The Anaheim Ducks are a talented team. They made the Western Conference Finals last season. While the possession numbers have been bad for them, they've also been incredibly unlucky. This game had all the makings of a trap game: the team had collectively less goals than Jamie Benn, have been shut out in over half their losses, was missing Ryan Getzlaf due to an appendectomy, and played last night against Chicago after losing to Jonathan Toews in OT.
No problem right? The first period and a half felt and played out like a trap game. The second half played out like the Twilight narrative the Ducks have been experiencing this season.
1. Behold, a Pale Duck...
the Ducks scored a goal! Santorelli on the PP pic.twitter.com/40laOOfG7C— Stephanie (@myregularface) October 28, 2015
You had to know it was gonna happen sooner or later. Jamie Benn, usually a boon on the Penality Kilt, got too fancy with his pass, and ended up turning the puck over which led to Santorelli bouncing the puck off the Elder Benn. This is fairly typical as far as NHL goals. But Dallas was more interested in atypical fair.
2. Bruce Boudreau Exhales
Ducks score three goals in 4:26 of the first period. Bruce looks forward to first intermission without copious consumption of Rolaids.— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) October 28, 2015
I don't know how the numbers break down, but Dallas has to be up there in consecutive goals unanswered in the least amount of time.
This team just loses its corn-fed mind at times. Massive turnovers on the second and third goal put them in the hole. On the second goal, a bad turnover by Johnny Oduya exacerbated by Jamie Oleksiak and Patrick Sharp double teaming one of the Ducks gave Antti Niemi zero chance. Then Hagelin was left wide open after an Alex Goligoski gaffe. Rest easy Bruce. All you need is two periods of-
3. Bruce Boudreau Begins Seeing Stars
October 28, 2015
The second period was as bipolar a period as you'll see. Anaheim continued pushing, and you began to wonder just how early the Stars got their Halloween partying started. Dallas did not play like a team down by three for the first half of the second period.
The turnaround started with a really awful penalty by Jamie Benn. Then Patrick Sharp shook off the goalpost demons. Which then triggered a shorthanded goal compliments of the dynamic Eakin-Benn duo, which then culminated in John Klingberg doing Klingberg things.
Among Stars fans, there is sometimes debate about whether the shrine of Sergei Zubov is being desecrated whenever the cornrowed Swede is compared to the cigarette smoking Russian. To paraphrase John Steinbeck, I say take comfort in Klingberg's own singular play. Now that you don't have to be Zubov, you can be Kling...(that paraphrasing sounded better in my head)
4. The hair on Radek's chest is showing
Look at Faksa on the PK, doing work. pic.twitter.com/hVrJpNviNH— Brandon Worley (@brandonworley) October 28, 2015
The Stars were humming following their offensive outburst. But to me the biggest revelation was Radek Faksa's very quick route to Lindy Ruff's trust.
Young players have a tough racket when it comes to coaches. They're allowed to make mistakes, but only in small doses. After all, development is supposed to happen in the minors, abroad, or in the AHL. NHL coaches are responsible only to management, and the team's bottom line. For that reason, they only babysit up to a point. A professional franchise is in the business of winning.
I've always been bullish on Faksa. Not only because of his story (a story the Ducks announcers questioned, and made light of), but because he has a real mind for the game. Cynics have long questioned his offensive output, which is fine. But his ideal ceiling, as a third line shutdown center, is practically here.
Faksa started on a line with Vernon Fiddler and Colton Sceviour. As the game wore on, he ended up centering the third line with Mattias Janmark and Ales Hemsky, who he had the most minutes with. And yes, they were positive possession players. Faksa in particular was second only to Jordie Benn in on ice Corsi Differential (how does he do it?!).
While the Dallas franchise has kind of a checkered past when it comes to first round picks*, Faksa appears to be his own beast.
5. Puck Off!
Roussel celebrates what stands as the game-winning goal pic.twitter.com/0eeTUw3V14— Stephanie (@myregularface) October 28, 2015
It's been awhile since we've been on the edge of our seats, white knuckling the nearby couch in anticipation of Dallas' goal song. Antoine Roussel came to the rescue with barely over a minute left in the third period.
Credit to Vernon Fiddler. He doesn't always display great vision. On the Glass-To-Crosby scale he's not quite the cream in fancy stats' Oreo. But he he's fairly productive for a fourth liner, which stems from his well-above-average old man speed.
Beating Corey Perry in a flat-out footrace never felt so good.
6. Et Tu, Boudreau?
Boudreau GIF remix, idea credited to @JuliaHass pic.twitter.com/7iV2Oxc3So— Stephanie (@myregularface) October 28, 2015
I can't feel too much sympathy for the Anaheim Ducks. But I can feel sympathy for a coach I don't think is that terrible, and has more or less been destroyed by variance. In addition to being a source of amusement, he had some great things to say before the Chicago game.
As for Dallas, it's a good win. Even better when you consider that Jason Demers is coming back. The defense has had an odd rhythm since his suspension. While correlation is not causation, it slots a really good defenseman back into his top four spot while Jordie Benn and Jyrki Jokipakka can go back to being invisibly efficient.
Dallas has the Vancouver Canucks next, who are coming off a win over the previously unbeatable Montreal Canadians.
*Could always be worse. As Steve Dangle was quick to tweet out: Jame Benn, the 2007 draft pick, has 371 points . That's 234 more points than all of the Toronto Maple Leafs' 2007 draft picks.