I am collecting all sorts of information that I am anxious to share with you, the good Defending Big D reader. Unfortunately, it isn't fully possible yet, but soon it will be. Through three games I have been tracking Scoring Chances and, for the first time this year, Zone Entries. We'll get into Zone Entries when the time comes (not now), but for now let's take a brief look at how the Stars have done generating chances.
Below is the usual scoring chance ledger for an individual game. I've summed up all three games in the one table:
Two things stand out above all else. On special teams the Stars are a net positive through three games thanks to the wealth of chances they have generated while short handed. On special teams the Stars have generated 19 chances and allowed 15. The six chances they've generated while short handed have played a big role early on.
The opportunity for offense itself, while excellent, isn't the only benefit gained from generating the chance. It keeps the opposition power play away from the offensive zone for a decent chunk of the man advantage which can do nothing but help the penalty killing proficiency of the Stars (assuming they don't expose themselves defensively). It's a very important development early on, and if it continues the Stars should be in good shape.
The other note that stands out is how thoroughly the Stars have been trounced in the third period. Fear not though, most of that came from the Red Wings. In case you didn't notice, the Red Wings went unconscious in the third period on Tuesday. They out chanced the Stars 13-6 at even strength in the third and added two power play chances for good measure. The Wings generated the final nine chances. As well as the Stars played in the second, they still owe that win to Kari Lehtonen.
The real test will be tonight against the Blackhawks. The Wings and Blackhawks are both highly skilled puck possession teams. The main differences are that the Wings have a goalie, and the Blackhawks have a defense. A competent defense could cause some problems for the Stars.
This will be a big measuring stick for the Stars. A good showing would go a long way to ease the fears of some of us who wonder how far this team can go.