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Tyler Seguin with Jason Spezza Produces, But Stars Greatly Out-Possessed by Flyers

The skill players are filling in the score sheet, but the Flyers imposed their will on Dallas in an ugly back-and-forth affair Saturday night.

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Puck luck, so called, is a funny thing in hockey. There are many on social media, and in their cars on Dallas highways bemoaning that of the Stars this evening.

A puck takes a bounce off Jordie Benn in front and then sits nicely for a tap-in goal. A puck hits the linesman on a clearing attempt and a goal follows. A puck goes in off Trevor Daley to tie the game late.

It was not a great night for luck, sure.

But the Flyers directed 83 pucks at Kari Lehtonen's net, compared to the 47 Dallas threw at the other end. That's where the focus will be in the film room. That's where we should direct our attention after an entertaining, though wildly frustrating affair on a Saturday night.

Start with a 39% faceoff win percentage. Start with the eight shots forwards not named Benn, Seguin or Spezza managed on goal. Just eight.

The Stars were unlucky, OK, but one could argue Philadelphia earned their bounces and more.

The question of why the Stars were out-possessed so greatly can be looked at any number of ways. The defensive coverage by forwards this evening is one place to start. The makeup of those groups is another. Colton Sceviour has been playing very well, but sat in favor of Curtis McKenzie's debut.

McKenzie looked solid but ultimately ended up -1 on an awkward line with Vern Fiddler and Ales Hemsky, who can't seem to get going. This was because of what was happening further up the lineup with Seguin's group, and that's where things get interesting.

Jason Spezza, we said all summer, gives the Stars a "one-two" punch in the lineup to provide pop offensively more than half of the 60 minutes, given typical minute-distribution in the NHL. First line. Second line. Which one do you stop?

But Spezza's line had not been producing at even-strength, yet, and he was placed with Benn and Seguin full time tonight, which made the team look like last year's edition: A first line and three thirds. Not a balanced attack- A subject, no doubt, we will spend more time on as a new week begins in a couple of days.

Either way it's a concern as we scratch our heads this evening. Briefly...

***

  • After losing seven of eight faceoffs in Pittsburgh, Tyler Seguin did not take a single draw this evening.
  • Curtis McKenzie came out of the tunnel first for warmups and his teammates playfully watched him take a lap before he realized no one came out with him.
  • Jordie Benn had the puck in his feet on the first goal. He got beat on the outside on the play that lead to the second one. He was in the penalty box for another. That was not his best work tonight against a team that doesn't have too many weapons you're too worried about.
  • Kari Lehtonen was great in keeping Dallas in it, and looked like it might be enough for a while. There were two more goals from distance that he saw the whole way, however, and that's been a disturbing trend as the season begins to unfold.
  • Philadelphia did not score when Kevin Connauton was on the ice, and he played 18:27 with a +1 rating. A solid outing for him.
  • All the Stars were able to draw as far as penalties tonight were two gifts (too many men) that they had nothing to do with, and a boarding call that Ryan Garbutt probably made look worse than it was. No hooks, no holds. Nothing with their speed game. That alone should signal that the forward mix is not quite right now.
  • And then there's this...

Holy moly.