Well, a game was certainly played last night.
1. A prophetic tweet
Stars have definitely won time of possession so far...but that doesn't win games. Goals do.— DefendingBigD (@DefendingBigD) February 10, 2017
This was tweeted in the first period of last night’s game, but it held true for the entirety of the evening. There was not one point last night that the Ottawa Senators possessed the puck more than the Dallas Stars. For proof, a graph:
The Stars ended last night’s game with 59% of the possession over three periods at 5v5.
You know that classic line from the NRA: “guns don’t kill people, people kill people?” Eddie Izzard, in his Dressed to Kill show, had a great follow up: “the gun helps!”
Possession doesn’t win games, goals win games. But possession helps!
Had Jiri Hudler not scored an own goal on an empty net, they’d have been tied after two. Had Jamie Benn not hit a crossbar, had they not had the worst power play in the first . . . The possibilities are endless.
But at the end of the day, the official Defending Big D account is right. Goals win games. Keeping goals out of their own net wins games. All the positive possession in the world won’t help that unless their shots find the net.
2. Spoilers: I was right
I'm pretty sure we just took sole possession of the most short handed goals against.— AnnMerrinAnnMerrinAn (@merrinish) February 10, 2017
Nine times this season, the opposing team has scored on the Stars while the team has the man advantage. Nine times. That, friends, is good for first in the league for goals allowed while on the power play. For a while the Stars were tied with the Philadelphia Flyers with 8 goals, but they’ve done it, friends. They’ve pulled ahead to first.
At least they’re leading in something this season.
3. Can you believe this happened
"Where were you when the drop pass disappeared from the NHL?"— Pat Iversen (@Pat_IversenSBN) February 10, 2017
"It was just like any other night. The Stars were in Ottawa ... "
At first, I couldn’t figure out how this had happened. The Stars have an empty net on a delayed penalty, how can the Senators score? They touch it and the whistle gets blown, right? Why is this goal standing?
Jamie Benn clearly fought so he could spend rest of period in locker room and not have to watch that.— Sean Shapiro (@seanshapiro) February 10, 2017
And then, the awful truth is realized. Jiri Hudler with the drop pass to the defenseman who just wasn’t ready or expecting a drop pass at all.
Well, that is just something else, isn't it....— Owen Newkirk (@OwenNewkirk) February 10, 2017
No one is tracking own goals that I can find, but I feel like any list that accounted for style and sheer level of horror would have to include this one.
Hey look Huddler scored a goal...— Billy Reynolds (@beepeearr) February 10, 2017
All I know is . . .
Time to go on airplane mode. Don't let anything historically awful happen while I'm in the air— Erin (@ErinB_DBD) February 10, 2017
This is all her fault.
4. We should be used to this by now
Funny game this: 1st period Stars carry the play, allow two awful goals. 2nd period, Sens have more QSC, Stars score twice and tie it up.— Owen Newkirk (@OwenNewkirk) February 10, 2017
It’s certainly a very Starsy way to lose and Micah Blake McCurdy at hockeyviz.com confirms Owen Newkirk’s eye test:
Even the raw counts of shots on goal for the second period favor the Senators at 11-14. The Stars maintained positive possession because corsi also counts missed and blocked shots.
It’s true that the Stars win games they should win and lose games they should lose, but it also feels true that they win games they should lose, based on all measurable metrics, and lose games they should win. This happens to every team but it feels like it happens more to the Stars.
5. Something’s gotta give
Stars have now given up 3 goals or more in 12 straight games.— Bruce LeVine (@BruceLeVinePuck) February 10, 2017
Twelve straight games. In seasons past, it could be depended on that if the Stars could just keep the opponent to three goals against, they could win the game by outscoring their opponent. We’ve talked about this before, you and I.
Unfortunately, the one thing the Stars could always depend on in seasons past it failing them this season, and that’s their arsenal of offense.
The highest goal scorer on the team right now, Tyler Seguin, is just at 20 in 55 games, which is a .36 repeating goals per game average. The last two seasons his gpg average was .46 and .52 respectively. That’s a significant drop off in production.
Jamie Benn has 17 goals in 51 games, which is an average of .33 goals per game. The last two seasons he was .50 and .43.
The top scorers aren’t getting the job done every night, and the rest of the forwards remain in flux as the team deals with the rotating roster of injuries.
There’s also the matter of giving up that many goals to address, obviously. The first goal came on an abysmal power play, the second goal was on an own goal. Two goals that could easily have been avoided, probably, by actually having a good power play unit and, you know, not drop passing into their own net.
The third, well. Clean up your rebounds, boys.
6. Just a hint of irony
Alex Goligoski scored a shorthanded goal for Arizona tonight. The level of irony this provides Stars fans is inconsolable.— Tom Dorsa (@TomDorsa) February 10, 2017
The way Alanis Morissette means it. Miss you, Goose.