I can't recall ever watching a game between the Dallas Stars and the Detroit Red Wings that was content to be a meat and potatoes skate and shoot show. Dallas picked up the win in aggressively ugly fashion.
Between the bizarre officiating, odd bounces, and vindictive behavior, it seemed fitting that the game would end in the most non-4-1 looking game ever. There were as many bright spots as there were dark ones, so let's unpack this one shall we?
1. No Corsi, No Problem?
5v5 shot rates so far this year. pic.twitter.com/MB1J4fkq4w— Micah Blake McCurdy (@IneffectiveMath) November 7, 2015
Going into this game, Dallas was a big favorite. Right now, Detroit is one of the worst possession teams in the league. And as you can see, Dallas is actually quite the outlier in terms of generating chances. So much so that they're practically missing from the grid (in a good way). Granted, all that chart makes you want to do is break stuff when you consider that Colorado continues to own Dallas. Side note: are the Devils even playing the same sport?
2. Six Shooter Sharp
I’m no expert, but you should probably not leave a guy this wide open. pic.twitter.com/xyI60dv24P— Winging It In Motown (@wingingitmotown) November 8, 2015
For those keeping track, that's now six goals in the last seven games for Patrick Sharp. This snapshot explains why Detroit has had mixed success; the Wings' penalty kill experiences bouts of hemispatial neglect.
3. Nuke Zip'Em
Nichuskin makes it 2-0 pic.twitter.com/iam2amwZqG— Stephanie (@myregularface) November 8, 2015
Valeri Nichushkin has been playing solid hockey since his healthy scratch. It helps that he's had a lot of recent time with Radek Faksa. But it was great to see him finally rewarded for his efforts. If he can make good on the promise of who we think he can be, it's only a little crazy to consider that Dallas' offense is just getting warmed up. Besides, passing up Montreal is only a matter of time unless Dale Weise has permanently stolen Nuke's genotype.
4. Second Period Sorrows
another angle of the Sharp/Spezza collision pic.twitter.com/7XaA0BNsof— Stephanie (@myregularface) November 8, 2015
At the end of the first, Detroit got a power play they ultimately scored on. From then on, nothing seemed to go right for the Stars. After awhile Detroit had 26 shot attempts to Dallas' 5. When Sharp and Jason Spezza collided, it felt like the perfect visual to describe what exactly happened to the Stars in the second. I mean just look at that graph. You're only gonna find lines like that on the EKG of a Zoolander model after a gas fight.
5. To Valhalla!!!
another angle of the Hemsky hit pic.twitter.com/qhVDi4gY2f— Stephanie (@myregularface) November 8, 2015
First off, let's get this out of the way; Ales Hemsky is not a dirty player. But a lack of history does not guarantee a lack of intent. Hemsky clearly charges on this play, and a penalty should have been called. Did that justify Jonathan Ericsson sucker punching Hemsky not once, but twice? No, but it doesn't mean I begrudge him.
I didn't complain when Jason Demers took advantage of a prone Stu Bickell after getting gorilla smashed for no reason. None of this is to justify any of the behavior, but I can barely muster the strength to talk about punishment when Demers gets two games for his elbow on Nick Bonino while Nathan Beaulieu doesn't even get a hearing for a deliberate crosscheck to a player's face (regardless of who that player was).
6. Empty Net Ecstasy
STARS WIN!!!!!!! pic.twitter.com/yp2p1elxSV— Michael Gruber® (@tweetgrubes) November 8, 2015
Dallas finally mustered up a decent effort in the third, particularly on the power play, and when Detroit pulled their goalie. Tyler Seguin was one of the beneficiaries of an empty net, so for those keeping count: that's 4 glazed, 1 chocolate glazed, 1 strawberry, 1 strawberry with sprinkles, 1 chocolate with sprinkles, and a cruller. Cody Eakin would also pot an ENG.
- This game wasn't on the level of the ole' Detroit vs. Colorado rivalry, but you could definitely smell the musk of cruelty. Besides the Hemsky vs. Ericsson stuff, Joakim Andersson clipped Jamie Benn with a knee as well. It's a good thing geography has kept Dallas out of the Eastern Conference, because I'd fear for everyone's health (opponents included; this is the second time a Dallas player has popped an Eastern Conference goalie on a broken play).
- That's now 55 points in his first 80 games for John Klingberg. Ruff brought up a good point in the pre-game about how European defensemen learn to puck handle in the open ice, which aids creativity versus the North American habit of throwing it up the boards. Klingberg continues to dazzle like the son of Zubov or something.
- Dylan Larkin is insanely talented, and might be in better position to win the Calder if Detroit didn't anchor that line with Justin Abdelkader.
- Dallas' zone exits were weird. It looked like they wanted to end this one with haymakers instead of chess pieces, as more than one winger would often high tail it out of the defensive zone. Detroit was picking their pockets all night which explains why Dallas looked so comically inept at times.
- For those skeptical of their efficiency, the Janmark-Eakin-Spezza experiment was the best possession line by a ridiculously wide margin.
- Kari was once again, very, very good. The lone goal looked kind of soft considering the speed with which it came, but I chalk stuff like that up to natural errors of the mind; goalies are used to the puck moving at maximum speed. They're used to stopping those pucks off a specific set of predictions. It's a lot like how Jennie Finch could strike out Albert Pujols.
- It's the Toronto Maple Leafs tomorrow. You're not gonna get to celebrate this time Steve Dangle.