This game might be the most deflating game of the season. The Stars played a solid 55 minute stretch against a team currently on a hot streak. The fourth line scored twice and we only let the Flyers score once on the power play. Up until the last four minutes of the game, it looked like we were finally going to string two wins together for only the second time this season.
Did we? We did not.
1. 4th line strong
McKenzie-Shore-Cracknell... not Smith https://t.co/OTSUb1JTR8— Sean Shapiro (@seanshapiro) December 10, 2016
I like Adam Cracknell, can we keep him?
Dallas' 4th line has scored five goals in the past five games— Derek Neumeier (@Derek_N_NHL) December 10, 2016
In the last few games together, the line of Curtis McKenzie, Devin Shore, and Adam Cracknell has been steady and dependable. With only 27 minutes of playing time together, they’re currently at 53% corsi-for and have scored five goals in the last five games.
While our top six has been missing key players, a nice story about this game is how well that fourth line is trucking along. That’s probably the last happy thing I’m going to talk about, so cherish it.
2. It’s probably all he could reach
Well, here's Radko Gudas trying to head-butt Jamie Oleksiak in the groin. pic.twitter.com/O81huQl99Z— Mancomb Seepgood (@Pat_Iversen) December 10, 2016
I mean, Jamie Oleksiak is really tall. But Radko Gudas is 6 feet and you can definitely see him dipping his head there. I guess that’s one way to check a dude? Oh wait, it isn’t.
For those asking, Gudas's headbutt would be covered by Rule 47: pic.twitter.com/A5zbv9V7ln— Scouting The Refs (@ScoutingTheRefs) December 10, 2016
Gudas didn’t even get called for this move, so that’s how this game went.
3. Before we lay all the blame at the feet of the special team’s coaching
Stars PK missing 4 big names from last year (Fiddler, Sceviour, Demers, Goligoski). https://t.co/TVibYIcCAQ— Matt Pryor (@BigTex1926) December 10, 2016
There’s a lot to talk about with special teams, but it’s certainly worth noting that the biggest names on our penalty kill for the last several seasons, Vern Fiddler, Colton Sceviour, Alex Goligoski, and Jason Demers, were all either traded or just not signed back over the off season.
There’s been a lot of shuffling of the penalty kill units as players come in and out of the line-up, and while there have been units that have been used more frequently than others, it doesn’t seem like anything is clicking as well as it did last season.
So while it may be a system coaching problem, hard to ignore that it’s also a personnel problem.
4. File this under d for deflating
Lehtonen's 5v5 save percentage was 100% today.— Carolyn Wilke (@Classlicity) December 10, 2016
Think about that for a second.
Three power play goals and one empty netter. C’mon y’all.
Dallas has now played 5 good games at 5v5 and gotten 2 wins.— Carolyn Wilke (@Classlicity) December 10, 2016
And anyone who goes "Lol your goalies" hasn't been paying attention.
They’re an easy scapegoat, because we’ve spent a lot of time telling you before this that our goaltending was atrocious. Well it isn’t this year. This year it’s literally league average. Our goaltending is fine. It’s everything else we need to start worrying about, starting with our lack of offense and right up to our defensive system breakdowns. The goaltending is taking care of itself.
5. *tries not to cry* *cries a lot*
It’s December 10 and our longest winning “streak” is still two games. Not that two games is technically a streak. And, even sadder, we’ve only managed to do that one time. Just one.
6. Just need a turnaround
Philly is a blueprint of how fast things can change. 8 games ago had losing record. Now 17-10-3, confident & win games they maybe shouldn't.— Josh Bogorad (@JoshBogorad) December 10, 2016
The Central Division is not as tight a race as it has been in seasons past. And the wild card spots are still within reach. But we’d need to go on this kind of Herculean winning streak to get within sniffing distance of a lock on the playoffs. Can the Stars do it? Am I really suggesting we model our season after the Flyers? Can Jamie Benn save Christmas?