The Dallas Stars have three losses in 12 games. Two of them are to teams with only five wins between them (Colorado, and now Toronto). Bad NHL teams are still NHL teams, however. On a night where you're not getting the bounces, these things happen.
But they tend to happen more dramatically when you're hand wrapping your opponent opportunities like a Christmas gift. This is essentially how Dallas lost. The sky isn't falling, but the ground is wet in familiar spots.
1. How to Defend Your Art Ross and Alienate Opponents
Benn goal pic.twitter.com/C4fVajx0wJ— Stephanie (@myregularface) November 3, 2015
Toronto scored the first goal of the game when neither Patrik Nemeth, nor Jordie Benn, could hinder Brad Boyes from getting a shot chambered right in front of Antti Niemi's grill. It was a soft rebound on Niemi's part, but also soft defending.
Jamie Benn countered with this pretty little shot above. Unfortunately the captain's efforts would get returned in kind, as Brad Boyes would score his second of the night. Or did he?
2. Dangle's Dexterous Depictions
Let me be the first to welcome all you young bloods to 1999. This is pretty much was it was. Constant reviews, Stars good, Lindy Ruff mad.— Steve Dangle Glynn (@Steve_Dangle) November 3, 2015
Ruff challenged Boyes' goal when it was found that the puck entered the zone on an offsides. This led to this Steve Dangle gem. It also led to a tied game instead of putting the Stars down by one. The would-be goal was the result of an errant pass by Johnny Oduya. And by 'errant' I mean 'what the hell was that?'. The universe unfolded as it should have given Dallas' defensive lapses not soon after...
3. Lupul My Trigger (Am I using these NHL pun utensils right?)
Joffrey Lupul's stock going up faster than Apple after a product launch pic.twitter.com/KZqQtf5H5d— The Leafs Nation (@TLNdc) November 3, 2015
This was Lupul's second goal of the night. Another breakdown with Nemeth overpursuing the guy who would need a cesta from a game of Jai Alai in order to score, and forwards leaving Lupul completely untouched. For the most part, the goals weren't too special; just grade A chances caused by mental flatulence, and Niemi's questionable rebound control on the night.
4. Nuke Muff'Em
Nichushkin penalty shot attempt, miss pic.twitter.com/odU4qTaQpX— Stephanie (@myregularface) November 3, 2015
Nichushkin has been playing some solid hockey since getting scratched. After a great breakaway opportunity, he drew a penalty shot that ended with Valeri Nichushkin shanking it wide. There's no reason to be worried about Nuke's overall game, but the mechanics on his shot need some work. Perhaps Nill can hook Nuke up with Joe Pavelski's shooting coach.
5. Kadri's Law: All Your Power Plays Are Belong to Us
In his career - Nazem Kadri draws over 2 penalties per 60 minutes he plays. No other NHL skater is that high. And he's done it for years.— Stephen Burtch (@SteveBurtch) November 3, 2015
You could argue that some were 'questionable', but superior positioning tends to draw out inferior defending, and Kadri just got the drop on a lot of players. Not only that but he doesn't just pick his Tanner Glass spots. Cody Eakin, Alex Goligoski, and Jason Spezza were the culprits that ended up putting Toronto on the Power Play. Jamie Benn should have been added to that list too after this sequence:
I saw some discussion about this behavior being "pathetic" on Benn's part. Like Benn, Kadri plays an edgy game that crosses the line every now and then. The way I see it; angels without wings are bound to track one another's mud eventually.
6. Puck-A-Doodle-Doo Dallas
Whatever paranormal activity Polak collided with on that play, it captured the essence of Dallas' game to perfection; all crass, and no craft.
- I think the paradox here is that Dallas played their high octane game; amassing 64 shot attempts to Toronto's 38. But like last season, and the season before it, their mistakes were costly, and they mistake sheer activity for pressure.
- In the words of our friends over at Pension Plan Puppets, Phil Kessel deserved better than the Maple Leafs, and I wish James Reimer did too that way it wasn't him Dallas had to face last night.
- John Klingberg was the only defensemen who seemed ready for Toronto. Everyone else stood out due to either bad passes, or bad pinches.
- The Faksa-Spezza-Hemsky line seemed fine in theory, and probably still is, but they were devoured by Kadri, Komorov, and JVR.
- Radek Faksa had a shorthanded breakaway opportunity that was magic, minus the goal part. He hit the post, still searching for his first NHL point.
- Don't say we never gave ya nothing Steve. You can finally shoot an LFR this season that doesn't involve you banging your head dangerously on that cool scoreboard light you have in your vintage room.