Last night in the Scottrade Center, the Dallas Stars committed highway robbery and stole a point from the dominate St. Louis Blues. And thank goodness they did.
1. Everyday I’m Rufflin’
Hamhuis healthy scratch. Spezza on 4th line.— Bruce LeVine (@BruceLeVinePuck) November 29, 2016
Cue Talking Heads:
"This ain't no party, this ain't no disco, this ain't no fooling around"
The Ruffle Shuffle was back in action last night as Dan Hamhuis was scratched in favor of the young guns on the blue line, Esa Lindell, Julius Honka, and Jamie Oleksiak. The forward lines were also shuffled, Jamie Benn played left wing to Radek Faksa and Brett Ritche while Tyler Seguin centered Antoine Roussel and Patrick Eaves on the top line.
This has been a pretty brutal November in an injury riddled season for the Stars, 16 games in 30 days. Something has to be done to continue to inject life into the lineup, and luckily Lindy’s generally got some interesting ideas.
2. Lazy, tired mistakes
Dallas has got to start winning some road games. They look like they're at the end of this road trip not the start.— DefendingBigD (@DefendingBigD) November 29, 2016
Interesting ideas which didn’t seem to help this game. The Blues seemed to have the Stars number from the start. While the Stars eventually made it to 21 shots on goal, more than midway through the second they only had 5. The Blues dominated possession and generally seemed to be skating circles around the Stars.
The game last night was the first in a back-to-back, they play in Detroit tonight, but you couldn’t tell last night was the night they’d actually gotten a good night’s sleep. There were some tired mistakes, like John Klingberg passing straight to a Blue in the neutral zone, and some lazy ones, like every Star on the ice stopping play before the whistle, giving Alex Pietrangelo the opportunity to score right from under Antti Niemi.
3. Getting kicked while they’re down
Team is ridiculously fragile. One bad thing (1st goal against) and they just stop playing. Been dominated completley since going down.— Bill Simpson (@GunnerStar99) November 29, 2016
This isn’t an exaggeration. After Robby Fabbri’s goal in the first period until Jamie Oleksiak’s first goal in the second, the Stars had four shots on goal. That’s it, just four. In that same stretch the Blues put 13 shots on net. That’s not counting blocked and missed shots, of course, but the Blues also out performed in that area.
No one on the Stars played with any urgency.
4. LITERALLY NO ONE.
One minute to go, goalie pulled, Stars have Faksa, Roussel, Honka and Oleksiak to get the equalizer, and it works! Who saw that coming?— Bruce LeVine (@BruceLeVinePuck) November 29, 2016
They’re not the last-minute-of-play-down-one-goalie-pulled group I would have put together, but it worked. Antoine Roussel has been a possession driver this season and Jamie Oleksiak was having a good offensive game. Sometimes a thing is just so weird it works.
5. Niemi pays for nothing
Niemi does not pay for a bite on this trip for getting a point out of that.— grodysattva (@doomocrat) November 29, 2016
“But he let them score four goals!” I can hear someone thinking, and you’re right. Four goals were scored on him. But let’s look at those goals, shall we?
The first was a tic tac toe from the Blues where his defenders, Julius Honka and Patrik Nemeth, in this case, were completely out-skated. With his defenseman out of play and three Blues players in front of him, Niemi’s got no idea which one the puck will come from.
The second goal came on the power play when Jordie Benn lost Patrik Berglund and everyone (including Niemi) thought he’d already covered the puck, and then David Perron skated right past Julius Honka for a one-on-none opportunity against Niemi.
What did Niemi do last night? Stopped this one, for instance:
Fabbri denied on a breakaway this time by the right pad of Niemi. pic.twitter.com/oBMIbGBc1b— Dylan Nadwodny (@dnadders) November 29, 2016
Honka and Nemeth did not have the best night.
Nemeth made big stops when the defensemen in front of him completely broke down and is actually the reason we came away with a point last night.
6. Somebody fight him
Jamie trying desperately to create a new Blues rival to replace Backes.— Mancomb Seepgood (@Pat_Iversen) November 29, 2016
The fact that Jamie Benn and David Backes are not big fans of each other is pretty widely known. With David Backes off to Boston and the Bruins, it appeared last night that Jamie Benn was looking for a new dancing partner on the Blues. Sadly for him, there were no takers.