The Dallas Stars played their second in a row in southern California last night, with less positive results than the previous night. And I’ll only allow “but it was the second night of a back-to-back on the road” one time while compiling these tweets, so get it out now.
1. Don’t give in to hope
Matchup to watch tonight:— Josh Bogorad (@JoshBogorad) January 11, 2017
Stars are just 3-11 on the PK over the last 4 games, while the Ducks are 0 for their last 14 on the PP.
Guess which broke first? In the second period, John Klingberg gave the Ducks their third opportunity of the game to overcome their recent power play duds, and Jakob Silfverberg became the power play hero Anaheim deserved.
And I say deserved because the Stars pk looked a lot like they really wanted the Ducks to get over their recent man advantage slump. The Stars are a team of givers.
2. In updated injury news
Jamie Oleksiak will not return to the game with an upper body injury. Patrick Eaves also just went to the locker room.— Mike Heika (@MikeHeika) January 11, 2017
Must be another day that ends in y, there are updates to the Stars injury list. Jamie Oleksiak, who apparently was battling an injury that kept him out of all but 18 seconds of the second period, eventually took him out of the game entirely in the third. After the game, Lindy Ruff said he expected Oleksiak to miss “a little bit of time.”
Maj Patrick Eaves was also wounded in battle, after Corey Perry knocked him into an open door. He is not expected to miss any time, but will probably be sporting a pretty epic Corey-Perry-shaped bruise.
3. The “power” in “power play” is misleading
Stars are so uncreative on the power play lately. Half boards either just firing it at the net or trying the cross-ice one-timer to Segs.— Pat Iversen (@Pat_Iversen) January 11, 2017
David brought this up in his excellent recap of the game last night, but it bears repeating. If you missed it, he also wrote an entire article about what’s wrong with the power play.
Dallas is a team that thrives on chaos, and the power play is a situation in hockey that depends on structure. It’s really no wonder that the team is so bad at anything but 5v5. The lack of creativity lately is just another symptom.
4. I’m not saying that’s why ya lost, but it might have contributed
Stars shot selection an exercise in quantity over quality tonight. Side note, Niemi was very good. pic.twitter.com/cPd80ftT0e— Sean Shapiro (@seanshapiro) January 11, 2017
Okay, please note the location of the face off dots in this diagram. Please then note the amount of shots taken by both the Ducks and the Stars between the face off dots and the goal line. While the Ducks have a marked concentration of shots coming from the high danger zone, the Stars are pretty evenly scattered through out the offensive zone.
I’m not saying it’s impossible to score from there. The high slot is basically Tyler Seguin’s home, he loves a good wrister from up there. By the by, you know who has never in his career scored a goal against the Anaheim Ducks? Tyler Seguin. These two things may or may not be related.
What drives me most nuts about games like this is the dude who gets a shutout for having faced 26 shots from distance.— Brad Gardner (@bradgardnerDBD) January 11, 2017
I’m not saying this is the sum total of their problems last night, but it certainly contributed. The Stars have to carry the puck to the net, attack on their rebounds, and many other sports cliches that are cliches because they actually work.
5. This needs to be said
Everybody on the Stars roster owes Antti Niemi a nice dinner.— Holly (@holly_holl) January 11, 2017
Did you think, last season, that we’d spend so much time this season praising the goaltending? Take another look at the diagram in tweet #4, and remind yourself that this game was lost 2-0.
One of those goals came on the pk that no one on the Stars tried to clean up. The second came on some interesting defensive choices from Dan Hamhuis and Jordie Benn, who defended the guys passing the puck but didn’t bother to stop Andrew Cogliano from waltzing right up to the net.
Do you see a theme here though? That green diamond right in front of the net is the Cogliano’s goal. Silfverberg’s isn’t on there because that was on special teams, but it was also right in front of the goal. Because that’s where you have a better chance of scoring from, and good teams know it. The Stars defensive system isn’t built to shut down these high danger chances, because it generally depends on the offensive power on the other side. That’s what happened the other night in LA, that didn’t happen here.
Even with Jamie Benn out, there’s no reason that the offensive power on the Stars shouldn’t be able to win a two-goal game, and Niemi kept them in this game as best he could.
He tried so hard y’all.
6. We’re not even that
Dallas is no one-trick pony; you have to be able to consistently do something to be a one-trick pony. And everyone enjoys watching ponies.— Robert Tiffin (@RobertTiffin) January 11, 2017
What’s it called when you can’t do something consistently enough to even be a one trick pony? Google doesn’t seem to think that’s an official thing, so let’s call it a fail donkey. The Stars are fail donkeys this season.
I was going to say that I’m not one to kick a team when they’re down, but we all know that isn’t true. And they’ve been down so very much this season, it’s hard to stay positive. But you’ve got one night where they score six goals (and let in four) and then the next they couldn’t buy a goal from an adorable child selling goals in his yard at a goal stand.
I’ll grant you it’s the second night in a row on the road, against teams that are actually good teams. But that’s pretty much all I’m going to grant you.