If you watched the Dallas game against Winnipeg, you probably weren't looking at a team removed from their January slump. Which is fine. A superficial boundary like what month it is shouldn't shield Dallas from their own mistakes and gaffes that have been accruing for over a month.
Victory is sweet. But you're less likely to repeat victory with bad habits, and Dallas is still making plenty of inexplicable plays. However, when this happens, there's always one guy you can count on to stay in his home. Well, usually. And that's the goaltender. Thankfully Antti Niemi was everything Jim Nill paid for and then some.
1. Needs More Ruffling
Stars lines in warm-ups:— Mike Heika (@MikeHeika) February 3, 2016
When the game started, the most noticeable absence was the lack of Roussel-Janmark-Hemsky. Spezza, Eakin, and Nichushkin didn't exactly raise the roof, but Eakin at wing was a reasonable experiment. The good news is that Ales Hemsky just went ahead and did his thing anyway. He tallied several beautiful chances in basically the same spot, and once again confounded the Jets' D with raw speed. The first period wouldn't turn into the alcohol poisoned period the second would become, but it was another case of Dallas giving up quality chances.
2. Still Not Special Teams
Dallas Power Play once again opting for a bad plan today versus a perfect plan yesterday.— David Castillo (@DavidCastilloAC) February 3, 2016
I promise I won't make this a habit. Using my own tweets and all, but my post from yesterday about their Power Play problems was very much an 'I told you so' moment that I rarely get to experience. Granted, it would be shortlived, but still. The first Power Play of the game saw shot from the point after shot from the point with very little formation setup beforehand. In fact, Arik Parnass over at Special Teams just put together some work on how bad perimeter shots are, and what the "perfect" shot really is (a one timer near the center, but just above the faceoff dots). Dallas can't afford to let these chances slip away, especially if this back and forth, trade punches with no gloves game that was played last night.
I didn't mention the penalty kill because what's the point? Really it was just a bad goal by Niemi, but that molasses movement won't get it done against Chicago or Washington.
3. Power in Play Formation
If Seguin had done that on Saturday he would've won the hardest shot competition.— Josh Lile (@JoshL1220) February 3, 2016
Seguin would end up smashing the puck on the next Power Play. Lo and behold, Dallas kept their composure. Set up shop. And then managed to dish the duck to Seguin with movement. It's the kind of play Dallas is capable of when they're on. I'm not sure about first unit personnel. Having one defender instead of two has never been the issue in my opinion.
4. 2.5 on 0
Just got sent this video because the goal still isn't on the app yet. That's embarrassing for the Jets. pic.twitter.com/WTo61O4LNf— I Also Go By Ann (@merrinish) February 3, 2016
Yes this happened. And yes Robert, I'm stealing this subheading.
To be honest, Dallas was lucky Winnipeg was coughing the puck up so much. This play, courtesy of Murphy's Law, happened after a Dallas 2 on 1. John Klingberg is more or less back in the swing of things. I'm not sure what to say here. So you should just put that clip above on replay. Although I'm curious. What exactly was Cody Eakin gonna do here? Seems like going to the bench would have been a better option. I guess he wanted the best seat on the house.
5. 'Phenomenal and Fortunate'
Let's face it. Niemi played a hell of a game. But he had some smooth criminals backing him up as several Jets players either whiffed, or hit iron. There were at least two easy breakaways offered to Winnipeg because Dallas' D-men decided to make the game more adventurous. Luckily, the Jets players had to get past the only defensemen who knows how to stay at home.
6. Hail to the Kling
And there you have it. Antoine Roussel would be the man to wrap it up with his empty netter literally seconds after Winnipeg hit the post and was pressuring. On to some stray observations...
- Colton Sceviour eventually sat out after returning to play following a brutal (the only type when it comes to Dustin Byfuglien) hit that saw his head slam against the boards.
- Speaking of Dustin, count me in as one of those who would like to see him in victory green, but not at the expense of the team's heavier futures. He's flawed, and the fact that Dallas PK is so awful means #Starsing would take on an even more hysteric connotation with the amount of penalties he takes. But that's the essence of my argument; if you're gonna play a high event game like Dallas, you might as well go all the way.
- Jokipakka got hammered in the shots differential. Jamie Oleksiak wasn't too far behind. I don't have anything insightful, clever, or even mundane to say here. I just can't wait to do more window dressing when it comes to Dallas' blueline prospects.