The top two teams of the early season NHL met in Pittsburgh last night, and things didn't go incredibly well for the guys in white. Among the issues last night was the injury to Alex Goligoski. Last night's game emphasizes how important he is to the Stars.The pre and post Goligoski scoring chances are, well, interesting.
Last night was a learning experience, and fortunately for the Stars they get a chance to apply the lessons they just learned against Pittsburgh tonight against Detroit. Detroit has historically been a puck possession team, and will try to do similar things to the Stars that the Penguins did. So, what did the Penguins do to the Stars to kill their attack? Follow the jump to find an answer to that question, and to see the Scoring Chance Report for Dallas @ Pittsburgh.
I think the national narrative of this game (if there even is one) is probably going to involve some derivation of the idea that the Penguins are in a class above the Stars. They might be, but I don't think the gap is as wide as the scoring chances would indicate. The Stars lost the scoring chance fight 18-6 which included 11-4 at even strength, and 7-2 on special teams.
|Period||Totals||EV||PP||5v3 PP||SH||5v3 SH|
The Penguins played a great game. They were strong defensively, and generated three special teams goals. The Evgeni Malkin and James Neal line was buzzing all night (more on that in a second).Marc-Andre Fleury made the saves he had to make. That game had all of the aspects you would expect a solid win to have, but that wasn't how the entire game looked.
The Penguins were out shooting the Stars early on, but they weren't out chancing the Stars. The first period chances ended 3-4 in favor of Pittsburgh, but the Stars were able to generate the final three of the period. They also generate the first couple in the second. The Penguins onslaught began at the midway mark of the game.
In the second half of the game the Penguins out chanced the Stars 14-1. Yes, 14-1. The Stars were down two defensemen for a while at that point, and the parade to the penalty box began as 6 of the Penguins chances over the final 30 minutes were on the power play. The Stars losing Goligoski, I think, really shot the wheels off of the entire game.
The Stars, almost unanimously, were a big negative in scoring chances. The Jamie Benn line was a big negative. Benn and Loui Eriksson were both -4 at even strength. We're consistently seeing opposing teams match their top checking lines against the Benn unit now. Last night Benn saw enough of Jordan Staal to last him the rest of his life, and his group was unable to generate much as a unit. Mike Ribeiro's line was a -3 also so it wasn't just Benn. The Sheldon Souray and Trevor Daley pairing had a forgettable night too. Both were -6 at even strength.
Alex Goligoski, though, was a +2 in chances to lead the Stars. Goligoski was on the ice for 3 of the 6 Stars chances despite leaving after the first period which I think is but one example of his value to the Stars. I'm not suggesting that he's the sole reason the Stars are in the position they're in, but he's a very important piece. If he is out for an extended period of time the Stars could be in trouble.
I think they can survive his injury though. Goligoski has been wonderful this year despite a lack of points. Whenever he's on the ice offense is usually generated. He plays relatively easy minutes, but that's what you want him to do since that allows him to generate as much offense as possible. The Stars have recalled Philip Larsen to take his place. If you're trying to shield a rookie you play him away from your own net against weaker competition if you can. If you slot Larsen in for Goligoski's even strength minutes he should be a perfect fit given his offensive skill set.
If you're masochistic like myself and want to view the play by play data you can find it below. If you have any questions about individual chances feel free to leave a comment or send me a tweet @JoshL1220 .