Blackhawks steal two points from the Dallas Stars, dominant performance

Feb 9, 2021; Dallas, Texas, USA; Dallas Stars center Tanner Kero (64) knocks the puck away from Chicago Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane (88) during the second period at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 9, 2021; Dallas, Texas, USA; Dallas Stars center Tanner Kero (64) knocks the puck away from Chicago Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane (88) during the second period at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports /

Tuesday; 1-2, Overtime Loss vs. Blackhawks

*Queue futuristic audio beat*
Ladies and Gentleman; behold, the goalkeepers of the future!
*End futuristic audio beat*

Entering their tenth matchup and their tenth unique starting lineup, the Dallas Stars had gathered four points in their past four games and I had made peace with this. They put out a solid product in each of those four contests, leaving the ice in three of them just down a single goal.

However, I was not prepared for tonight. I was not prepared for the Dallas Stars to fundamentally run an NHL level hockey game and then ‘escape’ with out the victory. That was not something that I had prepared myself for. Let’s get to it.

With Anton Khudobin perceivably clear of the Rick Bowness justice cycle, following Sunday’s suspension for a missed practice, I still liked the nod to Jake Oettinger in this one. Even in defeat. After losing a heartbreaker on Sunday in overtime, it spoke volumes of the youngsters character that Dallas’ coaching staff felt that comfort level against a streaking Chicago Blackhawks squad.

While he once again stood his ground for the main course, it was the dessert course that proved overwhelming. Overtime heroics on the other side of the ice, again. After this one, Oettinger had the following to say.

"Overtime, I think, comes down to getting some big saves,” Oettinger said. “Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to do that the last two nights in overtime. It’s something that, hopefully, in the future I can come up with."

Did you not feel that one in your heart? Do you have one? Think about this.

In his first back-to-back career starts, Jake Oettinger put up an overall .937% save percentage. If you eliminate overtime statistics, that number becomes .965% for regulation. But wait, there is more. In even strength, 5v5 hockey that number becomes 1.000%.

Unfortunately, the Dallas Stars offense could not figure out the Blackhawks own rookie net minder, Kevin Lankinen. Despite an early first-period, net attacking tally from Roope Hintz, the Stars would put 34 additional empty pucks on net.

To put Lankinen into context this season, his .933% save percentage trails only Philipp Grubauer of the Colorado Avalanche and Andrei Vasilevskiy of the Tampa Bay Lightning of those qualified this season. So, at least we are not alone.

Uncounted in tonight’s shot total was a disallowed goal off the stick of Jamie Benn early in the second period. After performing his best Diamond Dallas Page impression on Lankinen, he wrangled a Joe Pavelski net front pass through the crease. However, it was not to be.

Although the final forty-five minutes of regulation did not match the fervor of the opening fifteen, it was their game to lose and they lost it. Dallas Stars forward Andrew Cogliano captured the feelings after this one.

"I know it’s cliché, but you see the teams that win every night in our division and you have to find a way to get points. They (Chicago) played two good games, I thought they played really well, but we need to look at some good things and (also) figure out what we did negatively in the third period."

While Dallas was able to keep Sunday’s contributors Patrick Kane and Alex DeBrincat off the score sheet, former Dallas Stars forward Matias Janmark tallied the Blackhawks lone regulation score in the second period on the man advantage. Following an unorthodox pass/shot hybrid to the net from teammate Dominik Kubalik, Janmark was able to get his stick down for a victorious deflection.

As if not already stamping his mark on this one, Lankinen would garner an assist on the Blackhawks second, and game winning tally, in overtime. Finding Brandon Hagel on a mini outlet pass before the forward skates 125 feet up ice and feeds teammate Pius Suter for the overtime crusher. Off to a hot start, Suter weaves niftily through an empty challenge from Jon Klingberg before netting the dagger.

Dallas was dominant, really.

Clearly, the scoreboard is king. Dallas needs to find a way to finish, quickly. However, the hockey statistician in me is extra salty following this one.

  • Face-Offs: Dallas 60.4% to Chicago 39.6%
  • FF%, Even Strength Possession: Dallas 57.1% to Chicago 42.9%
  • oZS%, Offensive Zone Face-Offs: Dallas 62.3% to Chicago 36.7%

Still one goal. Again.

Want to really feel this one in the gut? Take a look at a win probability chart, the only time that Dallas falls below 57.6% is in overtime.

Radek Faksa – Draw Master

Since Black Comeau has returned to reunite that FCC (Faksa, Comeau, Cogliano) line in Dallas, Faksa is a blistering 47/72 for a 65% return rate in the face-off circle.

This is a topic with Radek Faksa that we talk about after each game, lately. It can be easy to see this statistic amidst these one goal losses for Dallas and look past its significance. Do not look past this. On a healthy, streaking Stars squad; possession is key.

Jon Klingberg – Karma Bitten

Prior to this one, Stars defenseman Jon Klingberg poked fun at fellow Swedish native Matias Janmark. Quipping the following.

"The only thing I see with Janny is he can’t really shoot the puck, so that’s probably something that he wants to work on."

He could not have set this one up for the universe more beautifully. In the second period, Klingberg would take a two-minute minor for hooking, you guessed it, Matias Janmark. On the following man advantage, with Klingberg watching from the behind the glass, the Swede tied the contest on a net front deflection.

Shots fired.

Mark Pysyk – Where Did You Come From

OK, so we know he came from the Florida Panthers but the 29-year-old defender has been stout all season and no different in this one. Outside Esa Lindell, Pysyk has the second highest oiSV% of the Stars defensive core at 95.8%. This metric measures even-strength save percentage during ice time served.

Too bad the NHL does not have a statistic for deflecting shots/passes. His stick practically grows an additional foot when laid upon the ice for disruption this season. Placement has been stellar.

The Return of Joel Kiviranta

Kiviranta skated flawlessly to begin this one, looking unbothered in his return from a lower body injury sustained in the opening game of the season. Spending more than seventeen minutes on the ice. His chemistry with Jamie Benn and Joe Pavelski was noticeable.

Now the Stars are just an Alexander Radulov away from as healthy as they can get on the offensive end.

Homestand Continues

Dallas hosts the dangerous Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday with six games remaining on this their largest home stand of the season. With a record of 0-1-1 opposite Carolina this season, Dallas needs to solve the seventy-five feet that make up their offensive blue zone in this one or face a real possibility of their fourth straight defeat in this shortened season.