With the 2-1 loss Wednesday in Montreal, the Dallas Stars officially wrapped up their first month of the season.
It wasn't all that much to write home about with a 5-6-1 record and no real winning or losing streaks to speak of. Quite frankly, the Stars looked like and continue to look like a team that made wholesale changes in the offseason that is still struggling to put all the pieces together into a coherent unit.
Those struggles show up all over the statistics from the first dozen games, from who is dominating the scoring to what parts of the game aren't quite clicking yet. But the Stars are making improvement in some parts of their games, and there are some encouraging signs that those players people have been the most frustrated with might yet come around.
All numbers and rankings are from before Wednesday's games. Brandon Bibb also contributed to this story with statistics from his awesome spreadsheet.
Percent of the Stars goals scored by Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin or Alex Chiasson. While it's very nice to be having these players rolling along (with four, five and five goals respectively) it's a bit of a problem in the complete lack of secondary scoring. These three are also, not surprisingly, the team leaders in points by a wide margin, with Benn and Seguin at an even point-per-game clip and Chiasson at 0.75. The worrisome thing is you expect Chiasson (12.2) and especially Seguin (16.1) to see their shooting percentages fall a bit over the season. The goal scoring may be a bit unsustainable, which leads us to the heart of the problem.
Goals scored by the third and fourth lines this season, one each from Ryan Garbutt, Shawn Horcoff and Vernon Fiddler. Horcoff's was actually a power play goal, so it's really two goals scored at even strength by the lower lines over 12 games. This is a problem. You don't need a goal every night from these groups, but you do need more than one even strength goal every six games, especially as much as Lindy Ruff likes to roll his lines.
Goals the Stars have scored in the first period, which is third in the league despite having equal or fewer games played than the rest of the top seven teams. Early scoring right now isn't their problem.
Second period goals for, tied for 8th in the league. This isn't their problem either on offense.
Goals the Stars have scored in the third period, dead last in the league. Here's where your offensive issues are being showcased. The Stars can't score late in games, whether it's a blowout or close. That's obviously problematic.
Goals the Stars have allowed in the third period, tied for ninth-best in the league. This number would actually be quite good (and much better than their rankings of tied for 22nd in the first period at 13 goals or tied for 19th in the second at 12) if it weren't for the fact that the Stars don't seem to score at all late in games.
Average goals against per game, 10th worst in the league. The league leader is the Avalanche, with their team .955 save percentage, at 1.5 goals against per game.
Power play percentage, 23rd in the league. The Stars are actually a very respectable seventh on the road with a 24.0 conversion rate on the power play, but that's mostly undone because...
Power play percentage at home, one of two teams in the league with this sad distinction. And just in case you think it's not so bad because they have company down in the basement, that other team is the New York Rangers, who have played a grand total of one home game.
Penalty kill percentage, where the home/road issues are flipped. The Stars are very good at home with a 93.8 kill percentage, third in the league. But on the road, that drops to 73.1 percent, which lurks just outside of the worst five in the league, at home. At least they're not the Ducks, who boast the second-best home kill at 94.1 percent but the worst road kill at a miserable 64.3 percent.
The PDO of poor, beleaguered Alex Goligoski, by far the worst on the team. For those who don't usually play the fancystats game, PDO is a combination of your team's save percentage and shooting percentage when you're on the ice during 5 on 5 play. It regresses heavily to the neighborhood of 1000 (so 10-15 points above or below, more or less; the actual mean for any given team is based mostly upon on that team's save percentage wheelhouse). Whatever the number it actually regresses to for this season's Stars, 907 is a huge outlier and indicative of some bad luck for Goligoski. Consider this - his teammates have scored on just 1.33 percent of their shots with him on the ice. That's just as unsustainable as Chiasson's early-season 60 percent shooting percentage. What it means is that Goligoski's luck should, in ideal circumstances, take a turn for the better over the long run.
For what it's worth, other players who should see their "luck" improve include Valeri Nichushkin, Shawn Horcoff, Antoine Roussel, Sergei Gonchar and Erik Cole. Players like Brenden Dillon and Stephane Robidas are the most obvious candidates to fall back to the pack a bit.
-2 / -8
The first number represents the Stars' cumulative Fenwick rating in the second period of all games. The second number represents their Corsi rating, also in the second period. As you may know, the 2nd period was a bugaboo for the Stars last season, too.
The driving force behind these numbers? The 152 negative Fenwick events and 206 negative Corsi events that they've given up in all middle frames this season.
By contrast, the Fenwick/Corsi slash in the first period is +4/+10. In the third, it's -6/-2. And in the first period, Dallas has a combined 138 negative Fenwick events and 181 negative Corsi events, which is quite a dropoff from the 2nd period.
The number of times the Stars have allowed an opponent to exceed the 60 shot attempt mark this season in a game. By definition, a shot attempt is defined as all goals, saved shots, missed shots, and blocked shots that are directed on net. If this seems like a high number...well, it is.
But it's a step in the right direction for a team that was seemingly under barrage on a game-by-game basis last year and started this year much the same.
The difference between the total time the Stars have been tied in all games this season and the total time they've trailed. For the record, Dallas has played 730 minutes of hockey (including 2 OT games that went the full five minutes). Out of those 730 minutes, 263:40 has been spent tied, 259:40 has been spent chasing the game, and 206:40 has been spent leading.
And in case you're wondering, 554:21 has been spent with the game either tied or with either the Stars or their opponents holding a one-goal lead, which translates to 75.9% of the time.