Giving up three goals that quickly, and to the Senators, is embarrassing. Giving up five goals to any team is humiliating. This team has whole heap o’ problems, but their system isn’t working, their special teams haven’t won games for them, and they can’t stay healthy enough to overcome the obstacles they’ve faced. Guy Boucher’s Senators sat back and waited for opportunities, and they gladly conceded shots to the Stars while generating goals of their own.
The first goal was fun, if you were the puck. The Stars Vaunted Penalty Kill allowed passes through the box with generous indifference, and the Senators finally finished off the inevitability.
The Senators’ second goal was a lost faceoff and a screened goalie. FACEOFFS are interesting things to think about, but they are so random that I just can’t care about them much. Even the best players lose 40% of the time, and more in their own defensive zone. We at like good players just win faceoffs at will, but the fact is that everyone is guessing and trying to outguess the linesman and the opposing center. It is bad to lose facoffs, but it is worse to think that they are controllable to any great degree.
Kari wasn’t great. I don’t really think he torched the team, given how many good chances Ottawa was getting when they needed them, but sure. Craig Anderson was better. The goalies, it seems, are a problem for Dallas. We should look into that more.
Jamie Oleksiak fought/embraced a guy who checked a guy, so that’s something, I guess. Also, he took a holding call (one of a few soft-ish calls on the night). Is the expansion draft over yet so we can stop talking about him and Johns?
The third goal was a continuation of the shooting gallery Kari had been subjected to all game. It would have been nice for the third defensive pairing to have sorted out any of the Everything that was happening in the low slot, but what can you do? Kari just needs to stop every shot from everywhere from now on. This is my solution.
Remi Elie was reward with a stint on the top line with Spezza and Seguin, and he assisted on Seguin’s goal. I am very happy for Remi, and not just because his name makes me think of the best Pixar movie. Also, Spezza had 7 shots on goal and has been scoring a lot lately. Nice to see him coming back to life after a rough season.
It’s hard to believe Sharp is truly hurt, given how he flew down the wing in the second period and caught up to Kelly midway through the third on a breakaway. Certainly he must be dinged up, but still. If that’s an untradeable Sharp, can you imagine how useful the Healthy Sharp would have been this season? Probably more useful than Cody Eakin’s mustache, at least.
The best intentional play of the Stars’ power play was probably made by a stickless Ales Hemsky, who used his skates to greater effect controlling the puck than do far too many of his teammates with their sticks. Spezza’s goal was nice in its result, but it was a lucky goal, really.
After the goalie switch, Dallas controlled play for a while. Unfortunately, they didn’t do nearly enough to corral the deficit before the Trusty Penalty Kill cut their legs out from under them again. It wasn’t really a dangerous shot that they gave up, but a great tip and insufficient space-control led to a fourth goal of the game on the first shot Niemi faced. I am beginning to wonder if the Stars’ penalty kill wouldn’t be better run by those typewriter monkeys as soon as they’re done finishing the Divergent spinoff series.
Here is a Broadcast Observation: Razor tends to be fairly critical (I mean that literally, not only negatiely) of Ales Hemsky and extremely uncritical of Cody Eakin. Razor went out of his way to talk about a puck that Hemsky should have let go on its way to Hamhuis, a turnover by Hemsky, and a puck lost by Hemsky in the offensive zone. On the other end of the spectrum, Cody Eakin’s decision-making has been very rarely criticized this season, as he is generally lauded for his hard work and faceoff somethings and how he plays all the tough guys lately and is keeping pace with Jordie Benn in the goals department and such. The broadcasters work for the team, so I’m not expecting them to rip guys while they’re down, but still. It’d be nice to balance the verbal culling among the lineup, eh? Hemsky hasn’t even gotten his locker nameplate mounted again and he’s already being characterized in a certain way. It wasn’t his best game, but it just struck me as odd how much he seems to be mentioned in a less-than-complimentary way. Of course, Eakin got more power play time tonight than Benn or Spezza, so maybe Razor is just following the coaching staff’s lead. No shame in that. If a player is getting Tyler Seguin minutes on the power play, he’s clearly doing something right, right?
Here is a Different Observation: will Hemsky catch Eakin in points by the end of the season? I am taking bets on this. Also, I am extremely biased towards Hemsky, and I will say that up front.
Stephen Johns is a skilled player, but it wasn’t skill that caused the puck go into his own net off his stick. It appeared to be, in fact, the stick of Remi Elie, which hit Johns’s stick just as the puck hit it. Razor (I love Razor, for the record) blamed Antti Niemi for “basically kick[ing] the puck into his own net.” That is not what I saw, but I guess Niemi is the new scapegoat, so that’s good enough for me. I don’t want to rain on the Elie parade or anything, but can we really not describe what actually happens because it ruins a nice rookie narrative? That seems cowardly. Elie was great in this game, at times, but we don’t need to whitewash players’ games. The truth is always only the enemy of the lie.
Before the season, Craig Anderson was one goalie I thought the Stars could pick up at the trade deadline. That scenario clearly assumed some different standings than the ones we have right now, but you can see where that would have been nice. Oh well. Oh well. Oh well.
Your empty-net power play lineup tonight? 14-91-90-3-5-20. Why? Well, he’s in left field, so I don’t know. Just because.
The Stars, man. They lost to the Senators, again. The Ottawa Senators. But it was a hockey game, and we got to watch it. Well, we watched it.