It’s tough to see the forest for the trees, much like it’s tough to focus on the good that the Dallas Stars had tonight when it’s so heavily outweighed by a bad two-minute span in the third period.
Though the score ended up 3-0 in favor of the Pittsburgh Penguins, the game didn’t really get away from the Stars quite as much as the score may lead you to think. They had two tough bounces in the third period that caused the scoring to open up, but a very good first 40-minute effort tonight.
In hockey, though, you can do a lot to create your own bounces. Dallas just didn’t do enough of that in this one.
Dallas had one of the better looks offensively early in the game. Denis Gurianov came streaking down the right wing side and spotted Tyler Seguin driving towards the net down the left wing side. With Matt Murray squared to who he thought would be the shooter, Gurianov sent a cross-ice pass right into Seguin’s skates. It was sent with some force, and careened off his skates and just beyond the reach of his stick. Instead, Mattias Janmark, who was also heading towards the net, got a good look at the same open net Seguin would have had, and just couldn’t get enough on the shot to make anything of the play.
Seguin just can’t buy luck these days it seems.
Overall, the period felt like it belonged to the Stars with more time spent on the offensive side of the ice. The Penguins did a very good job at blocking shot lanes in their own zone and keeping Dallas to the perimeter, though, so there weren’t many high danger chances to be had. They limited the traffic in front of Murray, giving him clear lines of sights for the saves he did have to make.
Esa Lindell took a puck to the face as he laid his body out to block a shot. It’s a move defensemen make a lot in games but this time he just happened to get turned over towards the shooter at just the right time as the puck was getting released. Sometimes that shooter is Sidney Crosby.
Esa Lindell takes a Sidney Crosby shot directly to the face. Returns for the next period with a full face shield pic.twitter.com/FSuvNWXR4f— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) October 27, 2019
He walked off the ice and down the tunnel holding a towel to his face. The ice had to be scraped to remove blood.
Dallas began the second period on a power play thanks to Andrew Cogliano’s skating drawing an interference call with 1:07 left in the first. While the Stars didn’t do anything with the extra attacker, they did get one good thing out of it. That was the return of Lindell to the ice, rocking a full fishbowl, after taking the puck to the face in the first period.
The power play tonight was rough. In their chances, Dallas always seemed to lose the opening faceoff and then spend 75% of the remaining man advantage just trying to get into their own zone.
Dallas continued to push the offensive pace, but they would take a scoreless game into the third period while leading 22-11 in shots on goal.
The Penguins found their offensive game plan to start the period and really took it to the Stars. They were much more cohesive in the offensive zone, and did a better job at protecting the puck to keep pushes from being one-and-down, like many of them had been to start the game.
With a little less than half of the period left, after getting outshot 10-1, Ben Bishop came out to play the puck and flubbed it right behind his own net. He hit the ground in a snow angel pose after a shot on the goal by the Penguins, and thought he had the puck underneath him. He did not. The puck squirted out and Dominik Kahun opened the scoring with an easy netter.
Not long after, Bishop couldn’t quite get across his crease to cover the opposite post, and Bryan Rust was able to make a wraparound attempt work. The puck went right through gap between Bishop and the post. Erasing all of the previous game’s effort, the Stars found themselves down 2-0 fairly in the span of under two minutes.
Dallas just didn’t play a full 60-minute game tonight. What’s frustrating about that is that it felt like the first 40 minutes of work should have been rewarded with some kind of offense for the effort. However, the last 20 they did not play as if they should have received the favorable outcome, and they got the resulting loss.
For the 10th game in the first 13 of the season, Dallas has scored less than three goals in a game. It was the second time they’ve been kept off the scoresheet altogether. Whatever the mentality when it comes to scoring, it needs shifting in Big D.