You’re furious. At least, I was steamed after watching that one. Here was Dallas, weathering an early storm against Montreal, seizing the momentum, letting the ever-so-recently concussed Patrick Sharp literally fight their battles for them, and then they went and did something like this, and totally did not redeem themselves.
So, with rage a-bubblin’ and blame unassigned, let’s get to scapegoating.
WHO IS TO BLAME FOR LOSING THAT GAME GAAAH I AM SO UPSET ABOUT THAT HOCKEY GAME WHOSE FAULT IS IT WHO WHO WHO????
Tyler Seguin goofed up in overtime. Yes, John Klingberg forced a pass to Faksa that has no business every being attempted in 3v3 (and especially in Dallas Stars 3v3 overtime, wherein any turnover has a 93% chance of losing the game immediately). But Tyler Seguin just needed to cover his man, and Lindy Ruff was pretty clear about the fact that Tyler Seguin did not do that.
Of course, Tyler Seguin also scored a goal in this game, so it’s not like he was a goat or anything. No, you can’t pin a 4-3 loss all on one player. And that’s why we can look over at
Kari Lehtonen, who let in four goals. Sure, two of them were flat-out breakaways by the Habs’ two best scorers, and gee, maybe that’s not quite what a team wants to do, but hey: Al Montoya was stopping pucks while looking in the exact opposite direction for them in this game, so is it too much to ask Kari to steal some of that dark sorcery just for one game? It was apparently too much to ask. But that’s nothing compared to
Antoine Roussel, who got cold-cocked with an elbow to the head that, had it been given to almost any other hockey player at all, would have seen Alexei Emelin tarred and feathered and put in medieval stocks before Dallas even had a chance to find a new way to bungle the jungle out of overtime. Instead, Gord Dwyer just kind of gave the play a “dunno, seems like hockey” and we all go about our business. Can you remember the last time a player was suspended for hitting a Dallas Star? Was it Matt Martin in March 2015 for trying to sever one of Trevor Daley’s legs? (Martin got one game.) I am not sure, but one thing I do know is that
Curtis McKenzie and Stephen Johns might have just bounced themselves out of the circle of trust tonight. McKenzie’s penalty actually was more of a dreadful call than anything, but his turnover in the defensive zone that turned into a Habs goal was the only kind of bad pizza delivery there is. Johns, meanwhile, looked great at times—his skating on the back end really is needed—but Ruff was ah, rather clear about what he thought of Johns’s decision to try to bank the puck off the glass there. (He did not like it very much!) Of course, he wasn’t the only coach who voiced some displeasure, as
Michel Therrien picked up a bench minor for grousing about the somewhat soft hooking call that would give the Stars a power play—a power play that was the equivalent of a Sinking Lure to the big ol’ fish that is a Dallas Stars’ power play goal by a defenseman! Of course, that power play goal wasn’t scored by
Esa Lindell, who once again got the privilege of watching from the bench while the Stars’ second power play unit tried to get change for a twenty and some directions to the nearest town whilst crowded around a map outside a gas station with screaming children in tow. Thankfully, Lindell would get some meaningful offensive zone time in the end, and he would remind us how nice it is to have a defenseman who can actually do the things inside the opposing blue line that everyone in USA Hockey keeps thinking Jack Johnson can do. Still, Lindell’s goal was barely enough to get even one point out of this contest, as
Al Montoya appears to be treating this year as a “Oh no, surely a nice, shiny team in Vegas wouldn’t want a doddering old fool like me for a goaltender! Why, I can hardly even locate my own skates, let alone remember how to sit atop the ice whilst pucks are sent in my direction!” sort of year. That was a long way of saying Montoya looked absolutely wretched tonight—can’t say I’m shocked he let in 10 earlier this year—but that the Stars never really made him pay his bill in full. Maybe that’s because...
Jamie Benn was missing, but maybe it’s because two other players who have equaled Benn’s even-strength goal-scoring total this season were also absent, and of course I am talking about
Adam Cracknell and Jamie Oleksiak, who surely spent most of this game comparing their wingspans enshrouded in expensive suits and talking about how seriously can nobody reach out and poke one of those Montoya rebounds home? The guy was giving them out like a flubber backboard, and okay whatever, let’s just sit back and hope that Hudler and Korpikoski come out next shift standing on each other’s shoulders inside a giant overcoat holding a tetherball pole. (I am, I should point out, only speculating about this conversation.)
Jordie Benn played hockey tonight, but if you’ve watched any broadcast this season, you are well aware of that by now. I don’t have qualms with him seeing a bit more ice time in a vacuum, but I do have a problem with whatever
Johnny Oduya was trying to defend on that first Pacioretty goal, because maybe the guy who is scoring at a Crosby-like level for the past half-decade should have his shot taken away instead of a defender kneeling down to block the pass down low? I dunno, I’m not the penalty kill expert here. But then, given the Stars’ penalty kill this season, penalty kill experts are not exactly present in Rattata-level abundance in the Dallas area. (Though Rattata-level intellect and execution seems to be quite plentiful on the PK, to be fair.)
So, who’s to blame? Maybe some of those guys, or maybe some others, too. One thing I can say for sure is that the Eakin-Roussel-Eaves line actually looked pretty great for much of this game (especially in the first), and so I’m not blaming them. In fact, Cody Eakin doubled his season points total tonight, so maybe this night deserved some celebration after all!