I'm not quite sure what I expected here. The Dallas Stars needed to rebound and they did. But it wasn't a blowout victory. They didn't win with the Pantera song echoing through the arena at least four times, as they've done in 21 games. Nor did they steal a win.
The game played out like a team struggling to win, and doing all the right things in their head while the legs were just a little bit slower on the draw. Having a bunch of fresh legs with new heads probably made it more of an adjustment game than anything else.
1. From Nachos to Neutral
Moen,Oleksiak and Jordie Benn are scratched. Nemeth and Faksa jump into the lineup.— Mike Heika (@MikeHeika) January 8, 2016
Radek Faksa got back into the victory green limelight and once again played a tight, responsible, game. Even his penalty, while earned, had more to do with momentum and positioning. He also made good on some of the Bob Probert level truculence Laxdal encouraged during his time in Cedar Park when he crushed Ladd.
2. Hell Between the Pipes
The #NHLJets are allowing as many breakaways now as they were early in the season. Big difference is that Connor Hellebuyck is god-like.— Arctic Ice Hockey (@arcticicehockey) January 8, 2016
It'd be nice to know what it's like to have a strong history of goalie coaching and development. The Jets are quite fortunate, as Hellebuyck has allowed 13 goals on 290 shots 5 on 5. Which is good for a .955 save percentage. The Jets committed quite a few turnovers, and Connor bailed the Peg on a few occasions.
He was easily the Jets' best player. Luckily the Stars have a pretty good one too in Patrick Sharp who extended his point streak to 11 with a fantastic feed to Tyler Seguin.
3. Crib Contentions
The Winnipeg goal was just the second allowed by the Stars at AAC in the last 222+ minutes.— Josh Bogorad (@JoshBogorad) January 8, 2016
The Stars seem to settle down at home. I'm sure a lot of it's last change, and Lindy Ruff getting the matchups he wants. This is key for Dallas moving forward. Even though the Stars didn't manage much offense through the first two periods (total Corsi For at 5 on 5 was 46, which is fairly low), a lot of it seemed to stem from players either unwilling or unable to chamber shots on net. The decision making was just a step behind, likely due to the line makeover (or "divorce", if you'd prefer to be more dramatic about it).
4. Sky Rockets in Flight
Winnipeg with 52.5% CF (5v5, Unadjusted) through the 2nd. Perreault (74%), Ehlers (72%), Scheifele (71%) lead the Jets— Carolyn Wilke (@Classlicity) January 8, 2016
This line was a nightmare for the 2nd (Spezza's) and 3rd (Eakin's) lines of the Dallas Stars. Perreault in particular could have easily had two goals. Eventually the lines would settle back into their original slots as Patrick Sharp would reunite with Benn and Seguin in the third. The third happened to open up the game as well; correlation, not causation, and all, but each key man knew they had to carry the team's slump burden and played accordingly.
5. Sextet Slumping
That's the end of regulation. We're tied, 1-1, after 60. 3-on-3 OT comin' up! #GoStars #WPGvsDAL pic.twitter.com/s9SxYkw4q1— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) January 8, 2016
Some in the media have wondered aloud whether or not it's only a matter of time until teams figure out 3 on 3 and take the fun out of what has become the Larry, Curly and Moe show on ice. I think we're seeing that with the Stars. I suspect that opponents have scouted Dallas pretty good because lately the Benn-Seguin-Klingberg trio have looked a lot less efficient in overtime. Teams are treating the trio like a basic umbrella power play set up, and go into the typical PK box defense. It works well because the goalie can be critical to a counterattack, making Dallas functionally outnumbered. Taking penalties doesn't help and that's what Sharp did in OT. Luckily Winnipeg didn't move much on their PP, looking for shots from the point instead of creating madness in close.
6. Two Guns, One for Each of Ya
The #MidnightExpress lives on! We're 2-0. #KeepCalmAndKariOn pic.twitter.com/n9mxGKTED9— Jeff K (@jeffk_stars) January 8, 2016
Once Dallas survived, Sharp and Seguin scored absolute beauties. Jamie Benn did his lazy river dance and naturally missed. Winnipeg only countered once (though Kari was technically beaten twice), and the rest is hopefully forgotten history.
- I'm not really a fan of this "Roaring 20's" nickname for Roussel-Eakin-Sceviour. I mean, if the message is essentially 'social and cultural prosperity followed by poverty and despair', then what exactly are we trying to say?
- So the Seguin and Benn divorce was shortlived. Fine. But Janmark-Seguin-Sharp were dynamite on the forecheck. They all had the best forward possession numbers as a trio through the first two periods together. Meanwhile, Spezza, Benn, and Nuke got throttled. Granted, I wouldn't expect that to happen everynight but still. It's worth mentioning.
- Nemeth and Jokipakka were the duds at 5 on 5, possession wise (-7 and -9, respectively). I don't expect Nemeth to be ultra sharp his first game back in awhile though. I was actually hoping Oleksiak would take Joki's spot. JJ hasn't played terrible, but if "fresh legs" have been needed, Oleksiak could hardly be seen as a downgrade.
- Excellent performance by Kari Lethonen. He didn't have to be incredible (rebound control seemed to be an issue), but he had to be good, and he was.