It’s hard to look at last night’s 4-3 loss against the Nashville Predators and blame goaltender Jake Oettinger for the loss. But that doesn’t mean the Dallas Stars’ decision to go with the rookie goaltender was not at least somewhat puzzling.
Oettinger had played the previous night against the Columbus Blue Jackets, recording his first career shutout. Given his play and relatively low workload (21 shots against), Rick Bowness and Jeff Reese decided to stick with Oettinger against Nashville:
“This kid works hard, in the gym and on the ice. First on, last off,” Bowness said. “(His) conditioning is great so we’re not worried about that one bit. If it was a tougher game (Saturday) night, like 40 or 50 shots against, then you re-evaluate that.”
In the past, however, the Stars have typically chosen to split starts between goaltenders during back-to-back games. It’s also worth noting that Anton Khudobin has historically performed very well against Nashville:
Against teams he’s started at least 10 games, Khudobin’s best save percentage is .935, against the Predators (13 games) and Ottawa Senators (10 games). With an ultra-condensed schedule, Bowness has emphasized the importance of having two goaltenders ready. This would seem like a prime opportunity to help get Khudobin back on track against a team that’s bad and he’s personally enjoyed success against in the past.
You can read more about the decision from Saad Yousuf here.
Regardless of who was in net, ultimately the Stars were at least able to salvage a point, although it wasn’t enough:
Here’s Rick Bowness’ full post-game interview about the comeback loss:
Here’s Jason Robertson, who scored the game-tying goal because he’s been on fire lately:
And here’s Pavelski on how the team is still striving for success:
Around the League
Canes storm past Cats for fifth-straight win https://t.co/8Uvxzh8aSm— Canes Country (@CanesCountry) March 8, 2021
Washington Capitals forwarded Tom Wilson was suspended seven games by the Department of Player Safety, but was it enough?
Why Does the #NHL Keep Enabling Tom Wilson?— The Hockey News (@TheHockeyNews) March 7, 2021
The 7-game sentence is the 5th suspension of his career, but by not penalizing him for what it acknowledges to be a direct blow to the head, the NHL once again is sending the wrong message says @THNKenCampbell: https://t.co/LZ2VeJhZ7R
Panic is starting to set in for some NHL teams, with two coaches fired already and more potentially on their way:
Weekend rankings: You can sense the panic setting in around the league, with coach firings, GM press conferences and potential deadline selloffs. Plus thoughts on Tom Wilson, power rankings and more. https://t.co/j4zXt7EyS3— Down Goes Brown (@DownGoesBrown) March 8, 2021
Finally, Happy International Women’s Day — the NWHL is planning to complete it’s playoffs later this month: