It once again required some third period heroics, which is not the kind of story Stars fans want to get used to hearing. However, over an 82 game season, third period heroics will be required every now and then, and it's good to know they can win dramatically if need be. The real story wasn't Tyler Seguin, or Patrick Sharp, but Vernon Fiddler and Antoine Roussel's successful transformation into Jamie Benn for a night.
1. Fun vs. Good
Fun vs. Boring Matrix pic.twitter.com/qskSEg0MjC— DTM About Heart (@DTMAboutHeart) October 31, 2015
We were always due for something thrilling, and fun. It was the perfect Halloween matchup, even without the benefit of hindsight. This chart doesn't tell us anything we don't already know, but it'd be nice to tone down the 'fun' every once and awhile. Vernon Fiddler and Antoine Roussel won't bail this team out all the time.
2. Shorthanded Soiree
Demers shorthanded goal pic.twitter.com/R53Nc95o6J— Stephanie (@myregularface) October 31, 2015
Jason Demers was responsible for this shorthanded goal off a very nifty pass from Roussel. Both guys played a solid game (Demers had the highest On Ice Corsi differential). The play definitely set the tone for the game. For better and worse. Since it was also the first of five goals to be scored in the second period that would keep the game tied.
3. We're gonna need a bigger PK
Nieto shorthanded goal, tie game pic.twitter.com/dRUCm9DyQ3— Stephanie (@myregularface) October 31, 2015
The Sharks, a team that had only converted on 11 Percent of their chances on the PP, scored twice while also netting this shorthanded tally. These plays didn't represent any broader narratives; Dallas has been solid on special teams thus far. San Jose is a talented team. They're gonna score from time to time. But that's why you wouldn't mind a little dose of 'boring' every once in awhile.
Then again maybe it was just voodoo. Somebody needs to tell Curt Fraser that you're not supposed to verbally read the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis.
4. Fiddler on the Roof (copyright, NHL's Pun Machine 2002)
Fiddler go-ahead goal for the Stars pic.twitter.com/AuS8t3WJ2H— Stephanie (@myregularface) October 31, 2015
After exchanging witchcraft and sorcery on special teams, Vernon Fiddler went upstairs at even strength with this one after a) Roussel probably interfered with wookie defensemen Brent Burns and b) Alex Stalock quickly curled up into his Tyrion Lannister costume.
Was Stalock looking at the Harley Quinn in the first row? This is just awful positioning by Stalock. But it's also a perfectly placed shot by Fiddler.
Fiddler has often been the source of concern for some Dallas fans; fans who want to see a Cedar Park takeover here and now. Part of this desire stems from the allure of getting to see players like Devin Shore and Jason Dickinson in the spotlight. But part of it's also the frustrating memory of watching Vernon Fiddler center the first line with Jamie Benn under Glen Gulutzan.
I've talked about Fiddler with some of the regulars. Dominic Galamini's HERO charts paint a solid statistical picture of Fiddler's worth; a player who isn't a positive possession player, but who produces at an above average clip in below average conditions. Not every rookie is gonna look like Mattias Janmark, or Radek Faksa, and they certainly won't look like them buried on the 4th line without the benefit of being anchored by talents such as Jason Spezza, or Ales Hemsky.
Good ole' Vern won't be having nights like this very often, but Roussel-Fiddler-Sceviour combine for a chippy little grind line that won't lose you games.
5. Walking tall machine gun man
Though a small sample size, it's still kind of amazing that Roussel and his line didn't get crushed against the Joe Pavelski-Patrick Marleau-Joel Ward line, possession wise.
It's also what should be the final nail in the pitbull coffin. The Roussel-Eakin-Garbutt line was fun while it lasted when it lasted positively, but it was clear at the outset of last season that the line had overperformed. Their hive mind of one-way puck pursuit could be easily scouted and countered. A real checking line needs collective brains, not collective brawn.
6. The Great (?) Tyler Seguin Donut Counter Debate
Official Tyler Seguin Donut Goal Counter has been updated: https://t.co/nElJjgONzD— Robert Tiffin (@RobertTiffin) November 1, 2015
It's kind of crazy to think that Tyler Seguin still hasn't hit his goal scoring stride. His shooting percentage is low, so it seems like just a matter of time. Still, an empty net power play goal is still a goal. And it ended up being the final dagger after Mattias Janmark made a strong play to get up ice after Radek Faksa made an equally strong play to impede Brent Burns' momentum as he tried to make his way through the neutral zone (Burns would be the one to take the penalty after he had trouble catching Janmark).
The real question is what kind of donut goes on Tyler Seguin's donut counter for a empty net power play goal (?). The innovator, and original brainsmith of the Tyler Seguin donut counter had trouble at first, but eventually pink cruller lost out to chocolate glaze. I feel like chocolate glaze is too classic to fall underneath an empty net PP goal. And what about a goal that wins the Stars the Central? What kind of donut will that warrant? Two donuts with angus beef and bacon stuffed in the middle?
On a serious note, as good a win as it was for Dallas, they're still just one point away from St. Louis catching up. I know what you're thinking. "And??"
And a little less fun during some of these games, and even a 7-3-1 record would earn Dallas the second wild card spot. Just ask the Winnipeg Jets how frustrating that is.
The Stars would be wise to practice good habits. Their four game road trip coming up doesn't look scary; Toronto and Boston in a back to back, then Carolina on Thursday, and Detroit to cap off the road trip. But Toronto and Carolina have better underlying numbers than their records suggest, Boston is finding their groove, and Detroit always gives Dallas trouble. The war in the Central hasn't even warmed up, but they're gonna need wins outside of the division so that the cost of losing to the Central isn't so dramatic when it inevitably happens.