Before we begin the comedy of errors, first off, a big congratulations to Jason Spezza and his family who welcomed to the world their newborn baby girl to the fold.
Now back to our regularly scheduled sniping.
The LA Kings were an incredible 8-1 in back to back games. Still, statistical voodoo should have been no match to the way Dallas had been playing, which was to say, like usual, but slightly more composed. Unfortunately individual errors, some subtle, and some not so subtle, allowed LA to walk all over Dallas.
1. Russell in Rubble
The so called "big story" of the very first shift was Kris Russell. Right away the "Corsaiti" (a name that I hope was created ironically) celebrated, of sorts. As much as I love the work of analysts like Travis Yost, and Dimitri Filipovic, coming out in full polemic force for one period after having 6 previous games to do so felt a little bush league, but it's not like history isn't on their side.
Regardless, it was a very memorable period for Russell. I'd argue that it was a little overblown though. On the second goal, Russell simply fell down due to whatever on ice micro event horizon occurred in order to trip him up with no one near his tectonic shifting snowglobe. On the third goal, Anze Kopitar just did some Anze Kopitar things. Going back to the first goal, Russell is definitely motivating the comedic ruckus. He lazily clears the puck, which results in the turnover, and then skates right next to Alex Goligoski who doesn't need help taking Kari Lehtonen's eyes away.
Then again if you have to dedicate 80 words to apologizing for a player's gaffes, maybe they're not so overblown. Still, the 1st period shouldn't be considered an indictment of Russell's value. After all, his partner...
2. Goose Abuse
Wasn't much better. Goligoski would end up with the worst CF % among defenders on the team (3rd worst overall). Both guys struggled early. When your default top pair is striking out one after the other against one of the best (if not the best) teams in the league, you're not gonna have much success.
3. Enslave Percentage
Of course, a defender's mistakes become more pronounced when the defender has no backup. Kari Lehtonen's save percentage would up a supernaturally bad .636 Percent.
You can't really hang Kari out to dry on this one since that's exactly what the defense did, but it just goes to show you how frail this team can be. Neither goalie has established themselves as the 1A/1B duo Jim Nill envisioned. They haven't always had help, but this tandem is not for the feint of heart.
4. Strife from the Gnome
This game was pretty much over after the first period. I didn't stop watching the game, but I think I had functionally checked out when I realized I could catch up on reruns of the Three Stooges.
It's important to keep in mind that this game was a game of errors both small and big. Cody Eakin once again started the game with Jamie Benn and Patrick Eaves on his wings, and once again did nothing to justify his presence on their line. After the first period, he had a team worst 28 Percent Corsi For. By the end of the game, his Corsi For Percentage had improved. To 29 Percent.
Obviously, no player is the sum of their advanced stats. But we're not creatures of detail. We're creatures of compartmentalization and generalization. Advanced stats force us to consider the story within the details. And the details aren't flattering.
5. Perpetual Puck Cannibalism
What you're looking at is LA vs. Dallas in hyperspeed, but with way less metaphors than you might think. Dallas would score the most perfunctory goals; so perfunctory they would have been invisible if not for the convenience of appropriately placed Kings players. Part of the problem was the sheer amount of blown passes among forwards and defenders. If I went back and tallied every single possession, I'd bet a good chunk of my rent that you could count the amount of tape to tape passes on one hand. It was uncharacteristically bad for Dallas.
6. Last Action Zeroes
Well, with the exception of the Antoine Roussel-Radek Faksa-Ales Hemsky line (Jamie Benn with Radek Faksa pretty please with sugar on top, Mr. Ruff?). They were Dallas' best possession forwards despite tough zone starts. Well, that's a lie. They weren't. But only because forwards like Brett Ritchie and Vernon Fiddler were ridiculously sheltered by comparison.
Stephen Johns is also worth mentioning (best possession defender), as he is once again settling into his role with Johnny Oduya. He started to play a little more aggressive the way he began during his tenure in Cedar Park, but he didn't overdo it like Patrik Nemeth, and almost potted one as a result.
Dallas is still 1st in the Central. And they've managed to stay afloat at the top without John Klingberg, Patrick Sharp, Jason Demers, now Mattias Janmark, and Jordie Benn. It's important to keep that in mind while combing through the JUST SHOOT part of your fan brains. But it's hard not to wince over some of the individual play; especially if those specific plays influence where Dallas is sitting when the playoffs roll around.