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Stars Continue Their Possession Tumble Against LA: Six Easy Tweets

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Dallas still can’t control the puck very well. LA takes advantage.

NHL: Los Angeles Kings at Dallas Stars Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

The 2016-2017 Dallas Stars season continues its split personality run of random brilliance and classic odd man rushes against with a side order of Yersinia Pestis. Dallas lost Patrick Sharp and Patrick Eaves to injury but weren’t playing great even when they were in the lineup.

Sharp Incarceration

One of the oddest consistencies in this small sample size of games thus far is Patrick Sharp’s delinquency. He’s been taking a few too many penalties. It’s a small sample size, but just another in a long list of oddities, anomalies, and phenomenon that describe this Dallas team. Nic Dowd took advantage of said delinquency, encapsulating the narrative of the night: work hard, fall behind, and play ketchup going backwards.

3C to the 2C Rescue

There’s a unique chemistry at work between Radek Faksa and Jason Spezza. Because Faksa plays such a strong possession game across all three zones, he can support Spezza’s east/west demeanor. Even if it’s just by accident. I’ve been championing Faksa’s use next to Benn for similar reasons: a truly good checking line center doesn’t just limit chances with defensize zone play, but limits chances with extended offensive zone pressure. Having a finisher and playmaker like Spezza allows the trio to actually capitalize on those counterattacks rather than hand offensive zone faceoffs to the next line.


The second period was notable for the animus, which allows us to talk about some of the defensive pairs who inspired that animus. Klingberg was actually the best possession player, which is to say, he still didn’t break even. He did, however, defend against carry ins better than most defenders. He’s still struggling offensively. His passing looks skittish, and he just doesn’t look as confident. Though I wouldn’t take too much stock into this well done chart. LA plays a heavy, intelligent dump and chase attack. Perhaps explaining why Oduya (-10), Johns (-10), and Lindell (-16) were the bottom rung on shot attempts against.

I can’t blame them too much for lack of rhythm. Injuries and Antoine Roussel’s piss and vinegar didn’t exactly endear Dallas to an efficient start.

Deja Miscue

After both teams sorted out their vulgarities, the game would be more of the same: Dallas trying to bludgeon themselves past LA’s defense, taking random penalties, and just losing all the puck battles. To make matters worse, a tied game broke its agreement with just 20+ seconds to go in the second.

First off, as Ludwig pointed out, Setoguchi made a nice pump fake along the boards, which Klingberg flinched on thoroughly. Defensively, Klingberg just didn’t make an honest effort to pivot. However, I still don’t consider Kari blameless. He has a history of struggling on sharp angles. Rebound or not, with no one else around, biting hard on the corner would have had minimal risk. And yea, I still remember Game 7 against St. Louis vividly. So this sharp angle stuff is grating.

Giggle Rescue

Dallas didn’t play well at all. But they fought hard to keep it tight towards the end when Spezza tied it up to send the game into OT. Aside from Roussel’s fight with a gatorade rack, not much is worth mentioning from the third.

Pity Puck

Or did they? I didn’t pay attention to the replay of the Overtime goal. So I didn’t see what the big deal was. I just figured Kari was doing the usual goaltender much ado about nothing. But I didn’t pay attention to the replay because I need to get up early, and that frozen dairy vanilla dessert cone won’t eat itself. I have an excuse. What’s the NHL refs excuse? Whatever the case, I can’t claim too much sympathy. On to some puck probes...

-Dallas was a nightmare at even strength. I don’t really know that the sieves deserve highlighting, like Ritchie (10% CF) and Shore (17% CF), simply because only Jamie Benn avoided being negative, and he wasn’t even positive in possession. Just neutral. That’s the alarming stat: Dallas continues to get punched in the possession mouth as a squad. Sequencing puck possession requires more than just better trios. It requires a defibrillator.

-Dallas’ goaltending continues its Jekyll and Hyde theatrics. Kari didn’t play a bad game by any means, but it’s the kind of performance that will likely see Niemi return in net, which means, as a reader suggested, that perhaps the best thing to do is play the goalie that has a bad game next, and return them to the bench after their good games. Not exactly an endorsement of either man.

-It’ll be interesting to see which Texan gets drawn, assuming Hemsky can’t play. Much as I hate to say it, Brandon DeFazio has been one of the more consistent Texas Stars. Denis Gurianov and Cole Ully may be more talented, but they’re still sharpening their skillsets.

-Lindell and Oleksiak deserve another look, I think. Jordie is a certified third pairing defensemen. If the prospects can invisibly play that third pairing role, I see no reason not to err on the side of youth and potential. After all, much of the problem in this game came from Dallas’ getting beat in transition by trying to beat LA in the middle of the ice. The most egregious of which came from Oduya, who played his worst game of the season, slapping pucks from his own zone despite zero forechecking pressure, and other illogical things that he hopefully got out of his system.