Dallas has modestly rebounded over the last several games. But they have yet to really find, and stake their claim to the groove they once held. Losing Jason Demers for potentially the rest of the regular season doesn't help either.
Nonetheless, they were a few positives along the way all thing considered.
1. What to Expect when Your Goaltender's Expecting
Updated: avg distance of shots faced.— Sean Tierney (@SeanTierneyTSS) March 9, 2016
Gibson, Rinne, Quick face easiest shots.
Lack, Ramo, Lundqvist, face toughest. pic.twitter.com/Y9hcTg33Is
Seems like the Dallas Stars play a little bit more "disciplined" in front of Antti Niemi. Thankfully it's been a reversal of that trend lately, as Dallas has kept the shots and chances to a minimum. Granted, strength of competition and all that, but Kari Lehtonen's improved play has helped the team awake from their 2016 slumber. Still, Kari is facing tougher chances on average, which means it's hard to blame him when his save percentage waxes and wanes.
2. Sneaking Eakin
Eakin's goal is his first since Feb 15, snapping a ten-game drought.— Josh Bogorad (@JoshBogorad) March 9, 2016
I've said before that I actually like Ales Hemsky with Cody Eakin and Antoine Roussel. They're a disjointed bunch in terms of style, but the stylistic chaos kind of works. Eakin would play a very Eakin game; getting good chances, and helping bury some of those chances, but would also be on the ice for some critical goals.
3. More Daddy Issues
Here's the play that knocked Demers out of the game with an upper body injury. https://t.co/S79BxqUmyq— Mark Stepneski (@StarsInsideEdge) March 9, 2016
I've already covered this but by the time you're reading this, chances are, one of Stephen Johns or Esa Lindell will be recalled. Smart money is on Johns. He's right handed, has experience soaking up big minutes on both special teams (as Jason Demers did), and is a big body that allows Dallas to get just a little more physical. He turns 24 in April, so I suspect that Nill and Co. have faith in his puck maturity. And there's a nice little revenge story (assuming a win) for Johns if he ends up playing against the team that traded him this Friday.
4. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Abide
Delayed reaction: what a great play by Russell. Less delayed: see what happens when you shoot, Hemsky??— ldietz (@ldietz) March 9, 2016
Russell continues to be the steady presence we all assumed he wasn't. He made a fantastic defensive effort on a breaking Montreal forward with a great read to play the puck behind his man thanks to the rest of the team playing too deep in the offensive zone. The game would be tied 3-3 thanks to Cody Eakin and Ales Hemsky's even strength work (as has been the case over the last several games). Then the third period happened:
5. Therrien To the Miscue
Michel Therrien finally figuring out that Alex Galchenyuk is a natural center, and that if you play talented players with other talented players, like Max Pacioretty, good things tend to happen. Regardless of whether or they play a pre-cambrian system. Galchenyuk has 15 points in his 15 games at center with Max, and Dallas just happened to be in the way of Therrien's lone miscue.
6. Cedar Park Sparks
Dallas losing to this roster with Scrivens in net is... Not a good sign for them.— Andrew Berkshire (@AndrewBerkshire) March 9, 2016
True, Montreal isn't a good team right now. And Dallas should be able to beat them. But they're reeling from injuries right now. And unlike St. Louis, Dallas isn't the kind of team built for elite consistency. They just don't have the bodies on defense (now, literally) or the goaltending to stabilize a game like that.
Or do they? Right now, Cedar Park is icing a defensive core that has been the envy of the league. Dallas couldn't get Cam Talbot without New York begging for Julius Honka. Honka's not ready, but you could do worse in a pinch. The likely addition of Johns, Esa Lindell, or even Mattias Backman means Dallas gets to get more looks at their young core. Watching them play against the elite will provide management with more informed analysis.
Personally, I like the idea of just beaming up the Lindell-Johns pair for Dallas 3rd duo duty. I feel like Russell-Goligoski, and Oduya-Nemeth can handle those puck taxes just enough to allow Lindell-Johns a smoother transition.