The Stars returned to Dallas after a successful east-coast road trip to face the Blues. I say successful not only because their 4-1 record, but because it was arguably the best we have seen from the Stars all year.
The good news is that most of the things we saw from the Stars on the road, returned with them to the American Airlines Center on Sunday. The Stars played well enough to win but didn't.
Maybe the numbers will give us a reason why.
Looking at shot attempts, Dallas outplayed the Blues in every period. Around the 37 minute mark of the second period until the 2-3 minute mark of the third were the only times St. Louis played better than the Stars.
In these posts, I will also be including a chart that shows scoring chances. Scoring chances are loosely defined as shots generated from inside the black outlined area below.
At the beginning of this article I mentioned the Stars returned to the AAC with most of the things we saw from them on the road trip. The biggest thing was team defense.
Looking at the chart above you can see that the Blues didn't generate a scoring chance until 27 minutes into the game. Remember all the goals scored over the season from the crease and slot? This is the kind of defense that this very site is named after. The Blues are seventh in the league in goals for at even strength play so keeping them from generating any real chances is a pretty big accomplishment. Defending Big D, indeed.
Above, I mentioned that the only time St. Louis might have outplayed Dallas was the end of the second period and start of the first, only a couple of those shots were scoring chances. Even when being outplayed, the Stars were playing very solid defense.
While watching this game I kept thinking to myself, "the Stars are dominating this game and should be up by 4 goals, but at the same time it didn't really feel like they were dominating."
Scoring chance totals were 22-8, in favor of the Stars so why did I feel that they were and weren't dominating the game? When I looked at individual scoring chances it became much more clear.
The leader in scoring chances for the Stars was Patrick Eaves with 3. Vernon Fiddler, Colton Sceviour, Curtis McKenzie, Antoine Roussel, Shawn Horcoff, Brett Ritchie, and Tyler Seguin were tied with 2 each. Ales Hemsky and Jason Spezza each had 1. Jamie Benn had 0.
In these posts, you will also see a few abbreviations and terms used.
CF, CA, C+/- and CF% are Corsi For, Corsi Against, and Corsi For Percentage. They are defined as follows,
Corsi For: The number of on-ice shot attempts (on goal, missed, or blocked) taken by the player's team.
Corsi Against: The number of on-ice shot attempts (on goal, missed, or blocked) taken by the opposing team.
Corsi%: The percentage of on-ice shot attempts (on goal, missed, or blocked) taken by the player's team; also known as CF%.
Vernon Fiddler led the way with a CF% in the 80's. Rookie defensemanman Jyrkki Jokipakka continued his string of good play as well. The McKenzie-Horcoff-Ritchie, or "muck" line had another solid game as well.
Jason Demers and Jamie Oleksiak had a tough night at the office with CF%'s below 50%.
The last four names on the list are the most interesting ones, in my opinion.
Our bottom six dominated and the majority of our top six were completely taken out of the game by the Blues defense.