SAN JOSE, CA - DECEMBER 08: Goaltender Richard Bachman #31 of the Dallas Stars gets help from teammate Vernon Fiddler #38 defending his goal against Patrick Marleau #12 of the San Jose Sharks at HP Pavilion at San Jose on December 8, 2011 in San Jose, California. The Sharks won the game 5-2. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
In this late evening (morning?) game finish, we shall start this recap off with a little nursery rhyme:
There was a little girl who had a little curl
Right in the middle of her forehead;
When she was good, she was very, very good,
And when she was bad she was horrid.
It seems to sum up these past two games of the Dallas Stars rather fittingly.
After a spectacular beating of the Anaheim Ducks last night, the Stars were looking for their first win on the second night of a back to back this season. They went up against the high flying San Jose Sharks, who they've lost four straight games against. They've never lost five in a row to the Sharks...until tonight.
Brent Burns got the Sharks going early in the first period, and with Joe Pavelski goal at the end of the first period the Dallas Stars found themselves in a very early hole. It proved to be too much to overcome.
The Stars would cut the lead to one after a powerplay goal made the score 2-1. Logan Couture and Joe Thornton scored two goals in the middle frame to make the score 4-1 going into the last period. Jamie Benn started the scoring in the third period when Thomas Greiss was lazy with the puck and instead of covering it gifted Benn with a nice little rebound goal. The Stars then started to get some consistent shifts and puck possession, and it appeared as though they may be able to get the comeback going after the Benn goal. They allowed Ryane Clowe to score the fifth Sharks goal which proved to be the nail in the proverbial coffin of the Stars' effort for the evening.
The stark contrast between the team that beat Anaheim soundly and then got beat soundly by San Jose seems to show how this team has been all season. When they play tight defensively, stay disciplined, communicate and win puck battles they look like a team that can be a legitimate threat in the playoffs. But when they get loose with their defense, stop communicating, get caught not moving in the offensive zone, and have a string of guys going to the penalty box, they look exactly like a cap floor payroll team and all that that implies.
More thoughts after the jump.
A few more observations on the game tonight:
Not sure Nicklas Grossman is 100% recovered from the flu. Grossman was responsible for at least two of the Sharks goals himself, one off of a terrible pass from behind his own net that went straight to Pavelski for a goal and another off a defensive breakdown in front of the net.
How about that goal by
Danny Boyle Steve Ott on the powerplay? Ugly goals still count as much as pretty goals, so I wish the Stars would remember that and get guys to the front of the net for more 'garbage' goals. San Jose is a great example of how you can succeed by just having guys in front of the net and creating screens in front of goaltenders. It's something that is not seen consistently from the Stars.
Jamie Benn continues to show what a gem he is for the Stars with a goal in the losing effort. He's scored 6 goals in his past 8 games played.
I didn't quite understand the thinking of playing seven defensemen and only eleven forwards tonight. With the way the game went last night, why not roll with the same lineup and see how it would go? I think the rotating defensive pairs tonight led to some defensive breakdowns in the game and Loui Eriksson and Benn were getting double shifted on the fourth line throughout the game.
Stars were very undisciplined tonight, giving the Sharks five powerplay opportunities of which they cashed in on two. This was probably a function of the fact that they got behind early and seemed to be playing catch up, both on the scoresheet and skating-wise, all game.
With three more back to back series left this season, they have GOT to find a way to win on the second half of those. They've gotten one point of twenty so far this season in these second half situations. If they miss the playoffs, that might be the first place you look to see where those points went.
It's hard to win a game when you never seem to have the puck, and it's hard to have the puck when you win only 12 of 50 faceoffs. That's a team faceoff percentage of 24%, which is most likely the worst effort on the dot this season for the team.
Overall the play of Richard Bachman wasn't that bad, and he came up with some huge stops on a breakaway and chances in close. Many of the goals he let in were due to being screened in front by at least one (sometimes two) Sharks players in front blocking his view of the puck. The defense of the Stars never seemed to make them pay for standing in that place on the ice, and the Sharks took full advantage.