parrish all ended scoring droughts.
  • Conclusion: The boost in outshooting their opponent that the Stars have seen recently seems to be more a product of goaltending than anything; Turco and Osgood let in the same amount of goals in regulation, despite the huge difference in shot totals (29-48). If you can’t beat them with good defense, at least beat them with awesome offense?

SHR +/-:

Nicklas Grossman: three for the goal, one for finally scoring, one for leading in blocked shots, and two for getting alpha male on the Wings all night (including that hit that nearly sent a Wing into the Stars bench); +9
Stephane Robidas: three for the goal; +3
Matt Niskanen: two for each assist and one for working hard for them; +5
Trevor Daley: three for the goal; +3
Mike Modano: minus-one for leading in giveaways with four; -1
Krys Barch: two for each assist and one for making a big difference despite getting less than five minutes playing time; +5
Toby Petersen: one for leading in hits; +1
Loui Eriksson: two for the assist; +2
Jere Lehtinen: two for the assist; +2
Andrew Hutchinson: two for the assist; +2
Mark Fistric: two for having a much-need much-missed hard-hitting style, one for not being Janik, one for not being Hutchinson, and one for not being Sydor; +5
Steve Ott: three for the goal; +3
Marty Turco: one for not letting in four goals this time- nevermind; +0
Mark Parrish: three for the goal; +3
Darryl Sydor: minus-one for being the only Star to end the game -2 and minus-one for being the only defenseman to not get a point; -2
Mike Ribeiro: two for the assist; +2
Brad Richards: two for the assist, one for leading in shots on goal, but minus-one for tying for the lead in giveaways; +2

January 5, 2009

Game Review – 1/03/09 (DAL at EDM)

by Chelsea

Game:

So, this being an important two points against a struggling team, Kristine and I went and filled up on junk food so we’d be properly excited for what promised to be a good ol’ fashioned buttwhooping.

I mean, they’ve got some of the worst PK problems in the league. What better way to get a boost on our struggling power play, right?

Sutherby accompanied Richards and Eriksson on the starting line, with Daley and Robidas paired up again as the starting defense. 

The rest of the lines were the same (29-63-37, 18-9-26, 13-17-22), as were the defensive pairings (5-55, 2-27) with Janik and Vishnevskiy both scratched again.

While it made perfect sense for Tobias Stephan to be in net (it was the first game of a back-to-back pair, Turco absolutely fails at playing back-to-back, Turco plays well against the Canucks, and Turco had let in 7 goals to the Oilers the two times he’d faced them already this season), Tippett is determined to ride Turco through his 35-game slump. At what point does it stop being a rideoutable slump, again? 

Seriously. It’s been 35 games almost, and he still has the barely-worse stats than his backup goalie, who is 1-2-0 and has been thrown in three games that were already lost. If you’d like to play the “well, Stephan’s only been in six games!” card, that’s fine, just give me time to find my “Turco’s had over thirty to fix his stats and hasn’t” card. 

Point made? Stephan should have started.

While it was pretty clear that the Stars were not playing to the same caliber that they had during the game against New Jersey, it was also clear that the heart was there. 

The puck dropped, and three minutes later, so did the gloves. 

It was Krys Barch, of course, about to take on two guys (Stortini and Strudwick apparently didn’t want to share, both lining up for a go at him.) Strudwick got his gloves off first, so the two of them had a go. Barch apparently scrapped his “fists up, chin in, hit with the hand holding the jersey” style for something more like “grab with the left, Barch smash! with the right” and it worked out alright. The guys traded solid punches for about a minute before the officials broke it up.

Play had barely continued when Shawn Horcoff got two minutes for hooking at 5:24. It was the first of many power plays spent circling around neutral ice. 

At 8:07, Dustin Penner* challanged Landon Wilson to a fight by smacking him in the face with his glove still on. Wilson attempted to oblige, but before he could, Penner grabbed him by the collar of his jersey and forced him very awkwardly to the ice.

*Penner joins the Club of the Hated now, so he can take a seat between Tootoo and Alfredsson if he can get Sidney Crosby to scoot over.

Wilson looked visible shaken by the “fight” and did not play in the rest of the game, having possibly suffered a head injury in the fall.

 Maybe it was concern for their teammate distracting the Stars or the sudden energy shift in favor of the Oilers, but they managed to crack Turco on only their second shot of the game at 8:41.

All they basically had to do was speed through center ice and fire a fast snap shot. Fast being the only excuse Turco had for not catching it, because he wasn’t exactly screened. The goal was scored by Erik Cole and assisted by Sam Gagner and Lubomir Visnovsky. 

If that wasn’t disheartening enough, the Oilers got one more shot off, and then scored on their next. Yeah, that’s every other shot going in.

This time it was Sheldon Souray, who split the defensemen going into the slot and elevated the puck over Turco when he dropped to block the bottom of the net. It really just seemed like bad judgement all over the ice that created that one.

The goal was at 9:37 and assists went to Horcoff and Liam Reddox. 

Dallas tried to rally back, getting some timely power plays at 10:07, 12:22, and 18:55 when Ladislav Smid went off for roughing, goaltender Dwayne Roloson (served by Smid) got a minor for slashing, and Gilbert Brule got called for interference.

They spent the first two dancing around in the neutral zone and the third was negated by Jere Lehtinen getting two minutes for goalkeeper interference at 19:21.

The period ended 2-0 Oilers, despite the sloppy play that led to a good handful of Edmonton penalties.

The second period started, and it looked for a few minutes like the Stars might rally for a big comeback. 

Unfortunately, at 3:19, Grossman took a penalty for holding that put the Oilers on a power play. Then, a few minutes after his penalty expired, Robidas took his own two minutes for holding (6:50), effectively killing any momentum the team was trying to produce.

At 7:23, Penner picked up the rebound of Souray’s shot from the point and put it in the net behind a sprawling Turco. Horcoff got the second assist.

Now down 3-0, with their goaltender struggling, the Stars pretty much crumbled. Gone were the effective players we’d seen on NYE, replaced with a messy bunch that could barely hold onto the puck when they managed to gain possession. 

James Neal seemed determined to shoulder the team, being the only Star to get any shots on goal in the five minutes following the third Edmonton goal. 

When Penner got a minor for holding the stick, and the Stars only managed to get two shots off in the entire power play, the supposed comeback pulled further out of reach. Finally, as the period wound down, the team picked up the pace.

Neal was rewarded for his determination (as he usually is, because few things can successfully come between James Neal and whatever it is he’s determined to do) with barely two minutes left in the second period.

When Jere Lehtinen fired a shot from the point that found its way through traffic and off Roloson, the loose rebound was quickly retrieved by Neal, who then lobbed it into the net. Andrew Hutchinson was originally credited with the only assist, but it’s since been changed to Lehtinen. 

Just when it looked like all the fun in the second was over, Barch belatedly took Stortini’s offer to have a go with only 16 seconds left in the period.

They threw the gloves off right off the faceoff, with Barch getting a big hit in early that knocked Stortini’s helmet off. The fight continued for a good minute until the officials stepped in, neither player getting an actual win.

Both got five minutes for fighting, plus ten minute misconducts. Still don’t know why they got the extra 10, so if anyone knows, please feel free to explain.

The second ended 3-1 Oilers, with the Stars looking to hold off Edmonton while scoring 2 more goals in the last period of play.

Third period started.

Smid and Sutherby got simultaneous roughings at 2:05.

About five minutes in, Ethan Moreau escaped past Robidas for a breakaway that was pokechecked by a diving Turco. The rebound probably would have gotten pushed into the open net as Turco scrambled to recover, but Trevor Daley was there to clear to safety.  

When the third reached the halfway mark without any proper scoring chances generated by Dallas, and given the tone of the first two periods, it was pretty clear that the game would not be won without a little luck.

Luck was, unfortunately, not on our side.

When Daley took a penalty for holding at 12:38, the Oilers turned up their offense, pressuring Turco with traffic but only getting one clear shot on net. Only six seconds after the penalty expired, Sam Gagner and Robert Nilsson set up Andrew Cogliano, who was left completely unattended in front of the net. At 14:44, the game slipped to 4-1, which proved to be too much for the faltering Stars. 

The final five minutes passed uneventfully, and it ended in a pretty painful loss of a valuable two points for the Stars.

Notes:

  • The three game stars, in order: Cole, Roloson, Souray
  • Neal’s goal was his 13th of the season, tying him for first among rookies with Boston’s Blake Wheeler.
  • Turco let in 4 goals on 19 shots for a sv% of .789, his worst since the 6-2 loss to San Jose on November 28th.
  • The loss was Richards’ 600th game, which turned out to be a bit of a disappointment; he played 21:15, had no points, and finished -1. 
  • Dallas outshot its opponent for the fifth game in a row, this time by a margin of 39-19.
  • Conclusion: Someone apparently forgot to tell the Stars that they were playing in the first of their two back-to-back games, not the second. They looked lethargic and apathetic for the most part, despite the efforts to build momentum from players like Neal and Barch. 

SHR +/-:

Nicklas Grossman: one for tying for the lead in hits but minus-two for the dumb penalty; -1
Stephane Robidas: minus-two for the dumb penalty; -2
Trevor Daley: minus-two for the dumb penalty; -2
Mike Modano: minus-one for not stepping up when the team needed a leader; -1
Krys Barch: one for each fight and one for not losing either; +3
James Neal: three for the goal, one for determination, and one for playing like the rest of the team should have been; +5
Brian Sutherby: one for tying for the lead in hits; +1
Loui Eriksson: one for leading the team in SOG; +1
Landon Wilson: one for the fight and three alarm-points for making us realize how badly we want him to be uninjured; +4
Jere Lehtinen: two for the assist; +2
Mike Ribeiro: minus-one for not stepping up when the team needed a leader; -1
Brad Richards: minus-one for not stepping up and minus-one for leading in giveaways; -2
Fabian Brunnstrom: one for being surprisingly sorely missed on that Ott-Ribeiro line; +1