I'm sure for those at the AAC, tonight was an exciting game to watch.
In reality, this contest between the New York Islanders and Dallas Stars is absolutely forgettable as the defensive pairing of Sheldon Souray and Stephane Robidas fell completely apart and Andrew Raycroft regressed to the mean. Seven goals were scored in a wild second period as the Stars attempted to overcome a 3-0 deficit, only to give up the go-ahead goal almost immediately after tying the game.
Tomas Vincour got his first goal of the season and had perhaps his best NHL game overall, but the Stars were unable to overcome defensive capitulation of epic proportions tonight despite scoring four goals in the middle frame. Against a team down to just five defensemen and ten forwards on the second night of a back-to-back, the Stars failed to tie the game in the third period and thankfully a forgettable game was complete.
Some very brief thoughts on this game after the jump.
I don't want to spend a whole lot of time on this game as it was wholly forgettable and frustrating, but here are a few thoughts.
The Curious Case Of Jamie Benn & Loui Eriksson - Lots of discussion tonight on Benn and Eriksson, who were held scoreless for their fourth straight game. It's very hard to find faults in their effort overall as it's not like Benn is dogging it and playing poorly -- the line has just suddenly gone dry and can't find the back of the net. In a game that featured nine total goals neither of the team's best players had a point, something that is frustrating and puzzling at the same time.
Sports are all about the results and sometimes we are much too quick to judge on those results alone; people saying that Benn and Eriksson need less TOI in favor of Nystrom and Fiddler are focusing squarely on the scoreboard and not everything else happening on the ice. Still, Eriksson and Benn were both minus-2 tonight and that is what is most frustrating from your top players, especially considering the other injuries on the team.
Remain encouraged as it's just a scoring slump and not an actual performance slump. Jamie Benn led both teams with six shots on goal and nearly had the game-tying goal in the final minutes if it wasn't for a quick whistle by referee Dean Morton.
First, the bad... - Sheldon Souray's final line doesn't look too bad (minus-1, 5 SOG, 20:33 TOI) but he had, by far, his worst game as a Dallas Star. He and Robidas struggled with defensive positioning and gap control and just didn't seem to have the chemistry we've come used to seeing so far this game. It was certainly troubling to see and you wonder if those two are feeling the pressure with Daley and Goligoski injured. When the Stars had a balanced defense, Souray and Robidas played loose and comfortable and it showed in the results. Now, they're struggling and tonight the Stars paid the price.
Mark Fistric is also going to come under scrutiny for his 1st period hit on Nino Niederreiter that sent the young forward to the locker room with an apparent concussion. With the NHL's focus on head shots -- and considering the injury -- there's going to be a lot of focus on this hit. To me, it was a clean hit with Fistric's shoulder making initial contact with Niederreiter's shoulder; the fact that he left the ice is going to be an issue, although he didn't exactly launch himself up and into Niederreiter on the hit. We shall see.
Now, the good.... - Great job by the Stars in the second period by showing resiliency and fighting back, especially by the depth players on the team. Tomas Vincour had a hell of a game and notched his first goal of the season by getting in front and tipping a shot from the point. In fact, all four goals were the result of the Stars crashing the net and creating havoc in front of the goaltender -- amazing what can happen when you accomplish that.
The Stars also calmed down a bit after an atrocious start to the game and were able to put 13 shots on net in the 3rd period while trailing by a goal.
Other random thoughts:
- Bad game by Andrew Raycroft. Poor rebound control and horrendous positioning.
- Eric Nystrom scored again. Tom Wandell, Vincour and Jake Dowell all got their first goals of the season.
- 14,443 at the game tonight. Good to see a bit of a jump on a Saturday night. Too bad it was for this game.
- The Stars must find a way to get up on teams earlier in games. They are once again flirting with last season's formula of attempting to win every game in the final five minutes of the third period and we saw just what happened when that formula fell apart.
- The Stars now head out on a grueling five-game road trip, starting Thursday in San Jose. The good news is that it's likely a few key pieces could be returning.
Three Stars of the Game:
Matt Moulson, NY Islanders
Tomas Vincour, Dallas Stars
PA Parenteau, NY Islanders