The Dallas Stars once again can't solve the drumming of a goaltender in front of a mediocre leadsinger and guitarist. The Toronto Maple Leafs have technically gone streaking; 2-1-2 in their last five. I guess they were do, but like this?
Looking at the numbers, as well as the on ice product, Dallas played well enough to win but not so well that they should be proud of anything. Let's unpack this one with the daily tweetdown:
1. Into the PK Void
Stars have allowed 9 PP goals against in their last 8 games— Brad Gardner (@bradgardnerDBD) November 11, 2015
Jason Demers made a pretty bad clearing attempt on the PK, which led to this tipped in goal by Peter Holland. This is becoming a real problem for the team, and something I've noticed that has carried over into their 5 on 5 play where opponents too easily (and readily) control the points.
Having the 24th ranked PK in the league won't wink them right now, but it can still hurt them in subtle yet vital ways (assuming they make the playoffs, these are the things that will help decide if they play at home or not). Their Sv% on the PK is 27th in the league, which is also where they rank in Corsi Against Per 60 while shorthanded.
2. Goaltending is Voodoo: Part 2
Spezza asked what it is about the Leafs that gives the Stars so much trouble. He blurts out "James Reimer" before the question is finished.— The Leafs Nation (@TLNdc) November 11, 2015
To be fair to Toronto, James Reimer wasn't the only factor in the loss. Ruff made some clear adjustments with his key matchups; the JVR-Kadri-Komarov line was punching the Benn-Seguin-Sharp in the mouth, possession wise, which forced them into more playing time against the Lupul and Bozak lines.
3. Grit Corsi
Sharp ties the game late in the 2nd period pic.twitter.com/QAn6AY7Ifv— Stephanie (@myregularface) November 11, 2015
This is what 'veteran leadership' looks like. If you missed the game, the gif doesn't catch it, but Sharp beats a Leaf to a loose puck. The players go crashing into the boards, but Sharp doesn't give up on the play, gets right up, and nets the goal you see above. It all happens within seconds, which is what makes this play all the more impressive. Almost as impressive as:
4. Fiddler Breaks the Reimer Curse (for now)
this Fiddler goal is absurd. Stars lead 2-1 pic.twitter.com/hlPIgugUEf— Stephanie (@myregularface) November 11, 2015
Say what you want about Fiddler, but he's always had a sizzling backhand. This, however, is something far more supernatural. Fiddler knew something the rest of Dallas didn't; forget puck handling, and raw talent. You have to beat Reimer with sorcery.
5. Back to our regularly scheduled Reimering
Gardiner gives the Leafs a 3-2 lead pic.twitter.com/vBw0bxkOAH— Stephanie (@myregularface) November 11, 2015
Toronto would tie the game with this goal not soon after (just awful coverage from more than just one player). Dallas has been good in the third period. Leave it to the Maple Leafs to ignore this season's laws completely. Like the other Leafs goal, this was another shot tipped in by a Dallas Stars player.
6. Stray Observations; Dallas has a lot of Work to do
TOR vs. DAL 2015-11-10 pic.twitter.com/YXHQkksoJa— DTM About Heart (@DTMAboutHeart) November 11, 2015
Dallas may have outshot Toronto, but Toronto had more High Danger Scoring Chances: 10 to Dallas 9. This is on par for Dallas, who shares company at the bottom of the league when it comes to allowing high danger scoring chances, but it also means they weren't getting rebounds all night. Just take a look above. For those who haven't seen these before, the key is as follows: Color = team, Squares = shots at even strength, Diamonds = shots on special teams, Pink = goals for, and Size = Expected Goals*.
- Jyrki Jokipakka and Jordie Benn got the worst of it, shot attempts wise. They also started in their own zone the most; maybe next time, guys.
- I think Jason Spezza is a brilliant player. And I think he displays much of the brilliance more often that not. But you can tell being paired with Mattias Janmark and Cody Eakin is an output bridge too far. They're good young players, but one is a rookie, and the other is only two years that rookie's senior. Neither one of them has the offensive instincts to compliment Spezza either. Watching Cody Eakin ignore a much more wide open Janmark in what could have been a 2 on None(ish) really drove the point home.
- In the battle of baseball barbs between social media hockey departments, I'd call this one a draw.
- Winnipeg is on Thursday, which should be fun and interesting. They're a good, physical team who will do everything to make this a UFC PPV despite a recent string of lopsided defeats. Dallas went 1-3 against the Peg last season. If the Stars are serious about making old habits against the Central die hard, they're gonna need more than one-liners, and holiday spirit.
- *This stat is known as xG, which combines Corsi and Shot Quality. For more, you can read about it here and here.