Dallas Stars forward Tyler Seguin had a hand in all three goals scored by his team tonight. He netted two of them and helped set up the other. Since January 1, no player has had more of an impact on the Stars winning than the dynamic forward.
Seguin has had seven multi-goal games this season. Five of those have occurred since the calendar flipped to 2019. Before the new year hit, Seguin was shooting at a 7.5% clip, a rate well below his career shooting percentage of roughly 11%.
Here’s the fun thing about statistics - they always migrate towards the mean. He was never going to shoot that low, much like his current ~17% shooting rate isn’t going to sustain itself either. But if there’s a moment on the schedule where you want to see your best shooter hit a hot stretch, the back half of the season might be it.
Is this the embodiment of the Stars inability to score much on the road? If not, it’s a true contender:
Luckily, Dallas actually did score in the first period, thanks to a very nice setup by Roope Hintz to Tyler Seguin, who was streaking towards the front of the net and able to redirect the puck past Roberto Luongo. Dallas’ (now) 25 goals in the first 20 minutes of games sits dead last in the league - and it’s not even really all that close. The Los Angeles Kings are the next lowest at 34, nine more than the Stars.
It’s just another way in which to look at the Stars’ inability to score, no matter the situation.
The rest of the period was kind of boring, to be honest, outside of the goal scored. It looked like two teams feeling each other out. With the teams playing in opposite conferences, and this being the first matchup between the two this season, that’s not entirely unsurprising.
Stars fans would have preferred to see their team really take control and dictate their game against the Panthers early in the first period. The Panthers, 11 points out of the playoff picture in the East and with seven less points than Dallas, are another opponent where the Stars should beat them, and beat them handily if they want to prove that they are a true playoff team.
The penalty parade really started in the second period, with both teams trading power play chances. Florida had the second best power play in the league, converting on more than 25% of their chances. Dallas, sixth in penalty killing, allowed two power play goals in their loss to the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday afternoon.
That game is looking more like an aberration after tonight’s effort. Dallas shut down the hot power play in the four opportunities the Panthers received. Though some of the calls were of the “ill-advised penalty” variety, the Stars didn’t let that be the deciding factor in another game in which they struggled to score more than two goals.
It proved to be the real difference-maker tonight. The kind of penalty killing Dallas showed tonight is going to give them the chance to win more often than not — though if they’d like to not take penalties that might be good too.
Esa Lindell extended the Stars’ lead with his eighth goal of the season. It sets a career-high mark for the blueliner, who has been quietly stellar for the Stars this season. While his offense might be highlighted as a reason for this being one of his better all-around seasons, what has been the best part of his game is all of the little plays he makes to keep the other team from getting prime scoring chances more often than not.
While the offense of John Klingberg and Miro Heiskanen are worthy of much praise, Lindell’s progression and two-way play may be the real MVP of the Dallas blueline this season.
While Dallas managed to get vastly outshot tonight, they did what they needed to do in the third period to make the two goals they had scored earlier in the game hold up. With a little help from the post and another excellent outing by Antoin Khudobin, combined with their continued good penalty killing from the second period, the Stars sealed away a shutout for their first win on this five-game road trip.
The empty net goal by Tyler Seguin, almost as rare as a first period goal is this season, was just a cherry on top of the night.