Yesterday as pre-game primer, I listed five things to look for in last night's game. We're going to take a brief look at how it all stacked up and a few other observations.
"1. Dallas needs to stay out of the box." How'd they do? Well, they kept the number of trips to a minimum but they gave up 2 power play goals including the game winner.
"2. Loui Eriksson is hot." He continued to be last night with a goal but was also a -1 on a play which I go over in my observations after the jump.
"3. Dan Ellis and Kari Lehtonen are hot as well." Neither did themselves any favors posting .862 and .855 save percentages respectively.
"3A. Be on the look out for Brad Winchester." More about that in my observations, too.
"4. Jamie Benn's TOI." The youngster logged 22:57; second only to the defensive pair of Stephane Robidas and Alex Goligoski. He also managed to score a goal and stay plus-1.
"5. Cam Fowler." The rookie led the team in ice time (25:38) and was a plus-1. He was noticeable... but I didn't take any notes on him. If Anaheim can ride him and not break him, he's got a heck of a future. He looks like the next Chris Pronger minus the high elbows.
Just briefly going through some of my observations of last night's game. Like I mentioned above, I thought for sure Anaheim would be as abrasive as they are capable of being from the drop of the puck but remarkably played a very docile game through the first two periods. Mark Fistric did what he could to add some spice to the game by dropping Winchester a couple of times on the same shift.
Brad Winchester, however, was (until the third period) the only player adding sand to the vaseline of the game on behalf of the Ducks. Then in the third, Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle put Winchester up with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry and on the first shift of the period did exactly what they wanted - dictate the play of the game, get a shot on goal and start rubbing people. It really was all downhill from there.
Winchester also drew a call in the third and later wins a nice penalty trade putting him in the box along with Benn (who probably needed the rest). Were it not for Lubomir Visnovsky's hat trick, Winchester would have been one of the stars of the game.
What would last night's game be however without some discussion of the game called by the referees. Personally, I believe referees have nothing to do with a team's ability to kill penalties but the first call on Steve Ott barely 4 1/2 minutes in was weak. But more than that, how in the name of all that is hockey-holy was that not charging when Winchester hit Jamie Langenbrunner? He literally flew from the opposite side of the ice and elbowed Langenbrunner in the head.
Where was the tripping call when Perry intentionally trips Robidas and the unsportsmanlike call when Bobby Ryan literally kicks him?
Where were the interference calls on Winchester when he sets a monster pick behind the net in the second period and on Getzlaf on Visnovsky's second goal?
It wasn't all Brad Winchester and non-calls. Kari Lehtonen needs to learn some rebound control and how to take a shot in the belly. Too many time last night as well as throughout the season, he will push a rebound right out into the slot or the weak-side and too many times does he fight a puck that should be absorbed.
Louis Eriksson did score a goal but was totally sucked-in on Visnovsky's first goal. He got to watching the puck and realizing it Visnovsky slides down, receives the puck and with plenty of room, walks it right into the slot with Eriksson, who'd lost him, spinning like a bubble-hockey player. Dan Sexton slides down and sets a perfect screen.
Eriksson though also made one heck of a defensive play. Having lost his stick (broken as I recall) Anaheim is pressing and the puck comes out to the point to Visnovsky - Eriksson goes flying in and Visnovsky, possibly not realizing it was a stick-less Eriksson, feels the pressure and fumbles the puck out of the zone.
One thing the listeners might have missed last night was Razor's "Tim McCarver" moment with something to the effect of, "As good as the Stars were against Phoenix, that's how bad they've been here tonight."