This game had all the earmarks of a game the Stars like to win. It was against the Washington Capitals, who the Stars rarely lose against (the game in January being the lone exception going back at least six seasons). Winning against the Capitals would break the Capitals home win streak, and the Stars are notorious streak breakers.
Of course, it’s still the Stars. Most notably, it’s this season’s Stars post deadline sellers.
But hey! They won! Let’s tweet about it.
1. This was not the only time this happened
The utter disregard for #8 on PK is just amazing. Good on Kari for bailing them out.— Brad Gardner (@bradgardnerDBD) March 7, 2017
This was on the early penalty kill. The Stars left Alexander Ovechkin in front of the net, all alone, just waiting to capitalize on the right pass at the right time, until he was stoned by Kari Lehtonen’s blocker.
You know what would have been great? The Stars not leaving Alexander Ovechkin completely uncovered right in front of the net.
The actually happened throughout the night, and another notable example is the goal from Niklas Backstrom.
Backstrom deflects a great pass to him in front of the net from Shattenkirk to make it 3-1. Backstrom's 21st of the season. pic.twitter.com/3honfbJupM— Dylan Nadwodny (@dnadders) March 7, 2017
A kingdom to the person who can tell me exactly what Stephen Johns was covering there.
The Stars sold key pieces of the defense at deadline, and are left with a lot of the guys they’ve been sitting in the press box all season. Maybe it’s a chance to prove themselves, and but maybe it’s just giving them enough rope.
2. Not actually the weakest link
The undoing for Dallas last time vs Wash was penalty trouble. As much as anything else, they have to stay disciplined in the second half.— Josh Bogorad (@JoshBogorad) March 7, 2017
They didn’t remain completely penalty-less, but the Stars also didn’t give the Capitals a lengthy chance at a 5-on-3 goal the way they did last time. In fact, both sides were perfect on the penalty kill and pointless on the power play. I’d rather have the one than the other, so I’m actually fine with having a perfect penalty kill.
What I’m not fine with? Cody Eakin’s two penalties. The first came when he cross checked TJ Oshie right in front of the Stars goal. Such a classic cross check that Eakin actually broke his stick on Oshie’s shoulder. The second was this goal tender interference call:
Cody Eakin called for goalie interference. pic.twitter.com/qrmpJhJr2E— Dylan Nadwodny (@dnadders) March 7, 2017
I’m having a “what would you say you do here” moment, because this was a pretty boneheaded play.
So yes, the penalty kill was perfect, but it would probably be better if the Stars didn’t give teams so many opportunities on such weak penalties.
3. Holtby’s kryptonite
Holtby's odd struggles vs. Stars continue. He entered game with 0-3-0 record, 4.42 GAA and .852 save percentage in 4 career starts vs. them.— Tom Gulitti (@TomGulittiNHL) March 7, 2017
The Capitals have been a dominate force in the East for a bit of time now. The Stars have been, well, normally better than they are this year. But for some reason, the Stars have had the Capital’s number for all of Holtby’s career between the pipes. He’s never beaten the Stars. That game in January that they won in overtime? Philipp Grubauer was in net. Going back eleven games against the Capitals, the Stars are 10-0-1.
I’d like to start a petition to only play the Capitals the rest of the season.
4. Let’s look at those numbers, if you want
Kari gets an A+— Brad Gardner (@bradgardnerDBD) March 7, 2017
<looks at Corsi numbers>
That's the end of the analysis
The shots on goal are pretty deceptive, actually.
Adjusted for score and venue, the Stars had better possession throughout most of the game, with the obvious uptick for the Capitals as their home win streak drew to a close.
Not adjusted for score, the Capitals had 59% of the possession at 5v5. Given the Stars 8 minutes of penalty kill time and 4 minutes of power play (two of which saw not a single shot from the Stars), it’s safe to say that this didn’t have the feel of a game the Stars should have won.
Playing with a depleted roster and limping along toward the finish line though? I’m a little less concerned with how pretty the wins are. This isn’t the roster I expect they start next season with.
5. Streak killers
The Stars are streak killers this year:— Owen Newkirk (@OwenNewkirk) March 7, 2017
Flyers' 10-game win streak (snapped)
Cap's 15-game home win streak (snapped)
Here’s something to be proud of. Yes, the Stars like to give players their first goals and first points and first shut outs. This is a thing. You know what else they like to do? Ruin records. Two times this season the Stars have killed record-breaking streaks.
6. Proud papas
If the Stars play like this in front of their dads, can we keep them in Dallas until the end of the season?
Point of interest: this is Adam Cracknell’s first opportunity to bring his dad along on a father’s trip. He hasn’t spent an entire season with an NHL team previous to this. Patrick Sharp brought his brother along, though I’ve yet to see a picture that proves he’s as handsome as Patrick Sharp.