Games 57 And 58 Scoring Chances: Crucial Ground Lost

The Dallas Stars time is running out. This weekend they had two crucial games on the schedule against teams fighting for the final two playoff spots. They traveled to Phoenix in hopes of slowing down the streaking Coyotes. They then got on a plane for Dallas hoping to take a couple points from the Nashville Predators. They sit here on Monday having gotten only one of the possible four points, and that isn't good enough.

They didn't play poorly though. The compete level was high across the board. The talent and hockey sense levels weren't high enough though. The Stars turned the puck over a ton. They got caught out of position a fair amount. (How can Shea Weber get ten feet from the net uncovered?) Kari Lehtonen, who continues to refuse rest, is playing at an elite level. The sum of the Stars parts just wasn't good enough to take meaningful points out of the weekend set despite the obvious positives.

They lost 2-1 in overtime to the Coyotes on Saturday while matching them 17-17 in scoring chances at even strength. Last night the Predators knocked the Stars out 3-2 in regulation as a result of outchancing the Stars 15-9. The player reports for both matches and summaries are after the jump.

The Stars fought the Coyotes. At even strength the Stars were the superior team despite a few miscues. They outchanced the Coyotes 13-9 at even strength, but the penalty killing unit is bleeding chances without Nicklas Grossman. The Coyotes generated eight total chances while up an extra man compared to four for the Stars. That's pretty much the difference in the game.

Period Totals EV PP 5v3 PP SH 5v3 SH
1 5 9 3 5 2 0 0 0 0 4 0 0
2 7 3 5 2 1 0 1 0 0 1 0 0
3 5 4 5 1 0 0 0 0 0 3 0 0
4 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Totals 17 17 13 9 3 0 1 0 0 8 0 0

The Stars least effective lines against Phoenix were the top two. The first line has been a black hole since Jamie Benn got injured. Steve Ott hasn't been noticeable. He was -2 chances at even strength. Tom Wandell was even, but his lack of offensive ability carried the day again. Tomas Vincour scored a goal that was overturned, and continued to play well. He was +3 chances. at even strength.

# Player EV PP SH
3 S. ROBIDAS 16:22 3 1 4:08 1 0 5:05 0 4
6 T. DALEY 17:23 5 6 1:46 2 0 3:30 0 5
27 A. PARDY 12:51 5 2 0:00 0 0 0:36 0 0
28 M. FISTRIC 16:04 6 6 0:00 0 0 4:47 0 5
33 A. GOLIGOSKI 18:09 2 1 4:14 3 0 2:30 0 2
36 P. LARSEN 11:20 6 2 1:08 0 0 0:22 0 0
11 J. DOWELL 6:30 3 1 0:00 0 0 0:00 0 0
16 A. BURISH 9:08 4 2 0:58 0 0 3:30 0 5
20 R. DVORAK 10:55 2 0 0:06 0 0 2:00 0 2
21 L. ERIKSSON 14:39 4 4 4:13 3 0 2:51 0 1
23 T. WANDELL 10:46 2 2 1:25 0 0 0:00 0 0
24 E. NYSTROM 11:30 5 2 0:00 0 0 0:37 0 0
29 S. OTT 14:37 2 4 1:25 0 0 3:35 0 2
38 V. FIDDLER 10:46 3 0 0:09 0 0 2:23 0 2
40 R. GARBUTT 5:35 3 1 0:06 0 0 0:00 0 0
63 M. RIBEIRO 15:12 4 4 4:13 3 0 1:54 0 4
73 M. RYDER 13:44 3 5 4:13 3 0 0:00 0 0
81 T. VINCOUR 11:36 4 1 0:12 0 0 0:00 0 0

The bottom two lines were fantastic. Eric Nystrom and Vernon Fiddler were +3. Radek Dvorak, Jake Dowell, Adam Burish, and Ryan Garbutt were all +2. Yes, Ryan Garbutt. In five minutes he helped generate three chances for the Stars and one against. He had a fantastic debut. Adam Pardy was even +3 chances. The Stars most positive player, though, was Philip Larsen at +4 chances.

The Stars left Phoenix with a point. Ideally they would have liked both, but they played well. They took the ice with the Predators aiming to match the intensity from the Phoenix game in hopes of picking up two points. Unfortunately the Predators defense was just too much for the Stars. The Stars were only able to generate five chances through the first two periods. The Predators had 13, momentum, a defensive shell, and one of the top two or three goalies in hockey to fall back on in the third.

Period Totals EV PP 5v3 PP SH 5v3 SH
1 3 7 3 4 0 0 0 0 0 3 0 0
2 2 6 2 4 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0
3 4 2 2 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Totals 9 15 7 10 2 0 0 0 0 5 0 0

The Stars first line was poor again. Vincour was -5 chances. Ott and Wandell were -6. Apparently taking the fall for the failures was Vincour who was demoted to the fourth line in the third in favor of Burish. Vincour and Garbutt immediately connected for an excellent net crashing chance to further drive home the lesson the Stars should have learned by now. You have to get to the net to make chances happen. The Ott/Vincour/Wandell line haven't done a good enough job at crashing the net lately, and the results speak for themselves.

# Player EV PP SH
3 S. ROBIDAS 18:21 2 3 1:56 2 0 0:00 0 0
6 T. DALEY 16:08 1 2 0:06 0 0 2:04 0 3
27 A. PARDY 19:41 4 5 0:00 0 0 0:46 0 2
28 M. FISTRIC 16:40 1 2 0:00 0 0 2:04 0 3
33 A. GOLIGOSKI 20:08 2 3 1:58 2 0 0:10 0 1
36 P. LARSEN 19:41 4 5 0:02 0 0 0:36 0 1
11 J. DOWELL 9:55 2 1 0:00 0 0 0:00 0 0
16 A. BURISH 11:25 1 0 1:18 2 0 0:40 0 2
20 R. DVORAK 11:20 1 0 0:00 0 0 0:49 0 3
21 L. ERIKSSON 19:39 3 3 1:58 2 0 1:09 0 0
23 T. WANDELL 13:33 1 7 0:00 0 0 0:00 0 0
24 E. NYSTROM 11:43 1 0 0:00 0 0 0:42 0 1
29 S. OTT 14:01 1 7 0:00 0 0 1:27 0 2
38 V. FIDDLER 10:21 1 0 0:00 0 0 0:39 0 1
40 R. GARBUTT 10:00 2 1 0:00 0 0 0:00 0 0
63 M. RIBEIRO 20:52 3 2 1:58 2 0 0:14 0 1
73 M. RYDER 20:01 3 2 1:52 2 0 0:00 0 0
81 T. VINCOUR 12:38 2 7 0:00 0 0 0:00 0 0

Ribeiro's group were the top players against the Preds. Ryder and Ribeiro were both +1 chances. Eriksson was even. Garbutt once again was +1 chances while playing an infectious physical game. He saw his ice time climb from five to ten minutes last night. I hope that continues. He deserves to keep playing.

The Stars have four more games before the trade deadline. Next up are the Montreal Canadiens followed in order by the Blackhawks, Wild, and Canucks. I don't think one game should determine your trade deadline strategy, especially one without your best player. However, the Stars have to take two points from the Canadiens to give the Stars front office any sign that this team is worth adding to for a playoff run. This next stretch of the schedule is going to be like running the gauntlet. They don't have the luxury of being able to shrug off losing to teams currently in the lottery anymore.


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