It’s all fun and games until you realize the Dallas Stars are going up against the San Jose Sharks rookie goaltender when they historically don’t do well against rookie goaltenders. At least it wasn’t his first game.
Let’s tweet about it.
1. I can still hear that guys delivery of this line
DeBoer to Ruff pregame discussing the nights matchup: "Dude, you're getting A. Dell."— Josh Lile (@JoshL1220) March 21, 2017
For any of you alive and watching TV during the early 2000s, “Steven” was the “Dude, Where’s My Car?” era spokesman for Dell.
Which doesn’t have much to do with the hockey game, except that Aaron Dell’s name is . . . Aaron Dell. A Dell. A DELL.
Now that I’ve beaten that joke into the ground, his game was pretty impressive last night, eh? The Stars didn’t challenge him too many times, but he still pulled out some very impressive saves. Including this one on Brett Ritchie:
This glove save is almost un-dell-ievable. pic.twitter.com/7TXbizVIrn— San Jose Sharks (@SanJoseSharks) March 21, 2017
Aaron Dell is a rookie this year, backing up starting goaltender Martin Jones. He’s played 17 games this season, posting a 10-6-1 record and an incredibly impressive .936 save percentage and 1.85 goals against average.
Given the Stars’ tendency to perform incredibly poorly against rookie goaltenders, I’m impressed they scored on him at all.
2. The beast is real
Sharp hit Lehtonen with a high shot in warm ups. Lehtonen said that "woke the beast."— Sean Shapiro (@seanshapiro) March 21, 2017
On the other end of the ice, Kari Lehtonen quietly and furiously pitched his way to the first 1-0 shut out in five seasons of Stars and the 36th shut out of his career.
I say furiously because when a team, as a whole, gives up 72 shot attempts to the opponent, they certainly aren’t trying incredibly hard. That’s a point for another number, however. For Lehtonen, let’s just dwell on his renaissance and the fact that Jeff Reese has done wonders for his game.
3. Child’s play
Curtis McKenzie's goal was his 5th of the season and 9th of his NHL career. Many forget he averaged a goal every 3 games in his AHL career.— Josh Bogorad (@JoshBogorad) March 21, 2017
Curtis McKenzie, like fellow agitator and crease encroacher Antoine Roussel, loves to park himself in front of the net and tip goals in. And that’s exactly how Adam Cracknell and Curtis McKenzie connected for what ended up being the lone goal in the game last night.
Cracknell, despite having former Star David Schlemko completely in his grill, managed to throw the puck towards the waiting McKenzie, who tipped it past Dell for the goal.
As is tradition.
3. Big Rig fails to move his feet
Know why Oleksiak sometimes fails at the easy zone exit? Because he's standing still.— DefendingBigD (@DefendingBigD) March 21, 2017
Jamie Oleksiak failed to impress many on twitter last night with his lack of puck (and person) movement. Watch the clip of McKenzie’s goal again in the number above and notice how ineffectual his movement is. Oleksiak, though he has his moments, fails to impress on a consistent basis.
Given that Stephen Johns was a healthy scratch last night, it’s hard not to read expansion draft omens into roster choices. Which of these two would you protect? My money would be on Johns.
5. Defensively awful
Final #SJSvsDAL Stats:— Owen Newkirk (@OwenNewkirk) March 21, 2017
Goals: 1-0 DAL
SOG: 30-20 SJS
SAT: 72-50 SJS
*QSC: 14-11 SJS
FOW: 28-26 DAL
BLK: 21-16 DAL
The line I especially want to point out here is the SAT line. This is the NHL’s version of corsi, or shot attempts. (Different from shots on goal because it includes blocked shots and misses.) The average SAT per game is 55. The Stars got 50 on the Sharks with two power plays that were less than stellar. The Sharks had 72 shot attempts.
To be clear, this was not a well played defensive battle between two teams.
I’m pleased as punch that they won, but this was another to be filed under “games they wouldn’t have won without Kari Lehtonen.”
6. A very good dog
After rappelling down from the rafters, Patty was presented as a service dog to Cary Flatt, a US Army Special Forces Green Beret. Happy Veterans Appreciation Night!