The New York Rangers prospects gave the Dallas Stars much more trouble than the Minnesota Wild, as Dallas lost by a score of 7-4. The Rangers seemed to pressure the Stars much more in Saturday’s game and Colton Point struggled to find the puck in some of the congested slot shots that the Rangers were able to find. A positive was that the Stars’ top players continued to show how competitive they are. The top line of Robertson, Dellandrea and Kiviranta was always noticeable. Robertson showed nice subtle skill on the wing, Dellandrea had excellent two-way plays and assists, and Kiviranta just didn’t miss the net. It was a really nice combination of a line but it wasn’t enough to get the win.
Cody: I have three main standouts from this game — Joel Kivitranta, Ty Dellandrea and Ben Gleason. Joel Kiviranta for the obvious hat trick and never seeming to take a casual shot. Every time he finds the puck it is in space and he made it count. His shot looked lethal. However, I’m actually going to give most of Kiviranta’s praise to Ty Dellandrea. From my view, it didn’t really seem like Kiviranta was just absolutely dominating but rather Dellandrea was just finding him open and setting him up perfectly for success. Dellandrea did such a great job of hitting Kiviranta wide open. His passes were absolutely zipping to players’ sticks. It was like Mats Zuccarello all over again with his passing and vision for the open player. Ben Gleason, again, stood out to me on the defense. His confidence definitely radiates. You would think he was the first overall pick with how he commands the puck. Spin-moves, crafty and creative plays to enter zones; he does things that most people only dream of doing in NHL20 on Xbox. He’d rather float a sauce pass to the center in space than dump the puck in — and I love it. However, with that creativity comes risk and there were a few times his spin moves wouldn’t work or his fast passes would miss. Regardless, the tools are there to be a real nice addition if he can just fine-tune them. He’s just fun to watch.
Mark: I spent quite a bit of time getting up to speed on players and sweater numbers during the first game, so in Saturday’s game I decided to pay strict attention to the forward group. Kiviranta was obviously a standout, but what impressed me the most was his ability to be effective in limited space. For a player who should be adjusting to the smaller North American ice, that is impressive and also should leave significant room for improvement.
Cody: My sleeper is going to be Felhaber. He was a scrappy player from that last game that put a lot of pressure on the New York blue line. Whenever the points would get the puck, Felhaber would give them very minimal time to work it before he was looking to steal and run. It seemed like every possession was the same thing when he was in the defensive zone, looking to attack the points and go for rushes. He was able to create one nice scoring chance from the rush because of it. Fans know how head coach Jim Montgomery loves puck pressure, so I’m sure this game worked in his favor.
Mark: Rhett Gardner’s two-way game stood out to me. In addition, I thought Tye Felhaber made a few keeps at the blue line that turned into points. Both are undoubtedly headed to the Texas Stars for the coming season, but if their development continues, I could see either as a call-up for the bottom six. Nicholas Porco also continued his solid play.
Cody: Tufte and Harley have stood out as disappointments for me so far. Granted, the stream really isn’t the best view to get a good look at all the small things in the defensive zone. However, I just haven’t seen much from either in the offensive zone.
Mark: Since I was looking at the forward group, I’ll just leave this as “left wingers.” Nick Caamano, Adam Mascherin, Riley Tufte, and Curtis Douglas left little impression as a group. There are opportunities throughout the organization on the left side, so rewards are available if anyone steps up and shows progress in this group. Colton Point faced a few tough shots, but giving up six does nothing to move him out of a position with the Idaho Steelheads.
Things To Look For
Cody: I want to see Robertson take over a game. He had an excellent deflection goal from a Djuse bomb and continues to have little moments of “wow, who was that?” However, I’d like to see him dominate a full game. This is a player whom a lot of fans have penciled in as hoping to enter not just the opening night lineup, but a top-six player. He’s had spurts of showing that capability but now is the time to really get going and demonstrate how dominate he can be.
Mark: I’m planning on concentrating on the defensive corps against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Depending on the results from the Rangers-Wild game, the Stars still have a chance to make the championship game on Tuesday. With both team and individual success on the line, Dallas needs to bring some urgency today, as something that was sorely lacking against the Rangers.
It’s an early start for today’s game. Streaming will begin at 1:00 p.m. CDT.