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Game 61 Afterwords: Bad Team Beats Worse Team after Losing Good Player

I miss Patrick Sharp pre-emptively now.

Dallas Stars v Arizona Coyotes Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

You may have heard something about Patrick Eaves being traded, but you never would have known it by the look of the Stars’ power plays Saturday night, or at least...well, okay, yeah. You noticed it. We all did, but thankfully John Klingberg found himself in the traditional Eaves spot, and he made the Eaves shot. In Eaves’s honor, I think we can assume. Come back soon Patrick, okay?


Alex Goligoski was a great player for the Stars, and you’ve already decided what you think of the trade that brought him here originally. But when you think of what the Stars were when they got him, what they were forced to be when they had him, and what he was forced to be for almost his entire tenure, it’s kind of amazing. Alex Goligoski was acquired to be a top-flight defenseman, one day. That day arrived, but we only partly noticed, because he wasn’t as big as Brent Seabrook.

In less exciting post-Dallas news, Kevin Connauton bonked Antoine Roussel in the face with his stick right in front of the officials after play had stopped, but no call was made, because it is Antoine Roussel’s face, and that is the reason (also it was kind of not the biggest of bonks). Right after that, Jamie Oleksiak’s stick accidentally hit Dvorak’s nose and drew blood, and there you go: four minutes. Hockey, you are not always just.

Esa Lindell supplanting John Klingberg on first power play is odd, but not because it’s necessarily a bad idea. It’s because Lindell hasn’t always been given power play time this year, often sitting on the second unit in favor of Jordie Benn and/or Dan Hamhuis. So, to have Lindell go from fourth in the depth chart to leading the top unit is just a bit mystifying. There are, it seems, things going on that we can’t always understand from our point of view. Lindell also could use some time to understand better his role on said power play, because he was a little static-y at times on the man-advantage. I know you don’t want him shooting every time, but he still has a nasty bout of the deferrals every now and again. Rookies probably just get that, sometimes.

Radim Vrbata scored a goal that ticked off Eakin and in, but hey, Eakin would make up for it with perhaps an even more stultifying goal for the opposing netminder. More on that later.

Yes, the byproduct of Lindell atop the power play is a 2nd power play unit with Jason Spezza and John Klingberg. Well, hey, that’s one way to fix a unit that never showed up this year. I’m still fairly certain that a power play unit without Seguin or Benn has scored only once this entire year, but we’ll go ahead and say that Klingberg fixed them, for now.

Devin Shore scored his 10th off a 4-on-2 that thankfully wasn’t a 3-on-0. Props to Esa Lindell for not hesitating before jumping up to grab a loose puck at the blue line and lead the rush (and head to the net). Shore’s shot was, of course, a beauty, hitting the top glove side of the net with perfection, but the biggest props go to Jiri Hudler, who passed back towards his own net again in terms of vectors, but only in a very minor sense, so it worked out.

Kari was swimmy at times in the first. He got better as the game went on. Also, it’s the Coyotes, so...nothing. It’s the Coyotes.

Martin Hanzal, himself wise to the ways of the Stars, did well in a muddled second period to remember that Jordie Benn is the current holder of the Trevor Daley Skates of Lore, which is to say that goals sometimes go in off of him for no good reason. Which is the more ageless wonder: goals banked in off Jordie Benn, or Radim Vrbata goals against Dallas? We have many years yet to discern this question’s answer.

Ah, Tim Peel. Only you could vehemently say that you saw a puck cross the goal line when it most certainly did not ever come near to crossing the goal line and kind of everybody knew it. I am sure Tim is a nice guy who tries to do a great job, but man. He’s had himself some moments in his career, eh? That said, he absolutely nailed the delay of game call on Oliver Ekman-Larsson, even though you almost never see that called. Larsson totally did that on purpose, and that’s a penalty. It’s nice to see at least one official who treats obscure penalty calls as sincerely as linesmen treat faceoff violations. At least, I think it’s nice. I might also hate it. Tough to tell after a win, to be honest.

Mike Smith is definitely a goalie who likes to be “involved,” and while his performance over the last few years isn’t necessarily something that makes his involvement a good thing, he was doing his best to strafe the Stars Friday. From throwing a check to trying to doink Jamie Benn with the butt end of his stick late in the second period, Smith was definitely not afraid of letting the Stars know that he hasn’t yet forgiven them for trading him for Johan Holmqvist (as I’m sure he remembers it), and so that’s why....wait a minute, that was Louie Domingue? Seriously? cuts to tape of Jamie Benn goal Oh. Right. Yeah, okay, that’s a kid. Mike Smith would definitely have chucked his blocker at Benn on the way back to the bench.

There’s not much to say about that third goal other than the fact that Jordie Benn and Jamie Benn hooked up for a goal, and that Max Domi almost earned a penalty shot on a Jamie Oleksiak slash right afterwards to tie it right back up. No, okay, that’s not important. It was cool to see a brother moment with the Benns, especially with one of those fake icing plays that never work. (really though, they never work.) Jamie Benn, man. Nice of you to show up.

The Lauri Korpikoski goal was about as much of a gimme as you’re going to see, but still, it’s good to see him keeping pace with Adam Cracknell. I believe that is to whom we’re supposed to be comparing Lauri “Flash” Korpikoski, correct? He is making the same amount of money as Patrick Eaves, but I don’t know if that means anything. Anyway, goals against the Coyotes still count, technically. This was an entire game against the Coyotes, and it still counted, too. Technically.

Cody Eakin also scored a goal of nominal importance in this game, though I’m still not sure how. I suppose the fact that the puck was fluttering, wasn’t shot hard, and came basically at the glove hand confused Smith--er, “Domingue”—but goodness knows goals are goals, and Eakin can use every one he can find. Playing with Jamie Benn makes that kind of a given, or it should. There are 21 games left in the season, by the way.

Ultimately, this was a game played against one of the two teams in the league worse than Dallas this year. Dallas won. That’s what should have happened, and that’s what did happen. Dave Strader got to call another Stars win, and perhaps that’s what really should keep happening forever.