Stars' Overtime Penalties and Special Teams Doom Them in Game 2: Six Easy Tweets

Dallas lost in Overtime but it wasn't just because of Antoine Roussel's penalty. How they got there was a team effort.

Fine. You either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become a perpetrator of an overtime penalty that costs you a hockey game.

I think that's what Harvey Dent says. Whatever the case, St. Louis has now tied a series with the Dallas Stars. I see a lot of regret coming from fans.If it's not the interference call on Roussel, it's Roussel's 3 penalties. Except that's not what cost Dallas the game. Two awful breakdowns, an aggressively inept Power Play (this deserves your scorn; not Roussel), Kari's brief tenure, and some unlucky breaks are what cost Dallas the game. Otherwise they played a solid game against an elite team for most of the duration.

Dallas is 1-1 with the Blues. This was never gonna be easy.

1. Putting the Oops in Whoops

By the time I finished clapping my hands after Alex Goligoski's goal, St. Louis was up 2-1. Two goals on two shots. I feel like Kari could have played the first two goals better positionally, but these were such awful defensive breakdowns by Dallas that there's some obvious shared responsibility. On the first goal, aggressiveness in the offensive zone allowed the Blue to walk in with a shot uncontested. And yes, Kari has to be sharper there.

2. Down in the Foxhole

While Kari wasn't "to blame" in the traditional sense, I think Lindy Ruff made the right in sensing that Antti Niemi would be the better fit. Kari has always been inconsistent throughout his career. Could he have done what Niemi did through the next two periods? Possibly. But why take that chance when St. Louis needed just 5 chances to score 3 goals?

3. Hitch Lock

The second period didn't yield a ton of action. Dallas continued to press without securing anything tangible. But the Blues managed a few opportunities to drive a stake through Dallas' heart. And not for lack of trying on Dallas' part. The above gif in Sturm's tweet was Jason Demers' game in a nutshell: abysmal. That was the third time Demers was defending from his back (or bodysurfing) on the ice, making snow angels to block shots. He was further in net than Niemi on another play.

4. Desperation Load

Ruff got a bit desperate when he stuck Jason Spezza with Jamie Benn and Patrick Sharp. They didn't manage much, much to my surprise because Cody Eakin was doing a pretty good first line center impression this game. I'm a massive critic of Eakin. So much so that Eakin's three assists won't suddenly convert me into an apologist. But he played a solid game (despite some gaffes still, like that spin-o-turn-a-rama-over) in both ends of the ice.

5. Playoff #Starsing

Dallas fought back with goals from Mattias Janmark (who continues his excellent two way play: a phrase I've repeated all year) and yes, Jamie Benn. The Blues went into shell mode, allowing Dallas to get opportunities. As much as I ragged on Eakin for piggybacking points, he's now 15th in playoff scoring (adjusted scoring) hanks to his assists being primary assists rather than just secondary "noise". It was a hell of a comeback. Until...

6. Overtime Crimes

I'd be curious to see how Dallas stacks up against the rest of the NHL in terms of penalties taken during overtime. Because it seems like a lot. And by a lot "it seems like league worst". Erin has done a great job of breaking down Roussel's penalty in Overtime. Needless to say, this game didn't fall on Antoine's shoulders. Now for some stray observations:

  • I'm not about to abandon Valeri Nichushkin or his potential at his age, with his limited experience. But come playoff time, you need to play a role. And he's lost right now. His game is too clean to play in the bottom six, but too rough to play in the top six. His defensive awareness, and that bad turnover to Tarasenko that turned into a hooking penalty all but guarantee he'll be sitting for someone like Ritchie or McKenzie. And that's okay. Criticizing his contribution to Dallas in the current playoffs is not the same as criticizing his overall development. I just think Ritchie, and McKenzie are better options because they play simple, linear games needed for games like this.
  • Dallas is doing a great job of shutting down Tarasenko, but they won't shut him down for long. I think that's why this loss stings; Dallas is keeping him off the scoresheet but still just 1-1. He'll show up eventually. Especially with the series going home to St. Louis.
  • What can I say about the Power Play? It was absolutely abysmal. Yes, it's missing Tyler Seguin. But it's not missing Jamie Benn, Jason Spezza, Sharp, and Klingberg. That should be good enough to avoid being a total disaster. Some of it was errant passing, but a lot of it was errant setup.
  • The PK has been trending down for a bit as well. It doesn't get talked about much but Vernon Fiddler is another veteran (like Travis Moen) who looks like he's either slowing down, or nursing a possible injury (he rolled his ankle in the playoffs against the Wild if I remember correctly). He's always been good for a solid jolt of energy in his limited role, but his speed is suddenly gone. There was a moment on the PK where the puck just trudged toward the half wall and all he had to do was make a stroll towards the puck, but didn't. The Blues defender retried it for another crack at the point.
  • Looking forward to see how Dallas responds. They've been playing well but those breakdowns kill them, and their special teams are slowly suffocating opportunities to pull away/close the gap in games.