The Stars are destined for the Stanley Cup.
Well....that might be a little early, but they are pretty good. In game nine of the season against Phoenix they proved it once again by scratching out a shootout win as the national hockey media ridicules the Stars on an almost daily basis. The Stars continue to not give up many legitimate scoring chances, and that fact is hidden by the large number of shots they give up. However, as I think we've established so far, the shots don't tell the whole story.
The last time out against Phoenix the Stars were out chanced 13 to 16. In the second meeting of the season things went a little differently, but the same message was conveyed loud and clear: when the Stars and Coyotes meet up this season the chances will be hard to come by. Both teams are hard to play against, both teams play a relatively conservative game, and both teams have aspirations of sneaking into the playoffs in the bottom four. If their second meeting of the season is any indication this will be an enjoyable match up to follow. Follow the jump to see the data from Wednesday night's game.
Newsflash: The Stars generated something on the power play!
Sorry, I couldn't contain myself. One of the major story lines of the early 2012 season has been the Stars lack of ability to generate anything on the power play. Well, check out this chart:
|Period||Totals||EV||PP||5v3 PP||SH||5v3 SH|
The Stars dominated the Coyotes on special teams. I can't remember the last time the Stars dominated anyone on special teams. The Stars generated four power play chances, and one chance while short handed. They gave up ZERO chances to the Coyotes power play and short handed units. In their last meeting the Stars gave up the scoring chance battle on special teams eight to three. They went from -5 to +5. How valuable of a swing is +10 chances? I'm not completely sure, but that has to be significant.
Overall for the game the Stars generated 12 shots and gave up 10. They won the chance battle in every period for the first time this season, but they came close against the Kings. They're clearly moving in the right direction as a team, and Gulutzan is a big part of that. He's been very flexible early on in his match ups. The most interesting recent change has been the utilization of the D corps. The Sheldon Souray and Stephane Robidas D pairing has been very good since it was put together. They play the most difficult minutes on the Stars, and they don't routinely get out chanced.
Also interesting to me is the Alex Goligoski situation. Lately Gulutzan has playing Adam Pardy or Mark Fistric with Goligoski which is slightly counter intuitive. Goligoski starts out in the offensive zone more often than not, and realistically Fistric or Pardy aren't going to give you much offensively. However, they are expected to be responsible defensively, and I think that has freed Goligoski up some more. I'm going to be updating everyone on the cumulative stats in the coming days, but I'll give you an early update. Before last night's game Goligoski led the Stars in Scoring Chances For On Ice with a +24 at even strength. Yeesh...
Since there were so few chances going either way there is little separation amongst the individual players. Mike Ribeiro led the way with a +1 even strength chances. The stars of the night were the Jamie Benn powerplay unit. The group of Benn. Loui Eriksson, Steve Ott, Trevor Daley, and Sheldon Souray were a +3. This is the first real power play uprising for the Stars this year, and it's good to see.We should give some props to the top penalty killing unit too. Daley, Nicklas Grossman, Adam Burish, and Vernon Fiddler didn't allow the Coyotes anything. The special teams were key to last night's come from behind win, and hopefully that will continue.
The Stars go back on the ice tonight against the Kings. We'll get to see what changes each coaching staff makes less than a week after their first meeting of the season. I will be sharing the link to the in-development Stars scoring chance database in the coming days. Hopefully it will add some level of value to your Stars viewing. It has added plenty to mine so far. If you have any suggestions, once again, feel free to leave a comment or send me a tweet @JoshL1220 .