John Klingberg is having a bad time. He’s lost his longtime defensive partner, has struggled to mesh with a rotating cast of left-side blueliners, is scouted relentlessly by opposing teams, and may have run fresh out of luck on top of it all.
And when Klingberg has trouble, the Dallas Stars have trouble. The shocking own-goal that kick-started Connor McDavid’s first NHL hat trick in last night’s 5-2 loss to the Edmonton Oilers has thrown those troubles into sharp relief. Head coach Lindy Ruff talked about the Stars’ defensive problems with Mike Heika:
"I thought our defensemen didn't move the puck very well, didn't get us the outs. We have some D that are really struggling," Ruff said. "It was a tough night if you start chasing against that team. If you try gambling, their speed will hurt you, but it all starts with our defense. Some of their reads weren't very good tonight."
And while the group of defensemen has to take the blame, the solution starts with Klingberg. He leads the team in time on ice at 22:53, so you can say that as Klingberg goes, so go the Stars.
Or you can also say if the team is struggling, it's going to weigh most heavily on the guy who is out there the most. Teams are attacking the Stars differently, pressuring the defense, and especially pressuring Klingberg. So both will have to learn to deal with that.
There’s more at Mike’s place. [SportsDayDFW]
And here’s Klinger talking about his frustrations in the postgame interview.
The Stars are still doing some things well. The Super Power Play Line of Tyler Seguin, Jamie Benn and Patrick Eaves can show you them.
And feel free to insert your own “Dearest Annabelle” macro here, because like you aren’t thinking it anyway.
#Stars Patrick Eaves extends his goal scoring streak to a career-best 5 games— Sportsnet Stats (@SNstats) November 20, 2016
Other positives: Patrick Sharp looked healthy and played well after missing 14 games with a concussion, and Gemel Smith returns to Cedar Park as NHL material.
And Sean Shapiro was responsible for one of the very few fun things about last night.
Fun fact: the Oilers have 3 players who have their birth year as their jersey #. Nugent-Hopkins (93), McDavid (97), and Puljujärvi (98).— Sean Shapiro (@seanshapiro) November 20, 2016
You already know how this story ends...but you’ll still want to watch Sportsnet’s report on how The Captain went from “a kid to watch but probably not draft” to Olympic gold and the top ranks of the NHL’s elite players. [Sportsnet]
Last night, in #Death:
- Boston found its oft-absent offense as four different Bruins scored on Michael Hutchinson to beat down the Winnipeg Jets 4-1. [CSN Northeast]
- The St. Louis Blues shook off their own slump, with quite a bit of help from goalie Jake Allen, to defeat the Nashville Predators 3-1. [St. Louis Game Time]
- The Colorado Avalanche staged another of their third-period rallies to overcome the coasting Minnesota Wild 3-2. [Hockey Wilderness]
- And the Chicago Blackhawks, with the help of a two-point performance by rookie Vincent Hinostroza, overcame a three-goal deficit to beat the Vancouver Canucks in OT, 4-3. [Second City Hockey]
USA Hockey has posted an update on Dave Strader, who plans to return to his old stomping grounds in Detroit Nov. 29 as the Stars play their last game in Joe Louis Arena. (P.S. You can still send him regards at WellWishesForStrader@DallasStars.com.)
Adam Gretz reflects on the factors that have cost Steven Stamkos some of the best years of his hockey life.
Steven Stamkos and the lost years of his prime https://t.co/EbDbvE9iZP— NHL on NBC (@NHLonNBCSports) November 19, 2016
Also at NBC Sports: Gretz takes a look at the slashing-related injury that has benched Johnny Gaudreau and what it demonstrates about how star players “get all the calls” (they don’t). [NHL on NBC]
Hockey Jesus wasn’t the only player who broke a scoring drought last night: Jaromir Jagr got the ball rolling during the Panthers’ 4-1 win over the Senators. [Silver Seven]
JAGR STARTS THE PARTY!— Florida Panthers (@FlaPanthers) November 20, 2016
1-0 Cats in Ottawa! pic.twitter.com/URxKxgOM8B
At least we know the announcing jinx is a thing for other teams, too.
*Senators' broadcast mentions Jaromir Jagr's scoring drought*— SB Nation NHL (@SBNationNHL) November 20, 2016
*Jagr immediately scores 25 seconds into the game*
You played yourself, Ottawa
And speaking of Jagr, Amalie Benjamin has posted a great long read on hockey’s Most Interesting Man in the World. [NHL]
Meanwhile, Sens G Andrew Hammond is on waivers after saying “thanks but no” to an AHL conditioning stint. Will he make it down to Binghamton?
The Columbus Blue Jackets continue their crazy run with a record-setting seventh consecutive home win – and Matt Calvert scoring the GWG after taking a puck to the forehead. [The Cannon]
The NWHL is in the midst of a financial crisis that’s rapidly turning into a personnel crisis, too. Jen Neale writes that it didn’t have to be this way.
The Texas Stars scored three goals in the third period to take the Rockford IceHogs to overtime, but lost in the shootout, 5-4.
Tucson Roadrunners captain and former Boston Bruin Craig Cunningham collapsed on the ice during pregame ceremonies with the Manitoba Moose. The game has been postponed as the team awaits more word on Cunningham’s condition. [Arizona Daily Star]
My prayers are with Craig Cunningham and his family tonight. One of a kind guy— Tyler Seguin (@tseguinofficial) November 20, 2016
Thoughts and prayers for Craig Cunningham and the Cunningham family— Justin Dowling (@therealjdowls) November 20, 2016
Finally: Hockey Twitter is just the best. And the worst. It’s the best and the worst.