Like Brad, I'm energized by the improved play in goal by the Stars. I also thought that unlike their wins in New Jersey and on Long Island, last night's win was devoid of any glaring flaws.
Part of that might have had to do with Detroit's lackluster play, but I digress.
Being the curious stathead that I am, I headed over to Behindthenet to look at the Stars 5on5 stats to see if there was any improvement in what I believe is one of the key stats in any puck possession oriented system, the CORSI numbers.
Recall that last year, the Stars' defense was largely in the red with Matt Niskanen leading the way with a 5.38 average. Mark Fistric was the only other Star to finish in the black with a 1.42.
This year, it's been a much different story.
So different that I've decided to include the entire team after the jump.
Without further adieu...
|NAME||POS||NUM||GP||TOI/60||RATING||QUALCOMP||QUALTEAM||CORSI ON||CORSI OFF||SPCT||GFON/60||GAON/60||SFON/60||SAON/60|
As you can see, only Adam Burish, Tom Wandell, Mike Ribeiro, and Brenden Morrow are in positive CORSI territory through the first three games. All four players are forwards.
Doing the rudimentary math tells me that all six defensemen are in negative CORSI territory. Yet the Stars are 3-0.
No doubt, some of the credit will go to Kari Lehtonen, who has been spectacular in goal when called upon early this season, lending credence to the idea in many circles amongst the Stars braintrust that Lehtonen will be a longtime upgrade over Marty Turco.
Of course, he did give up four goals in New Jersey and five on Long Island before coming within a whisker of a shutout last night.
No, the Stars are 3-0 because of their goal scoring. And while I'll readily admit that the faucet of offense won't always freely flow like it is putting more pressure on the defense and goaltending to play better, I will point out that on 14 of the goals that the Stars have scored, defensemen contributed at least one point on five of them.
Phoenix practically made the playoffs as a fourth seed off their scoring from the blue line. Dallas had an offensive drought from the blueliners last year.
If they can get that kind of contribution from their defense all year long, they'll stay in the playoff hunt.