In this season of Thanksgiving, let us remember to give thanks for the important things: like the Stars losing the corsi battle but somehow winning the game. Hey, I’ll take it.
1. GinJa is back in the line up!
I’ve decided to not bury the lede. Let us also give thanks for the healthy return of Cody Eakin, lost before the pre-season even started to a knee injury sustained during training camp.
The Ginger Ninja had a quiet but good game. He failed to record a point in his first game back but he did win 65% off his face offs and was . . . let’s just say middle of the pack possession wise. Which isn’t saying much, since Dallas’ CF% was a measly 33% at even strength. We really should have lost. Also there were nine penalties but one of the goals against was short handed, so really, we should have lost.
But yay! Cody Eakin’s back!
2. Dearest Annabelle, I’m a featured tweet on DBD
The date is November 17: Patrick Eaves leads the Stars with 8 goals. Tyler Seguin has twice as many assists as goals (14:7) Go figure— Bruce LeVine (@BruceLeVinePuck) November 18, 2016
An excerpt from the collected letters of Maj. Patrick Eaves to his wife: Dearest Annabelle, though our hearts be weary our aim is true. I have no misgivings about the cause in which we are engaged, and my courage does not falter. I had no small part in our victory today, but it is mostly due to the bravery of my fellow officer Maj. Lehtonen that this letter finds you at all. He stood tall and true and his girls will be proud of his courage and steadfastness when he returns from the front. I think of you often, Annabelle; your love is a boon to my soul in these dark times.
We are lucky this letter survives.
But weirder things have happened, surely, than versatile forward Patrick Eaves leading the team in goals, which also puts him at 10th in the league. The man is on a four game goal streak. I say wrap him in bubble wrap and just let him go for it.
Tyler Seguin being pass-y instead of shoot-y is directly correlated to his linemates and the fact that he hasn’t been playing with former center for the Dallas Stars Jamie Benn. He’s been with Eaves (who is, again, leading the team in goals) and Antoine Roussel, who is also having a banner start to the season, but who are also true wingers and therefore expect the center (in this case Tyler Seguin) to set plays up for them. It’s interesting to see this effect so strongly on the score sheet.
3. Some teams would kill for average.
Through yesterday, Dallas' 5v5 Sv% was 92.29— Carolyn Wilke (@Classlicity) November 18, 2016
League average is 92.3
Our goaltending this year has been fine-ish. https://t.co/qajWw0c7N2
The Stars goaltending is what it is. Yes, there have been some absolute stinkers of 8 goal games. I watched them, I know. But consider this: some teams are well below where Dallas is. They are beneath the Stars, looking up at their average, and coveting it.
Because here’s the thing, while the Stars are getting literally exactly average NHL goaltending, they’ve had six of our top nine forwards out of the line-up. Two of them returned this week and the games were still somewhat dismal, but you know what wasn’t? The goaltending. Niemi kept us in the game on Tuesday but can’t score in OT. Lehtonen had some absolutely huge saves on Nathan McKinnon last night that would have been devastating to the Stars.
The trick is to get all of the parts moving at the same time. This is still the goaltending that got the Stars to the second round of the playoffs last season — and forced that Game 7 against St. Louis.
4. I can’t even disagree with this
Klingberg can use a night in the press box imo.— Brendin Axtman (@starsfan24) November 18, 2016
John Klingberg has not looked like John Klingberg since the beginning of the season. Maybe he’s missing the veteran presence of Alex Goligoski more than we realized. Maybe he misses having a regular d-partner. Maybe it’s all the rookies at forward that he can’t figure out. Whatever it is, the decision making skills don’t seem to be there this season.
Maybe a time out would do him some good? Lindy Ruff has used the press box as a reset button before. It has certainly helped Jordie Benn’s game in the past. Maybe a view from up high will do whatever re-wiring needs to be done in that great hockey brain Klingberg has.
5. There’s a stat you don’t want to lead in
Stars give up fourth shortie of the season and Colorado cuts Dallas lead to 3-1. Dallas tied for most SHGA with Philly.— Mike Heika (@MikeHeika) November 18, 2016
Philadelphia, by the way, is a team that would kill for the Stars’ save percentage.
If you’re tired of hearing about how many forwards they’ve had out and you know, because I’ve told you, that you can’t blame the start of this season on goaltending, the next biggest scapegoat you can throw around is the special teams.
Dallas is middle of the pack on power plays and have an 18.1 percent there, but they’ve also given up 4(!) short handed goals against on those power plays. The penalty kill is currently 26th in the league at 77.8%. The Stars are also, interestingly enough, leading the league in power play opportunities.
Some of the struggle goes back to the missing forwards and the inexperience of the forwards on the second unit power play. Last night it was a really bad bounce and Jordie Benn not being able to recover the puck in the Avalanche zone.
Whatever it is, the Stars have got to get better on both ends.
6. You can’t take your foot off the gas
Dallas is one full step behind Colorado this period, both mentally and physically— Derek Neumeier (@Derek_N_NHL) November 18, 2016
You know that first time that Brian raced Dom in The Fast and the Furious and he didn’t really get what the nitrous was all about so he blew it early and eased up at the finish line as Dom blew past him?
Yeah, that’s the Stars. Sometimes they’re Brian, watching the Canucks blitz past them in the third. But sometimes, like last night, they win anyway.
+1 Because sometimes it’s more than just a game
After the game, Patrick Sharp tweeted out that they’d given the game hat to special guest Nathan, for being so strong. Nathan’s family has set up a Facebook page about his journey with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG): Nathan’s Journey With DIPG.
It’s good of the Stars organization to recognize a special kid. You can read more about his journey and the cancer he’s traveling with on the page, but take this as a reminder that for some people, it isn’t just a game.