WCSF Game 2 Afterwords: Blues Bend Too Much, But Break Stars' Hearts in OT

Antoine Roussel probably shouldn't have taken three penalties in this game.

So, here was my day: Get up at 5am, cycle 62 miles across Long Beach (consider this the "share every workout you do on Facebook" point), sit down to watch the game at 3, then find myself almost wholly unable to expend any remaining energy at an overtime game after a wonderful comeback.

Seriously, it would be nice to win a game in overtime again. Just one would be nice, for starters.

Jason Demers had a rough night. If you watch Niemi's best save, you can see Demers covering the back post. Only problem is that there was no human there. He also sort of shot on his own goalie again during a breakout attempt, and in general had a bit of trouble with coverage. I really like Jason Demers, and I hope he is re-signed; but Game 2 was not his best one.

On the other side of that coin, Kris Russell had some timely plays, and he continues to impress me with how well he fits into the Dallas system. He's not going to take Goligoski's spot (or maybe this is all a tryout for that exact thing?) but, well, you can see how he would be a nice piece to have for another few years. Still, I hate contemplating long-term decisions with only a third of a season as pertinent data. Anyhow, it's nice to have a solid third pair. Much more solid that St. Louis' third pair, at least.

Cody Eakin is a Notable Player, and he drew more praise from Lindy Ruff tonight after what started out looking like a game rife with questionable plays (from my couch-based perspective, which is not perfect). Then he made one of the most beautiful tip passes to Janmark I've seen in a while for what turned out to be goal number two. Cody Eakin might just one of those players who is better than I am capable of noticing; still, it's tough to see him playing five more minutes than Spezza in a game the Stars were trailing. But obviously things worked out as far as erasing the 3-1 deficit goes, so I guess that's why I am not a coach. Also because I haven't been interviewed, is why.

Dallas will need to score a power play goal at some point in this series if they want to win it. That is my special teams breakdown. (It is less painful than the Dallas Stars' special teams breakdown that happened Sunday.) Hitch obviously has a good plan for disrupting the Stars' entries on the advantage, and it's time for Lindy Ruff's crew to re-adapt. Adapt, act, re-adapt, react. I believe that's right.

Obviously, coming back is huge. The Stars proved that the Blues can't sit on leads with impunity, as St. Louis did nothing all that dangerous outside of a couple isolated chances in the 2nd and 3rd periods. It's fun to watch Dallas break through a defensively oriented team, even if it takes 58 minutes to do it. This game should give them confidence and a good yardstick for how to get through the Blues' trap. This is the Battle for Fun Hockey, and you had best pick the side of the hero, fence-sitters.

Do you get the feeling that St. Louis could have scored another two or three goals if their defensemen had bothered to pinch and hold the zone a few more times? Obviously that's a system choice from Hitchcock, but man, the Stars in their own zone can be a coverage adventure, but it's a lot easier for them to sort it out when the attacking team keeps most of their players high in the zone (or out of it entirely).

I hate that penalties are not called consistently. You hate it, except for when it works out in our favor, and then most of us kind of just shrug and say that, well, it's about time it worked out for us instead of always for the other team. Brad Watson, of course, is famous for his work in that Vancouver Game 7 from 2007 with Rob Schick, so I have little incentive to give him the benefit of the doubt; I have even less incentive when he clearly waits to call the penalty until he sees that it is going to result in a scoring chance. But still, it looks like a pretty understandable call.

Should hockey be called as consistently as possible throughout the game? Of course. But things have been this way for a long time, and we all know how the NHL (and its related unions) feel about sweeping changes to how Things Are Done. This is how officials are trained.

Ultimately, Antoine Roussel can't take three penalties in a game. Well, obviously he can, but unless you're the Blues, you would expect the other team to make you pay for carelessness like that. I think Roussel's third penalty (The Penalty) was avoidable if he had just slowed down a bit more, not braced for the impact, or just overall not made it look like he was initiating contact as much as it did. Que sera, sera.

Mattias Janmark had a great game, I thought. Val Nichushkin had a less than great game. Jason Spezza eventually was playing with Colton Sceviour on his line, and that is not an optimal situation. It turns out that Patrick Eaves (and Tyler Seguin, of course) are Really Helpful Guys to have in your lineup!

Dallas will now have to solve St. Louis in St. Louis (get ready for the Meet Me In St. Louis headlines) without the benefit of line-matching. Game 3 will either be fascinating or terrifying. Personally, I'm already terrified, but then again, it is the actual NHL Playoffs. Full-blown Stage 5 for like four weeks now.

Look at it this way, though: if Dallas wins Game 3, then they are in the exact position they were against Minnesota. That worked out all right.