Dallas Stars Up/Down: Post-Toronto Edition
It wasn't pretty, but the Stars escaped the week 3-1. The one, however, was against a Toronto team everyone expected the Stars to roll right over. How much does one ugh loss color our view of the week? This way for answers.
[Ed. note: Because of the East Coast back-to-back, this usual Tuesday feature got bumped to Wednesday. Things that happened last night against the Boston Bruins are not covered in these rankings.]
That thud you hear is the Dallas Stars becoming only the second team this season to lose to the Toronto Maple Leafs. As far as road trips go, that's not a great start. Unless you think James Reimer is the real deal. Spoiler alert, he's not. If we're honest, the result is maybe a bit of regression after a pair of horseshoe-driven home wins against Vancouver and Anaheim earlier in the week. Hopefully, like their early season splat in Colorado, tonight's disappointment will be the catalyst for brighter days.
Jamie Benn (9 G / 34.6 S% / 17 Pts) - Going with season totals for our first two because they're gaudy. As of press time, the Stars' captain still leads the NHL in scoring. He also picked up the lone tally against Toronto, so there's that. The key to his success? So far Benn has avoided one of his yearly slumps.
Tyler Seguin (12 A / 46 SOG / 10.9 S%) - A point behind his running mate, and hey, did you know Segs could dish the puck? So far Segs and Benn are doing a weird Freaky Friday thing, or maybe he's been watching Adam Oates instructional videos. Who cares, it's working.
John Klingberg (3 G / 4 A / 5 H) - A serious offensive week for the slick Swede. Fans of absurd offensive ability must have circled this month's match-up with the Senators. This space says ours is better. Pritnt it.
Patrick Sharp (4 G / 6 Pts / 16 SOG) - Broke his goose-egg in a big way. Now that the engine is running, will we see an offensive burst? It sure would be nice.
Jason Demers (2 G / 8 SOG / 4 Blk) - Did his damage in three games this week thanks to an untimely suspension (are there any other kind?). It was nice to have Demers back doing Demers things (hitting, shooting, blocking shots).
Antoine Roussel (2 GWG / 4 Pts / 4 PIMs) - Which was better, Rooster grabbing the winner against Anaheim, or a three point explosion to doom the Sharks? When he stays out of the box, he makes a difference.
Vernon Fiddler (1 G / 4:35 ASHTOI / 57 FOW%) - Another depth player that stepped up in a big way this past week. Fiddler has been nothing but good things for the Stars since his arrival.
Cody Eakin (1 SHG / 2:04 ASHTOI / 58 FOW%) - Spent a little time on the top line, perhaps as a reward for his typical PK-diligence and a superb week on the faceoff dot. Eakin even had a healthy look on the power play. Well done.
Jykri Jokipakka (3 GP / 4 H / 11:42 ATOI) - Dallas was undefeated with Jokipakka in the lineup. That might be a coincidence, or it might mean he's putting a little distance between himself and his two chief rivals for ice-time (Nemeth & Oleksiak).
Jordie Benn (8 H / 2 PIM / 15:54 ATOI) - You can set your watch by Jordie these days. He'll play just about 15 minutes of steady hockey. The fact he hasn't made way for a prospect is a ringing endorsement of Jordie's value to the Stars.
Radek Faksa (7 SOG / 5 H / 11:37 TOI) - Settling in nicely. Were it not for an uncooperative crossbar, we might have more to praise than the fact Faksa, a rookie, has so quickly earned Coach Ruff's trust.
Jason Spezza (2 A / 49 FOW% / 3:40 PPTOI) - For all of the special teams time he's seeing, it would be nice to see a few more points from Spezza. Yes, the overall unit is playing well, but optics. A revolving group of wingers probably isn't helping.
Ales Hemsky (1 A / 12:01 ATOI / 6 SOG) - Seven Points in 11 games is an excellent return for Hemsky. Thing is, think about how much higher that total could be if he wasn't mired in a brutal stretch that's seen him register a single point in his last eight games.
Mattias Janmark (0 Pts / 10:46 ATOI / 2 SOG) - The chances have dried up a bit for Janmark. It's all part of the learning process.
Patrik Nemeth (1 GP / 14:28 ATOI / 3 H) - The resurgent Stars are actually winless with Nemeth in the lineup. It's a coincidence, sure, but it's a nasty one.
Jamie Oleksiak (1 GP / 1 A / 11:22 ATOI) - Who do you sit to give the Big Rig a chance, at this point? More importantly, why?
Kari Lehtonen (DNP) - This is what happens on a team with goaltending depth. Lehtonen was a spectator last week, but should be much more active in November with a lengthy road-trip and a pair of back-to-backs. What will he do with the opportunity, though?
Valeri Nichushkin (0 Pts / 8 SOG / PPTOI) - A skate-blade here, an unsettled puck there, it's coming for the big Russian. Right? Under 11 minutes against Anaheim and Toronto, over 15 against Vancouver and San Jose. These are the days that test men's souls.
Alex Goligoski (8 Blk / 6 SOG / 4 H) - Goose didn't struggle, exactly, but the game seems a bit choppy at the moment. To be fair his typical partner - Klingberg - wobbled a bit alongside him, but the Swede, at least, brought the offensive thunder. That's not really in Goligoski's job description at the moment.
Johnny Oduya (6 H / 4 Blk / 6 SOG) - Did yeoman's work this week for a suddenly penalty-prone Stars squad. Not bad, but not a standout performance either.
Colton Sceviour (0 Pts / 5 SOG / 7 H) - Managed to top 14 minutes twice last week (against Vancouver and San Jose). There are still bursts of skill, but it feels like this is who Sceviour is at this point.