For Stars fans that are still skeptical after the Carolina Hurricanes' near debacle earlier this week, they shouldn't rest easy just because they played a better defensive game against a mediocre team. But they should rest easier knowing that Dallas is still a team that ices up one of the younger blue lines in the league.
This means that when guys like John Klingberg, Jamie Oleksiak, Patrik Nemeth, or Jyrki Jokipakka are in the lineup, mistakes will inevitably happen. But it also means that so will growth; many of these players are getting better. It doesn't mean all will be fixtures, but it does mean that there's room for improvement; kind of like this season's Stars.
1. All the Kling's Men
Presidents Trophy Projections pic.twitter.com/HcWuBuBE06— DTM About Heart (@DTMAboutHeart) December 11, 2015
The Dallas Stars are a good team. I know. You're welcome. Stuff like this is certainly reassuring. Barring nuclear holocaust, there's no chance this team misses the playoffs. But this month, starting today, is going to demand a lot more from them. They're going to get their hands dirty with the Central, and they've already played Philly twice. No free lunches anymore.
2. Philly Cheese Aches
hey, uh, let’s do a bit better, flyers. pic.twitter.com/xBpMbCntuE— collin mehalick (@collin) December 12, 2015
Part of the problem in this game for Philly was all the delinquency. Their forwards are not producing, save for Giroux and Simmonds (that Voracek contract...woof). Which is a shame now that their defense is finally getting some absolutely ridiculous break out talent on the blueline. If it wasn't for Klingberg, I'd do something really petty like constantly shed tears, and vindictive words over picking Radek Faksa over Gostisbehere.
3. A Clockclutter Orange
Sometimes the goals scored look like Victoria's Secret (Gostisbehere's). Sometimes they look like a Goya (Janmark's first goal). And then sometimes you get goals like this, that looks like a rugby scrum involving the cast of Sons of Anarchy. This goal, more than limiting a team like Philly to a small amount of shots, is more uplifting in the context of hope for the playoffs. Sometimes you need to strap on the gauze to score (phrasing?).
4. Daddy Issues
Shot attempts are 63-23 Dallas through two periods.— Mark Stepneski (@StarsInsideEdge) December 12, 2015
At this point it's become a punchline; when Demers is out, the 'Daft' comes in. The team does seem to play too much better with Demers in the lineup, but the blueline is not the forward core. Defense is a depth element by design; less players contribute more just by virtue of ice time. If one guy is all it takes to have the whole edifice crumble then you have to be concerned. After all, defense isn't just the static sketch of how six guys posted closer to the goalie help protect the puck; it's the philosophy of the team as well.
5. French Feats
Four of Roussel's five goals this season have been game-winners. All four have come at home.— Josh Bogorad (@JoshBogorad) December 12, 2015
If nothing else, it sounds like Roussel will come in handy if Dallas ever gets home field advantage in the playoffs. I'm still not a fan of Roussel next to Cody Eakin. Roussel is better off without him, and so is Eakin. See for yourself. Then again I'm really wedded to the idea that if you're gonna play Patrick Sharp on the third line, at least stick him next to Radek Faksa.
6. Free your mind, and the pucks will follow
The League has its first 20-goal scorer, and his name is Jamie Benn. pic.twitter.com/CyFkqvNgWJ— NHL (@NHL) December 12, 2015
Jamie Benn continues his impressive run. I liked how Tyler Seguin never once thought about shooting it himself despite the Philly player having a better angle on Benn for disruption (if memory serves correctly). It was a good win, but also the kind of game you would begrudge the team for if they had lost. Kind of like how St. Louis fans weren't happy when they lost to Philly the night before yesterday.