The book on the Dallas Stars and New York Islanders is that both teams might be stuck "outscoring their problems." That certainly was the case tonight, as it’s somewhat remarkable that Anders Lindback and Chad Johnson weren’t among the goalies who were pulled early in Saturday’s games as the Isles won 7-5.
*As that recap mentions, no one is quite sure whether the hat trick goal from Frans Nielsen will stand upon the NHL's morning review - it may or may not have entered the net after time expired, and there was no puck drop afterward to indicate that any time was remaining on the clock. Moot point other than the stat sheet, though.
It was entertaining and terrible hockey at the same time, punctuated with some pretty terrible goaltending all around. It was a night a lot of players (and perhaps coaches) want back, but it was also the wacky sort of game that makes outsiders sit up and pay attention, or at least appreciate the offensive fireworks on both sides.
The Islanders are one of the most explosive offenses in the league (in fact, the most effective right now with 32 goals in eight games to their credit), so it shouldn't be surprising that when faced with a backup goalie and a defense that boasts four players with less than 150 games experience, there might be some issues.
On the flip side, the Stars are tied for second in total offense (28 goals in eight games, the same as Anaheim and three more in one more than than Pittsburgh) and boasts the NHL's leading scorer (Tyler Seguin,13) two others in the top 10 (Jason Spezza tied for fifth with 11, Jamie Benn tied for eight with 10) and leading assist-producer (Spezza, nine). It's not surprising that any team has an issue with that offense.
Brandon will get into the breakdown from last night later today, but it's important to remember that this type of game, to some extent, is how the Stars are constructed. They couldn't address the back-end problems in the offseason, so they decided the best approach would be to try and outscore them. At 4-2-2 and two points out of a fairly difficult back-to-back set, the approach has some merit at the moment, even if it's causing a few more ulcers than normal.
Now about that backup goaltending...
Sunday Morning Links
- Yes, about that backup goaltending issue. It's not a new one for the Stars, regardless of who the backup actually is for that season. Mike Heika examines the recurring issue in its current form after the loss. [Dallas Morning News]
- Shaky early-season defensive performances lead to trade rumors! Today's offering, some thoughts on why Tyler Myers could be a fit in Dallas. I wouldn't personally make a move to get him unless the price was considerably cheaper than is rumored, but I would get a good kick out of pairing him with Jamie Oleksiak, if only for the obvious jokes. [XNSports]
- From a happier night, at least from a Stars perspective, even the New Jersey Devils knew the got away with one late in Friday's game in Newark on the non-called hand pass. There are reasons things that happen before a goal aren't reviewable, mostly involving the large can of worms involving gray-area non-calls and how far back do potentially illegal plays matter. But moments like that tempt even stalwarts like me into wanting to expand some things. [NJ.com]
- The end of the Devils game was almost a flashback to 2005-06, when the Stars were the greatest shootout team in NHL history (heck, Benn's winner was even Jussi Jokinen's old A move). A better success rate in OT and the shootout could be key for the Stars this season in picking up more valuable points as this thing rolls along. [DallasNews.com]
- Regardless of what you make think of the score or the style of play, I think we can safely say the Stars loss to the Islanders wasn't the most embarrassing in the league on Saturday. That honor has to go to the San Jose Sharks, who dropped their fourth straight, this one to the lowly Buffalo Sabres. [CSN Bay Area]
- While the Sabres picked up their first regulation win, the Predators were handed their first regulation loss by the Penguins, who used that deadly power play to spoil James Neal bobblehead night. [Puck Daddy]
- The Stars might not have defense, but the Chicago Blackhawks have the opposite problem - an extremely quiet offense that surfaced again in a 3-1 loss to the Blues. Idea! Let's take the Hawks defense and the Stars offense and form the most super team ever to super. Heck, we'll even keep Kane and Toews in the lineup. [CSN Chicago]
- It was the most energetic performance in a while for the Blues, who have been struggling through what is being termed a "bacterial illness" that includes fever, fatigue and grossly swollen jaws. That same illness appears to be running through the Minnesota Wild, and wouldn't you know, both teams passed through the Southern California locker rooms last week. Since nothing good ever comes from the greater Los Angeles area, it is suspicious... [Russo's Rants]
- Creepy demonic werewolf at the Coyotes "Howl-o-ween" game? Sure, why not. I saw a drive-by coyote in my Phoenix-area apartment complex last week. I didn't check to see if it was a zombie, but anything is possible. [SBNation]
- We'll end links today with the touching tribute from the Ottawa Senators, Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs to the victims of last week's shootings in Canada. The coordinated anthems and other respectful gestures were extremely well done.