Well, sadness and Patrick Eaves, which is still kind of sad. The Dallas Stars traveled to Montreal yesterday to take on the Canadiens in the first game to pit Jamie against Jordie. That storyline was bigger before the game, honestly. Their ice time rarely matched up and neither came close to fighting the other, as some predicted. For some reason.
Anyway, we lost another game. We’re out of the playoffs. Entropy continues. Let’s tweet about it.
1. At least we weren’t shut out.
Exactly as he’d planned, probably. Curtis McKenzie scored the lone goal against Carey Price on a rebound off the glass. The fact that this flukey goal was the only one to break the bubble that Price casts around his net is just about perfect, in its own way. Even more perfect would have been any four of those close up chances the Stars had for the rest of the evening.
2. We’re prescient
The play by both Lehtonen and Price feels unsustainable. Something's* going to give.— DefendingBigD (@DefendingBigD) March 29, 2017
*Its Lehtonen. Because Stars 2016-17.
Yes I know it’s the DBD official account, but that isn’t the only reason I’m highlighting this tweet. Yes, the play felt unsustainable, most excellent goaltending performances do when it’s a scrambling mess in front of the net and make no mistake, there were scrambling messes in front of the net.
For all the Stars failures on the ice last night, they weren’t unreasonably behind the Canadiens in shots on goal. They also had some really good chances right on top of Price:
Unfortunately, the tweet is correct, and the Dallas Stars gave long before the Canadiens did.
3. For the last time
Including tonight Kari Lehtonen has stopped 122 of 127 shots faced over the last five games.— Josh Bogorad (@JoshBogorad) March 29, 2017
This point is making the same point that the previous point did, but I’m short on tweets so I’m leaving it separate. The problem, as I believe a lot of people have finally accepted, isn’t Kari Lehtonen. And yes, I do know that I’m saying this after a game they lost 4-1.
But even still, it’s the opinion of this fan that you can’t pin that on Lehtonen. Would it be nice if he was better at blocking breakaways? Sure. Would it be EVEN BETTER if the rest of the Stars were able to stop them before they got started? Yes. So much yes. I’m nodding as I type this, that’s the level of yes. Two of the four goals last night came on a breakaway, and two came on complete lack of defensive competency.
Imagine what this season would have been like with this year’s Kari Lehtonen and last year’s forward and defensive roster. The stuff Stanley Cups are made of.
4. I think I’ve buried the lede long enough
Jamie Benn and Jordie Benn out there at the same time with Stars on a power play.— Mark Stepneski (@StarsInsideEdge) March 29, 2017
Jordie and Jamie Benn played each other for the first time in their lives in last night’s game, and even managed to share some ice time. It was an infinitesimal amount of ice time, but it was there just the same.
There was a lot of press about this match up, of course.
"I'm sure she's pretty nervous. We'll see what happens out there."— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) March 28, 2017
It's going to be an interesting night for Jamie and Jordie's mom. pic.twitter.com/TYaZCEpHJK
I, for one, completely believe that Jamie is better at hockey and Jordie is better at life. I do wonder how Jamie’s fish are doing without Jordie there to feed them.
5. There’s very little upside here
Daily xG Chart - DAL vs. MTL 2017-03-28 pic.twitter.com/j4bIKa7zqX— DTM About Heart (@DTMAboutHeart) March 29, 2017
xG is a model for predicting goals for, which is somewhat complicated but if you’d like you can read about it here. The real point is that it is has a better correlation between it and goals scored than most other measurements, including possession. (Although, I can tell you that the Stars ALSO lost the possession game, just in case that was information you were desperate to have.)
You can also tell this from the basic stats the NHL puts out. Blocked shots were 26-16 in favor of the Stars, which is a good indication the Canadiens had possession of the puck a lot more frequently.
6. But wait, that’s not the right team
Patrick Eaves just scored his 28th goal of the season at 1:37 of the 1st period, putting Anaheim up 2-0 at Vancouver.— Owen Newkirk (@OwenNewkirk) March 29, 2017
Patrick Eaves is now nine points ahead of his next highest point total and the Anaheim Ducks are headed to the playoffs. I wish success for the Ducks wasn’t tied into the draft pick we received in return for him, but here we all are, rooting for the Ducks.