It’s been a tough stretch for Dallas. They’ve played well overall, but the results haven’t aligned much with their efforts.
Against Chicago, the floodgates didn’t open per se. They just sort of cracked. And it was enough to earn two points, and regain a wild card spot.
There were a lot of things to watch: Hitchcock’s frankenroster, whether Honka would break his three second rule (just joshing), special teams, secondary scoring, Oleksiak in Pittsburgh, Alex DeBrincat, and whether Brent Seabrook’s contract has finally morphed into Venom’s symbiote on Bowman’s cap friendly page - through it all, Dallas came through.
On to the tweetdown:
The Stars include Die Hard in their Christmas movie montage because the Stars aren't dumb people from dumb world.— Mark Lazerus (@MarkLazerus) December 22, 2017
I’m glad Chicago’s beat writers started off by talking about relevant topics because there wasn’t much going in the first several minutes. Dallas and Chicago looked like two teams hanging on to the wild card playoff spot by a whisker. The chances were minimal, and neither team was in the mood for an episode of #Starsing. Until..
Bottom Six Gracility
I don't think I ever had Remi Elie penciled into the top 6, but alrighty then I guess lol.— Aaron Skywalker (@Aaron3675) December 21, 2017
Like a lot of people, I’ve had harsh words for Dallas’ utility players playing beyond their roles. But even before Remi Elie made his NHL debut, I was fairly glowing about him in my profile recap: it’s not enough to be well rounded in today’s game. You have to have at least one elite tool to benefit higher skilled teammates. Granted, passing is not one of them, but Elie can skate. And by “skate” I don’t mean move fast in a straight line where anyone can look fast. I mean skate with cruising speed, acceleration, pivots to inform positioning, first steps to counter rush, top speed to break ankles, stride power to bust through poke checks, etc - all the things that smooth skating actually is as opposed to the heuristic it isn’t.
I’ve clearly lost my train of thought doing a handstand on my soapbox, but I’m just saying - let’s keep Elie. But let’s keep things in perspective too.* All in all, it was a great effort that allowed Jamie Benn to pot his 9th of the year.
Raphaelle, This One’s For You
Roussel was still wearing the hospital bracelet this morning after the birth of his daughter on Wednesday. Said he was planning to keep it on during the game.— Sean Shapiro (@seanshapiro) December 22, 2017
The second period may not have technically been all-Dallas (Chicago won the shot attempt battle 22-20), but the goals began to flow like the salmon of Capistrano.
Roussel broke through with a deft deflection off a Dan Hamhuis point shot. It’s never not welcome to see Roussel score against Chicago. Especially as a punctuation to the birth of his daughter.
It was also a great night for the Fak ‘Em line. One game won’t convince me that Faksa is being completely optimized, or that the lines in general should be beyond reproach, but Radek Faksa makes his teammates better, and when his teammates can do things all their own, then it’s just icing on the Czech cake.
#NHLBruins #BostonBruins #Bruins #BruinsFam TYLER SEGUIN signed autographed Boston Bruins jersey PROOF Dallas Stars Segiun - $159.95 End Date: Saturday Jan-20-2018 18:35:38 PST Buy It Now for only: $159.95 Buy It Now | Add to watch list https://t.co/jdfaMsIjDJ— Boston Bruins Fans (@BruinsViews) December 22, 2017
Julius Honka made a nice pivot in his own zone, forcing Ryan Hartman to take a penalty. On the power play - and back to the 4 forward/1 defenseman setup no less - Tyler Seguin stayed patient on the backhanded to make Corey Crawford bob for ice apples.
Seguin wasn’t content, quickly putting himself on hat trick watch when Devin Shore came out of the corner and drove to the net, allowing Seguin to grab the rebound. It was a fantastic period for basically everyone involved.
The Stars and Blackhawks have played 3 times this season and Chicago has held a lead for 0:00 combined.— Bob Sturm (@SportsSturm) December 22, 2017
Dallas went into the patented shell with a four goal lead (just one goal away from the “most dangerous lead” of course). Nothing much happened. There were some penalties, and some chances, but for the most part Dallas played exactly the kind of game they wanted, and Chicago played exactly the kind of game their cap hits restrict them to.
(Not) Too Old for This Grit
With the win, Ken Hitchcock is now 3rd in wins all time. Not a bad day’s work for the man who had some intelligent words to say about Patrick Sharp’s scratch, and who probably owes Barry Trotz the next round of beers given the tradecraft they engage in at obscure Canadian honkytonks.
- *Neghead take: to quote our own Robert Tiffin himself quoting Eramus, “"It is salutary to be faithful in small things, but it is fatal to put your trust in them”. Dallas has gone too many games without secondary scoring for one game of helpful secondary scoring to invalidate the general pattern of no secondary scoring. Sorry readers - my parents got into town late, so I could be in a better mood.
- Benn at center has been a mixed bag for some fans. I like it. Not because I think it takes the maximum advantage of Benn's abiliites, but because without an elite playmaking center beyond Seguin, it potentially fixes a future issue. Benn, Seguin, and Faksa down the middle is brutal for opponents if Dallas can just fix their problem at wing.
- Speaking of, Dallas had a momentary scare when Tyler Pitlick left the first period. Robert and I tried to convince Wes (on the podcast that Vodka Aunt was kind enough to set up) that maybe it’s enough to have a right winger playing right wing, regardless of ‘earning potential’. Wes is right because he’s a really bright dude, but it’s more than a little crazy to think that losing Pitlick - not even a top six winger - would decimate the Stars right wing position. Just saying.
- John Klingberg once again sits atop the NHL defensemen scoring race, and there’s nary a peep from media outlets about it. I don’t really care about that, as Dallas is a market that’s largely ignored, and therefore suffers the consequences of small market team syndrome. But it’s the Norris. You have candidates and then you have everyone else. It’s kind of hard to keep Klingberg in your blindspots here. Yes, he turns the puck over. But this is just what we call the availability bias - when you turn the puck over, it’s like a tornado, crashing Bill Paxton’s (RIP brother) jeep; the ease with which it creates destruction (a successful counter rush) is mistaken for its frequency (actual amount of successful counter rushes). Klingberg can be better, but let’s not Subban the man - the Stars are lucky to have him.