Well that was fun, wasn't it?
Yesterday, over on Cheer the Anthem, I mentioned the Stars being a good possession team. Ha! The reverse appeared to be true last night, and the stats from last night's game would point to a shellacking of the Stars at the hands of the Chicago Blackhawks. In fact, pick your fancy stat and the Stars got wailed on in that category.
All I'll say to that though, is that your fancy stats can take a hike. Last night the Stars took a page from the Toronto Maple Leafs' book, and focused on shot quality rather than quantity. And so, while the Stars may have been owned for certain stretches of play, notably the latter half of the second period, when momentum seemed to be swinging only one way, and it was not the Stars' way, they managed to make up for it by scoring when they needed to. A dramatic turn of events from the last week it seems, when the Stars seemed to be doing everything but finishing their chances. Instead, last night we saw the 'Young Soviet' Val Nichushkin bury a puck, the Stars net a goal on the powerplay, and Antoine Roussel borrow Vernon Fiddler's move to score the game-winning goal on a third period penalty shot.
And beyond that, some of the best un-capitalized on chances belonged to the Stars. Shawn Horcoff's miss after Alex Goligoski's highlight reel dangle/spin-o-rama, and Jamie Benn's pass through three Chicago defenders to a wide open Cody Eakin spring immediately to mind.
Still though, shots ended up 50-18 in favor of the Blackhawks, which is mildly unacceptable. And by mildly I mean ridiculously. The disparity in those shot totals was echoed by Antoine Roussel after the game.
"We played defense the whole game, and didn't have much energy. Our goaltender played unbelievable and kept us in the game. We got some lucky goals, lucky bounces. The boys played hard. They dominated us, but we'll take the two points." [Stars Inside Edge]
Yes, we will take two points, thank you very much.
* * *
So Val Nichushkin took First Star honors after the game, and Kari Lehtonen Third. The Second Star? Andrew flippin' Shaw, with his one assist and a fight in which the best blows he landed were sucker punches to the back of Roussel's head after linesmen had broken up the fight. Stick tap to Shaw, and you're gonna get it in a week when you visit Dallas again. [NHL.com]
And a recap from the enemy. But it's a good one. And they say this: "Ok seriously, Lehtonen wasn't the first star? 47 saves wasn't enough there Sassone? How many would it have taken? 50? 75? 100?" [The Committed Indian]
NBC Sports weighs in on Roussel's performance. [ProHockeyTalk]
And why stop there with the links about Roussel? Especially when our very own Brad Gardner gets a shoutout from Greg Wyshynski. [Puck Daddy]
Moving on. Mike Heika chats. With people. Because yesterday was Tuesday. [Sports Day DFW]
I have no idea what this article on fancy stats would reveal were it used to track last night's game, but there might be something in it... Can we really measure for shot quality? [SB Nation]
Elliotte Friedman's 30 Thoughts on the NHL. Why 30? I have no clue, but you can count them if you like. [CBC]
Yesterday was fashion day in the NHL blogosphere, as the Kings and Ducks revealed their very unlovely jerseys for the Dodger Stadium game. [SB Nation] Which then led to this getting posted. And then this!
And lastly, this article attempts to put Patrick Roy's behavior in perspective. You think he does crazy things as a coach? Check out some of these antics. [Grantland]