After opening their season and this two-game series against the Nashville Predators with a special teams explosion, the Dallas Stars picked right back up in game two with more of the same. We’re not saying that the Predators woke up and chose pain today, but we’re also not *NOT* saying that either.
That’s the only thing one can assume, anyway, after getting torched on five of eight power play chances against in the first game two nights ago. Dallas continued their red-hot power play scoring into the second game, going 3-for-4 in a relatively tame affair (comparatively).
The penalty kill is, well, atrocious pic.twitter.com/8Eq85wOdO5— Bryan Bastin (@BryanBastin) January 25, 2021
What’s been really good about the power play so far has been the crispness of the puck movement and the quickness with which the players are releasing those passes. The first one came off of a tape-to-tape zinger from Joe Pavelski to Denis Gurianov, who was left all alone with all four Predators on the ice converging on the corner where Pavelski was. He snapped it right past the open spot left by Juuse Saros’ movements. Pavelski’s third goal was also a result of a lot of good puck movement — after getting it moved around the umbrella and some cross-ice passes thrown in for fun, Pavelski put the puck top shelf from practically on the goal line.
Roope Hintz’s goal was the opposite of those two, but it counts all the same. His shot snapped into Saros hard enough to squeeze between the goaltender’s paraphernalia and squirt right over the goal line.
At some point, the power play will cool down and the Stars may find themselves having trouble finding goals at even strength. They’ve only scored one in the last two games. It’s been an issue for them before and remained one of the big questions surrounding this team heading into this season: can they score enough? But for now, we can claim small sample sizes and enjoy the spike in scoring that comes from having another team’s number on special teams.
It won’t likely last for long.
Nashville, meanwhile, did finally solve Anton Khudobin and the Stars defense. After being clean-sheeted for nearly five and a half straight periods, Filip Forsberg finally found the back of the net on the power play brought upon thanks to a Stars “too many men” penalty. The other goal against came off of a redirect from traffic in front of Khudobin.
Dallas had a 3-1 lead before Nashville really tightened things up. Though the first two periods felt tilted in Dallas’ favor, the third period featured a pretty desperate Nashville squad. The Stars started to get stuck in their own zone, and as head coach Rick Bowness said after the game, there’s going to be a lot of desperate hockey coming up.
“It was a good test for us,” Joe Pavelski said about having to protect a one-goal lead late in the third period. A test they passed with a little help from some shot blocks, a simple chip of the puck out of the defensive zone, and two huge saves from Khudobin. Once again, the Stars get a solid team effort to get the win.
Other notes and observations....
- If your name was Mark Pysyk, you had a bit of a rough night to start the game. The newly-signed defender got called for two penalties in the first period, the first of which came right after Roope Hintz was tripped in the offensive zone that went uncalled. Outside of the penalties, it seems like Pysyk has found an easy spot there on the third pairing. He was positionally solid tonight for the most part, and even was noticeable for a calculated pinch in the offensive zone after those penalties.
- According to our friends at On The Forecheck, the Nashville broadcast apparently said “We’ll see what kind of skater Miro Heiskanen is.” To which we ask: where have you been the last two seasons....and the Stanley Cup run from this fall....?
- Alexander Radulov has looked really good these two games, especially when he’s not playing with the puck on his stick. He’s been relentless in his puck battles in the corners, and has extended the
- Ty Dellandrea was on the ice in the last minute of a one-goal game. He nearly had a good look at the empty net with Nashville having their goaltender pulled for the extra attacker, but his hands may have gotten slightly ahead of his skates there. But being out there at all could speak to how well the coaching staff has viewed his two-way play so far. “This kid is full of confidence, and we love it,” Bowness said. “He’s earning the minutes and it’s well deserved. I have no problem putting him out in key moments of the game.”
- Pavelski is on fire.
- John Klingberg is now in the top 20 in blueline scoring through two games.
Please don’t be the one that ruins the in-person experience for someone else. If you’re going to attend the game in person, wear your mask when you aren’t actively eating/drinking. That means the anthem, too. Holding food or beer in your hand is not some license to just not comply with the health and safety regulations put in place that allows a limited number of fans into the arena.
The players have already said how much it meant to them to have fans back in attendance once again. Unless you want to be the one responsible for getting all this shut down, do what you’re told for a couple of hours so we can all enjoy this responsibly — and be safe.