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Stats Recap: In Which the People Who Led the Dallas Stars Are Not Who You Think

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The Fak 'Em line got both huge goals for the Stars, but it was some other players who had the best nights when it came to creating chances.

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Remember when we said that on paper, this was a coin flip of a series? Well the Dallas Stars came up heads on Friday night as they opened the second round against the St. Louis Blues with a 2-1 victory at the American Airlines Center.

Despite the low score total, this was a Stars-style game with a whole bunch of shots attempts and dangerous scoring chances. That is reflected in the team statistics, pulled from the fine folks at War on Ice.

Team All Sit CF All Sit CF% All Sit SCF All Sit HSCF 5v5 CF 5v5 CF% 5v5 SCF 5v5 HSCF
Dallas Stars 72 51.4 39 20 62 52.1 34 18
St. Louis Blues 68 48.6 30 13 57 47.9 24 11

That's pretty darn even, both at even strength and with all special teams considered. Both teams had ebbs and flows (and the Stars were definitely the aggressor early), and where the Stars really set themselves apart was their ability to find dangerous shots rather than simply outside shots. Even in the third, when the Blues pressed for the tying goal, the Stars out-chanced them 13-8 and only lost the high-danger chance battle 5-4.

(It is worth noting here that the Blues lone goal came on a low-danger, outside shot. Sometimes hockey is gonna hockey.)

Where it really gets interesting for me is the individual statistics, all tallied from hockeystats.ca. The narrative of what lines played well and what lines struggled is based on the only line that actually produced offense, but it doesn't match up with the lines that were creating the most chances.

Player All Sit CF All Sit CA All Sit CF% All Sit Zone Start 5v5 CF 5v5 CA 5v5 CF% 5v5 Zone Start
Kris Russell 16 29 35.56 33.33 14 23 37.84 33.33
John Klingberg 36 18 66.67 50 16 12 63.64 35.71
Jason Demers 20 28 41.67 33.33 18 22 45 33.33
Patrick Sharp 24 13 64.86 61.54 16 13 55.17 50
Radek Faksa 14 23 37.84 33.33 14 19 42.42 40
Mattias Janmark 16 10 61.54 66.67 16 10 61.54 66.67
Jamie Benn 29 18 61.7 52.94 21 15 58.33 38.46
Patrick Eaves 21 3 87.5 72.73 13 3 81.25 57.14
Cody Eakin 16 17 48.48 38.46 14 13 51.85 38.46
Antoine Roussel 15 21 41.67 36.36 14 17 45.16 44.44
Colton Sceviour 18 21 46.15 80 17 17 50 80
Travis Moen 13 16 44.83 66.67 13 16 44.83 66.67
Stephen Johns 17 22 43.59 81.82 17 22 43.59 81.82
Alex Goligoski 26 19 57.78 35.29 26 14 65 35.71
Vernon Fiddler 12 17 41.38 66.67 12 14 46.15 66.67
Johnny Oduya 21 20 51.22 60 21 17 55.26 69.23
Ales Hemsky 16 26 38.1 36.36 14 23 37.84 36.36
Jason Spezza 30 11 73.17 71.43 22 11 66.67 60

All hail Jason Spezza, our shot-creating overlord. And please don't be broken for long this time, Patrick Eaves.

On a more serious note, this does illustrate an interesting difference in the eye test and possession metrics and perhaps the value of using large-sample-size metrics like shot attempts in any individual game. Still, it's very interesting that the Antoine Roussel - Radek Faksa - Ales Hemsky line struggled to create shots but had the only two that really mattered. Make of that what you will.

The Stars are also continuing to shelter the heck out of Stephen Johns, and his possession metrics indicate that's the right call at this point. John Klingberg and Alex Goligoski, meanwhile, had no problems doing what they do, at least for one game.

The Blues lineup also featured some notable possession variation from some of their big guns.

Player All Sit CF All Sit CA All Sit CF% All Sit Zone Start 5v5 CF 5v5 CA 5v5 CF% 5v5 Zone Start
Carl Gunnarsson 17 19 47.22 20 16 17 48.48 22.22
Joel Edmundson 15 17 46.88 40 15 17 46.88 40
Steve Ott 10 14 41.67 20 10 14 41.67 20
Scottie Upshall 13 18 41.94 16.67 12 16 42.86 16.67
Jori Lehtera 19 17 5278 85.71 19 16 54.29 83.33
Robby Fabbri 19 12 61.29 54.55 14 12 53.85 54.44
Jaden Schwartz 22 117 56.41 78.57 17 17 50 75
Jay Bouwmeester 22 17 56.41 78.57 22 23 48.89 58.82
Alexander Steen 20 21 48.78 46.15 15 20 42.86 50
Patrik Berglund 14 21 40 20 14 17 45.16 20
Kevin Shattenkirk 22 26 45.83 72.73 20 25 44.44 66.67
Paul Stastny 19 13 59.38 50 12 11 52.17 56.25
Alex Pietrangelo 30 33 47.62 50 22 25 46.81 58.82
Kyle Brodziak 13 19 40.62 14.29 12 17 41.38 14.29
Troy Brouwer 18 11 62.07 42.86 13 9 59.09 50
David Backes 14 25 35.9 50 12 20 37.5 57.14
Colton Parayko 25 18 58.14 33.33 19 17 52.78 36.36
Vladimir Tarasenko 23 18 56.1 84.62 21 17 55.26 81.82

I just don't get the feeling David Backes enjoys playing against Jamie Benn. Maybe it's the whole USA-Canada thing. Maybe it's that Benn has a radar that seems to pick up exactly when Backes has lost defensive awareness of his position. Whatever it is, he continues to struggle against Dallas.

Kevin Shattenkirk (again, a goal scorer - go figure) and Alex Pietrangelo also didn't have anything to write home about despite very favorable zone starts. And Blues coach Ken Hitchcock continues his strategy of sending Tarasenko out almost exclusively in offensively-favorable situations.