The Dallas Stars out-shot the Nashville Predators 35-21 on Wednesday night. Headlines were written about Pekka Rinne. Lindy Ruff was generally positive about his team's overall play. Many saw it as a case of missed opportunities.
"Our energy was good, our breakouts were good, just need to clean up a few mistakes," Ruff said. "We moved the puck better. The time in our zone has gone down and now the shot ratio is going up again."
The numbers say the Stars, while carrying a +14 SOG advantage, only attempted two more shots than did the Predators (52-50 in all situations) and 28 of the 52 came in the second period. 17 of those came in the second half of the second period.
Outside of that, the Stars did not threaten. They could not find their way through the Predator neutral zone in a flat first period that saw the home team build a 1-0 lead that allowed them to settle into their desired modus operandi- And Pekka Rinne was happy to oblige.
Defensive miscues continue with an ever-evolving group trying to figure out how to play together, or sometimes just with whom they're playing. They're looking for consistency while trying not to fall too far behind in the ultra-competitive Central- But they've lost 13 of 21 and time is starting to become a bit of a factor.
An optional Thanksgiving day practice did not yield much in the way of news. Jiri Hudler is making strides toward his return with another day on the ice with his teammates. The defense will continue to be the story.
When our heroes last met Vancouver the Canucks had dropped ten of their last eleven contests and talk of change was circulating. Since, they've used their 5-4 win over the Dallas to right the ship a little bit, earning points four of their last five, including a pair of wins over the Phoenix Coyotes by a combined score of 7-3.
Loui Eriksson had the game-winner Tuesday night in Glendale and Ryan Miller stopped 35 of 36 shots faced to give the Canucks just their second road win of the season. Arizona wound up with a monster 69-46 advantage in shots attempted on the evening. Three of Vancouver's four tallies came in a three minute span early in the second period, after which they would not score again.
Read this analysis of their performance of late by the associated press, instructing the Stars of what line to look out for...
"Horvat's line, which also features Sven Baertschi and Alexandre Burrows, accounted for an impressive eight points in that road win against the Coyotes.
And that performance, along with several other recent strong showings by that trio, has not gone unnoticed by Canucks coach Willie Desjardins, a former Stars assistant.
"I've liked that line for three or four games," Desjardins said. "I think (Burrows) helps them. He talks to them a lot, helps them prepare for shifts. And the other two guys have lots of talent."
The Canucks currently have a minus-17 goal differential, making them one of only two teams in the Western Conference who currently have a worse differential than the Stars, who are minus-16." [AP via Yahoo]
A little pumping of Vancouver's tires there. A little jab at Dallas. We'll see if the embattled Stars can answer their critics later tonight.
- Ryan Miller
- Jacob Markstrom
From Stars PR:
BY SEA, LAND, AND AIR WE PROSPER
The Dallas Stars and Vancouver Canucks meet for the second of three games during the 2016-17 season on Friday night at American Airlines Center. In the first meeting of the season on Nov. 13 at Rogers Arena, the Canucks defeated the Stars in overtime, 5-4. Forward Tyler Seguin notched a game-high three points (0-3=3) and forwards Patrick Eaves (2-0=2) and Antoine Roussel (1-1=2) each recorded multi-point outings. Dallas has collected points in 11 consecutive games (10-0-1) against the Canucks and have won six-straight games (6-0-0) on home ice against Vancouver. In the most recent regular season meeting at American Airlines on Nov. 27, 2015, the Stars defeated the Canucks in shootout, 3-2. Forward Patrick Sharp tied a game-high with two points (0-2=2) in the contest, with captain Jamie Benn (1-0=1) and forward Jason Spezza (1-0=1) each recording goals. Goaltender Antti Niemi stopped 34-of-36 shots to help secure the victory for the Stars.
THE BIG RIG
Defenseman Jamie Oleksiak registered an assist (0-1=1) on Wednesday night against the Predators and has points in two consecutive games (1-1=2) for the first time in his NHL career. Oleksiak's helper against Nashville marked his first assist since Dec. 4, 2015 at Edmonton (0-1=1). On Monday night against the Minnesota Wild, he potted his first goal of the season (1-0=1) and his first goal since Oct. 28, 2014 vs. St. Louis (1-0=1). During the 2015-16 season, the blueliner recorded two points (0-2=2) in 19 games with Dallas. He registered 54 hits with the club and finished third on the Stars with 2.84 hits-per-game. The native of Toronto, Ont. was originally selected by Dallas in the first round (14th overall) of the 2011 NHL Draft and has registered 14 points (2-12=14) in 85 career NHL contests. In three career games against the Canucks, he has recorded five penalty minutes and two shots.
SHARP DRESSED MAN
Forward Patrick Sharp potted a shorthanded goal (1-0=1) against Nashville on Wednesday night and recorded his first shorthanded goal since Feb. 2, 2012 at Edmonton as a member of the Chicago Blackhawks. Sharp also tallied his first point since returning to the lineup on Nov. 19 vs. Edmonton after missing the previous 14 contests due to concussion symptoms. In seven games this season, the forward has recorded two points (1-1=2) with 17 shots on goal. The native of Thunder Bay, Ont. is riding a three-game point streak (3-2=5) against Vancouver, recording two multi-point games over that span. Sharp has a two-game point streak on home ice (2-2=4) at American Airlines Center against the Canucks and has 21 points (13-8=21) in 34 career games against Vancouver.