Jamie Benn set a milestone in franchise history, and Radek Faksa continues his string of intelligent two way play. Dallas got out early not to a lead, but to a glimpse of how they expect to play during the playoffs. With the added weight, they're doing more shoving than usual.
Before we begin the tweetdown, I'd just like to say how much I hope Arizona puts together a solid supporting cast around Anthony Duclair and Max Domi. Opposition or not, if you love hockey, you should love watching those two. Thankfully Dallas played superior hockey.
1. Max Hazy
I'm kind of liking the pattern for these tweetdowns: one rookie does something really cool and assertive, and then another rookie does something really cool and assertive.
This time it was Stephen Johns going Probert on Domi. Max that is. The hit itself was more or less illegal, but given Johns height, it was impossible to hit him any other way. The nugget of note here is that Johns kept his arms closely tucked. He knows how to be brutal without being barbaric. This wasn't Radko Gudas or anything. The first thing casual fans have been whispering is #2 of old. I don't think Johns has much in common with Hatcher other than being physical and tall. Granted, Hatcher was no plug: he put up five 30 pt seasons during his Dallas Star tenure. But to say that there are shades of Hatch isn't exactly wrong.
2. Depth Roaring
Patrick Eaves becomes the 12th double-digit @DallasStars goal scorer this season.— Josh Bogorad (@JoshBogorad) April 1, 2016
Depth scoring is something Dallas hasn't taken for granted. Youth is no guarantee of puck innovation. Fun fact: the Sceviour-Fiddler-Eaves trio posts one of the highest CF percentages of ANY trio on Dallas roster: 56%, Eaves himself is the best possession player among forwards on the team. In other words, we love you guys in Cedar Park, but the veterans have earned their keep here. It's not like Ruff "can't work with youngsters"*.
3. Statistics and Gravy
But even if youth doesn't guarantee puck innovation, it crawls out on occasion. Only Faksa isn't crawling. He's rolling. I decided to take a look at Domenic Galamini's WARRIOR charts. Despite looking simplistic, these things are packed with #fancystats old and new. So I decided to look at Radek's compared to another checking line demigod, Sean Couturier.
It's funny to see how he projects to score a little more, as well as suppress goal scoring against him just a smidge better than Sean. Again, small sample size and ice time play a critical role but not anyone can put up these numbers. It helps that he's getting his chances in the slot. A lot.
Again, if you're unsure how to read these, numbers are weighted against an average of 0. Red means active, so you want to see positive numbers on the left with lots of chicken pox. Blue means inactive, so you want to see negative numbers on the right that looks like a hextally chart wearing a police uniform. Defensively (right chart), Faksa is helping eliminate chances from the point completely. There's a little more action down low, but nothing crazy. Offensively (left chart), he's not getting a ton of volume, but there's serious quality. In other words, Ballistics and Gravy is for real.
4. Banner Year
When all is said and done and they build a statue of Jamie Benn outside the arena, I hope it depicts Bambi transforming into The Hulk.— Holly (@holly_holl) April 1, 2016
What a surprise: Radek Faksa is on ice with Jamie Benn, and Jamie Benn scores. Faksa didn't earn a point but he played a huge part. And then Jamie did his. Benn is now the only 40 goal scorer in franchise history, bested only by Mike Modano, who hit 50 in the 1993-1994 season. He's now 3 goals behind Alex Ovechkin.
5. Score Neglect
The third period was a done deal. Despite the score effects, Arizona never did much to push the action. They did institute some. Colton Sceviour got into a fight standing up for John Klingberg, and then Jordie Benn decided to get in on the action against some AHL'er. Jordie has had a yard sale before. Awhile back he and Colton Gillies rearranged each other's hippocampus with a "what's defense?" scrap. Antti Niemi was solid even though he wasn't challenged as much.
6. Suturing Up the Future
Micah McCrudy put together a nice little graph on playoff bracket odds, and what's expected to happened from there. There's no question that Dallas is rolling. A potential first round matchup with Minnesota sounds like a good test for Dallas. Still, there's just enough hockey to be played to make these last handful of games interesting.
*This can finally die, right? By my count, John Klingberg earned first pair defensive duties and quality ice time in his first stint in the national hockey league. Radek Faksa has earned the coveted checking line duties fans hoped for and quality ice time in his first 41 games in the NHL. Stephen Johns has earned top four defensive pair duties and quality ice time in his first 10 games. Mattias Janmark, and Valeri Nichushkin-oh fak'it. Goodnight.