The Anaheim Ducks winning ways have temporarily been put on hold by your Dallas Stars. The Ducks had pulled points out of eight straight games prior to heading to the American Airlines Center during a 7-0-1 stretch. They were looking to pull within five points of the battered Stars lineup that was on the ice, but the Stars were able to gut out a 1-0 victory despite looking over matched early on.
|Period||Totals||EV||PP||5v3 PP||SH||5v3 SH|
The Ducks, behind the Finnish trio of Niklas Hagman/Teemu Selanne/Saku Koivu, got out to a 5-1 scoring chance advantage on the Stars through one period. Unfortunately for the Ducks the Stars scored what would eventually be recognized as the only goal of the game thanks to Stars-planted saboteur Cam Fowler deftly deflecting an Alex Goligoski shot over the shoulder of Jonas Hiller. It wasn't a pretty game, but it was a regulation win. The Stars found a way to get two points, and how it happened is largely irrelevant to the narrative of the season. However, if you are interested in how it happened I would like to invite you to follow the jump. The detailed chance report and individual player report are awaiting you.
The Stars offensive woes continued against the Ducks despite the reinsertion of Mike Ribeiro. Brenden Morrow was placed on IR prior to the game which led to the NHL debut of Matt Fraser. Theoretically adding Ribeiro and Fraser to the lineup should boost the offense, but it was largely for naught. Ribeiro was noticeably favoring his injured knee throughout the game, but it was his poise with the puck that set up Goligoski's goal.
The Fraser debut was promising early. He and Tomas Vincour played well together early, but they quickly had their ice time cut. The fourth line finished the game with about four minutes a piece. In their four minutes they were a +1 chances. Putting two 20 year olds on the roster to play four minutes in an NHL game seems pointless to me, especially when you think they have offensive upside, they're playing as well as any players on the ice, and the roster is riddled with injuries to offensive players. It was a confusing tactical decision that reeks of "the game is close so I'm going to bench my fourth liners", and that logic ignores the fact that two of the usual fourth liners are currently playing on the second line. I feel like a facepalm.jpg fits somewhere around here.
The Stars biggest plusses belong to Radek Dvorak, Vincour, Fraser, and Dowell at +1. The rest of the roster outside of Eric Nystrom (E) were negatives. The complete lack of offense is the main culprit for the negatives. The Stars only allowed 11 chances in the entire game, or 3-4 per period which is a very manageable total. When you only generate two per period you're setting yourself up to fail though. The All Star break is upon us though so hopefully Ribeiro will get a little bit more time to heal up while Benn prepares to make his return to the ice in Sunday's exhibition contest in Ottawa.
The Stars get to take the Ducks on again after the break with the recently activated Benn and Ribeiro in tow. The Ducks will be looking to get back on track, but another Stars win quickly puts the Ducks back to eleven points behind the Stars. The light at the end of the injury tunnel is getting closer, and I certainly can't wait any longer for Benn to come back.