After a brief one game delay we're back. The Stars have played two games since we last had a scoring chance recap, but we're only going to be looking at the Tuesday night game in New York. The NHL decided to really eat the time sheet against the Kings so I'm going to end up needing to tally that by hand. Needless to say, that hasn't happened yet.
But, let's focus on what is here instead of what isn't here. What we have in front of us is a 1-0 Stars win which saw two teams try to not make mistakes for 60 minutes. Both teams played a relatively conservative game (especially in the first period, see below for proof), and the chances ended up going in the Rangers favor at 13-9.
|Period||Totals||EV||PP||5v3 PP||SH||5v3 SH|
The story of the game was undoubtedly Richard Bachman's first NHL shutout. The defense in front of Bachman was solid though. The penalty killing was exceptional, allowing only two chances against. Anyone anticipating a Stars victory prior to the game would've listed those three facets as keys to victory. They were, and the Stars won. The formula isn't incredibly complex. The player report can be found after the jump.
The ice time distribution from last night's game is a little strange. There was no definable top line. The top three lines had relatively equal even strength ice time, but that's nothing new lately. The Stars under Glen Gulutzan usually roll lines instead of trying to exploit favorable matchups, but that could be a consequence of the current roster not being overly defined. The Stars don't really have a classic checking or scoring line, and Gulutzan made it clear early on that he wants to roll lines. Whether that is a strict personal philosophy or a flexible response to the composition of the current roster is anyone's guess.
The third line of Eric Nystrom, Radek Dvorak, and Vern Fiddler had a rough night. Fiddler and Dvorak were a -5 chances at even strength. Nystrom was a -4. No one line in particular did them in. The d pairing of Philip Larsen and Alex Goligoski had a strange game. They were -1 and -2 at even strength despite playing well. They were particularly strong in transition. Two of the chances they face were on high tips, and a third was a chance where Anton Stralman strode into the high slot for a chance. They were generating offense though, and that's what they will ultimately be judged on.
The Stars will look for Richard Bachman to continue playing well as we await the return of Kari Lehtonen. Bachman has qualities that you seek in an NHL goalie, but the improvement from Andrew Raycroft to Bachman isn't just between the two goalies. The defense is markedly improved in front of the net. Bachman deserves all the credit in the world for being calm between the pipes, but the Stars should be applauded for starting to round into form in their own zone.
Next step: find some offense. They have a good opportunity to get the offense on track Thursday against the Islanders. Here's hoping they take advantage of it.