Last season was difficult for a lot of reasons. Not only did we verbally flagellate a lot of players who we thought were responsible for the team's failures, but our expectations were even more violently subverted.
John Klingberg was one of the lone bright spots. Even then we were still able to dig up disappointment; the disappointment of Klingberg being snubbed for Calder consideration. But as I wrote about this summer, the Calder was just meaningless hardware compared to what Klingberg is really capable of.
Granted, the league's best, and more experienced defenders have plenty of time to catch up. But any talk of the Norris isn't simply premature regardless of the mannered gesture of pumping the brakes.
1. A Moment of Silence
Antoine Roussel (@Rous_ant) November 14, 2015
2. Central Projections
West Playoff Projections pic.twitter.com/fi0XMsGgCb— DTM About Heart (@DTMAboutHeart) November 14, 2015
As you can see, there's a very good chance Minnesota comfortably makes the playoffs despite the heated competition within their own division. This was a critical matchup, and one the Stars can't afford to lose no matter how many points they have. With the point in OT, Minnesota now sits second in the Central. Ladies and gentlemen, this is just getting started.
3. Jason and the Dump and Chase-o-Nauts
Spezza puts the Stars up 1-0 pic.twitter.com/NPdjHK7JQ4— Stephanie (@myregularface) November 15, 2015
Let's ignore the great Klingberg shot for a second just to set away the gushing for a second. There was a moment in the broadcast where Strader asked Razor point blank, "Do you like Spezza on the wing with Cody Eakin?" Razor answered with an "I do" that sounded like a gunpoint marriage proposal.
Not that I think Razor was insincere. But most of us were pretty relieved when Eakin was knocked off the second line in favor of Mattias Janmark-Jason Spezza-Ales Hemsky; a line that turned out to be the best possession line all night. As a very very very short term experiment, I don't think there's anything wrong with it. Line tinkering is common for a lot of good reasons fans tend to ignore in favor of arbitrary outrage.
4. Wild? More like the Minnesota [Insert Awful Pun That Nonetheless Happens to be Descriptive Here]
More than halfway through the second, this is what the shot attempts looked like. If Dallas wants to get into the playoffs and make some noise, they're gonna have to learn how to be patient. Minnesota is like the Sagat of ice fighting; an annoying as hell not boss who can be tougher than the actual boss of the division if you're not willing to be mindful of how to make adjustments.
Minnesota is a low event team, and sometimes you'll have to beat them with low event hockey. The Wild ended up having slightly more shot attempts, but as you can see, Dallas actually doubled the Wild in high danger scoring area chances (if you need the key to this chart, click here):
5. It's The Buckners!
Three of the four 3rd-period goals allowed by Dallas on this homestand have gone in off of Stars players.— Josh Bogorad (@JoshBogorad) November 15, 2015
There's not a whole lot else to say. Fans and hot take writers love narratives, which is why discussions of 'luck' tend to be frowned upon, but that's because a lot of people misunderstand concepts of probability and 'luck'. When Jordie Benn was once again the perp in a deflected goal, it was as if we had heard each verse and chorus of this song before. But if you listen closely, there's no music. Just notes. Yes, Jordie Benn can be better positionally, but he got hammered on the possession chart because Charlie Coyle, Jared Spurgeon, and Ryan Suter will get their chances every now and then.
6. Mastery Maketh Man
The Benn, Seguin, Klingberg combination in 3v3 OT must just be nightmare fuel for opponents. Created that goal in the blink of an eye.— Dimitri Filipovic (@DimFilipovic) November 15, 2015
Melissa posted the link on Thursday, but earlier this week Andrew Berkshire carefully analyzed what makes the Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin duo so threatening. By documenting passes to the slot, shots from the slot, zone entries, and so forth, Berkshire came to the conclusion that both are as much playmakers as they are shooters, which makes them functionally impossible to defend. I'm assuming that Klingberg isn't exactly a 5th wheel in all of this:
After the game Jason Spezza compared Klingberg to Erik Karlsson, with the caveat that he doesn't have the legs or speed of Karlsson, but he's got the better mind and hands. Both have been on display since Klingberg suited up in victory green. On the the stray observations...
- Mattias Janmark looked awesome last night. I'll make the prediction here and now; if Spezza stays with Hemsky, it's because of Janmark. We marvel at his two way play, and hussle, and some fans even call him a cerebral Cody Eakin, but even that bit of (possibly faint?) praise ignores his actual playmaking ability.
- On the other end of the spectrum was Jamie Oleksiak. Jamie still has a lot of work to do, but it's strange how small he makes himself in the corners when retrieving the puck, or trying to exit the zone. With his two penalties in the first period, he'll be chowing down on nachos pretty soon.
- I didn't agree with the reviewed-but-allowed goal, and not just because I like Dallas. Unlike most plays of this nature, there was a tangible moment when the Wild player impeded Kari's glove; a glove that was otherwise in place to make a potential save, probability be damned. I get that Jason Demers' contact was the x-factor in all of this, but the contact was functionally negligible.
- Stars fans have given Kari a lot of grief since last season, much of it totally deserved. It's only fitting that we give him praise when he deserves it too. He played as focused a game as I've seen him play.
- Nashville and Winnipeg went all Grand Theft Auto on each other last night. St. Louis and Chicago also exchanged some chronic traumatic skulduggery. Oh yea, some girl named Ronda Rousey got brutally knocked out by a preacher's daughter. Fight Night indeed...