Slow Starts Continue to Haunt Stars

The Dallas Stars loss last night can be pinned on a lot of things. Uncharacteristic odd man rushes, particularly in the second period probably pushed the Chicago lead too far and the uneven officiating was certainly adventurous, but to us the more disturbing reason is part of a long term trend of slow starts.

The NHL doesn't keep a "time of possession stat" and scoring chances are unofficially kept by some but are somewhat subjective by nature. One way to attempt a quantification of such a concept is to look at total pucks directed toward the net, including shots that were blocked, misses, and official shots on goal

Total pucks directed toward net, first period only...

DALLAS OPP
BS MS Shots Goal TOTAL BS MS Shots Goals TOTAL
@COL 5 2 9 0 16 2 5 14 1 21
@LAK 1 4 12 1 17 4 8 8 1 20
@ANA 2 4 5 1 11 3 5 18 1 26
ANA 5 3 7 1 15 5 3 9 0 17
SJS 2 3 14 2 19 3 2 15 1 20
COL 3 4 8 0 15 7 4 5 1 16
@TOR 11 5 6 0 22* 7 5 7
1 19
@OTT 3 5 7 0 15 7 6 6 0 19
STL 1 6 5 0 12 2 4 6 1 12
@STL 1 1 4 0 6 3 5 13 0 21
@CAR 4 3 10 1 17 8 8 12 0 28
WAS 9 2 7 0 18 8 7 14 0 29
MIN 5 5 7 1 17 8 3 7 0 18
@CBJ 4 2 5 0 11 5 4 7 1 16
@CHI 1 3 7 0 11 7 3 10 2 20
AVG: 14.8 AVG: 20.1

The Stars have technically out-shot their opponents in the 1st period three times in the stretch since the massacre in Denver, but only once have sent more pucks toward the opponents net. On average the opposition is sending 36% more rubber toward Stars net-minders than vice versa in the opening frame. (74% more on the road) This seems to agree with the eye-ball test that's told us "they need to have better starts" and a game by game examination compared to our recollections/impressions of these seem to match up pretty well.

That the Stars have played 8-5-2 (.600) hockey over this stretch is a credit to their goaltending and resilient efforts in the second and third periods, but as we've said all along: It's not sustainable and it finally caught up to them last night. It's up to the leaders on this team and the coaching staff to change this culture and dictate the pace and tenor of these games much earlier than they have been.

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