Dallas Stars Analysis: 2/25/2021 @ Florida Panthers

If you needed a reminder that Dallas Stars hockey games are sixty minutes long, you got your wish on Thursday in Sunrise, Florida. Or, likely did not is more accurate.

I have yet to perfect the nickname for this one. How does #wallmageddon strike you? Or #boardtastrophe? Either way, this one needs a name.

After discovering their seemingly long lost brand of ‘let it flow’ hockey throughout the first fifty-two minutes, the Dallas Stars were tripped up the final eight following an ‘extended delay’ due to a loose/damaged dasher board along their defensive zone wall.


Florida looked the part of a team playing their fifth contest in eight days throughout the majority of this contest. Suddenly, their hero – a broken dasher board – took over. Tides turned and Dallas would almost instantly concede a one-sided, 2-0 lead into an eventual 2-3 loss in just a span of 191 seconds. Don’t believe me? Believe head coach Rick Bowness.

If we don’t defend for 60 minutes, we’re going to struggle. So that’s one side. The second side of it is the inability to get that third goal. We had plenty of opportunities to make that game 3-0.

Hockey is a tough sport to comprehend. On Wednesday, we saw this same Dallas Stars squad rewarded with two points in a 3-0 victory over Florida. Were they the better team? Debatable. They certainly did not spend the amount of time they did Thursday playing their brand of hockey. That is for sure. Yet, the outcomes are what they are.

As I do not have a time-machine, I cannot predict what a time-out would have looked like as the Panthers pounced into the Stars defensive zone repeatedly in the final minutes. Florida changed their pace, strategy following #wallmageddon. They showed Dallas their hand not once, not twice but three times to tip the scales and in the end the Stars did not adjust. Whether Rick Bowness or his players are on the hook, I will leave that for you to decide.

We definitely needed that timeout at the end of the game,” Bowness said. “Sometimes, you’ve got to trust your players and you talk about it. You’ve got to trust your veterans. ‘OK, things aren’t going [our way], you’ve got to settle it down.

Goals

Dallas Stars PPG: Joe Pavelski (10), 17:50 remaining, 2nd Period

Assists: Justin Dowling (3), Miro Heiskanen (9)

Unattributed Assist: Joel Kiviranta

This goal is not possible not only once, but twice if Joel Kiviranta is not on the ice. Yet he does not pick up an assist. Go back and watch the replay on this one. Kiviranta collects the puck, skates behind the net and feeds Miro Heiskanen at the point. Here, he immediately skates net front, sets up a screen. This is flawless.

Heiskanen feeds Justin Dowling on the right side boards. From here, Dowling wrists the puck on Florida Panthers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky as much as he does Kiviranta net front; looking for a deflection, at worst. Bobrovsky cannot fully pick up the puck with traffic in front, he kicks the puck out left side to an awaiting Joe Pavelski with a full, empty net staring back at him.

Tally Pavelski’s NHL leading eighth PP goal of the season here.

Dallas Stars: Jamie Benn (4), 2:11 remaining, 2nd period

Assists: Jon Klingberg (11), Radek Faksa (3)

Hard to name an MVP on this goal; it was a full line tally. Radek Faksa, having a career season in the circle, gets an assist from the face-off victory as the puck immediately finds the shifty, backwards skating of Jon Klingberg. From Klingberg to Jamie Benn, on a goal front deflection, takes a total of four seconds removed from the draw.

Faksa fights though the body of Florida Panthers center Eetu Luostarinen to be a net front screen just in time as the puck passes by and off the stick of Jamie Benn.

Jon Klingberg cracks the Top-10 NHL defensemen ranks (T-Jakob Chychrun) for points scored this season on the assist while Jamie Benn snaps a six-game goal deficit. Much needed, might I add.

Florida Panthers: Alexander Barkov (8), 6:21 remaining, 3rd period

Assists: MacKenzie Weegar (8), Carter Verhaeghe (7)

Unattributed Assist: Jonathan Huberdeau

If you pause the contest at 6:28 remaining, you will see that the Dallas Stars form a kind of four post defensive bubble around the net. Cutting off the slot. This is a solid moment.

However, the eventual hero of this mini-thread – Alexander Barkov – finds Huberdeau on the right side, who brilliantly hits a Disney’s Mighty Ducks esque spin in spite of coverage from Jamie Benn and Jamie Oleksiak and the rest is history.

Huberdeau with a kick-out to Weegar, trickling through off the stick deflection from Varhaeghe and eventually nailed shut by Barkov, behind Oettinger.

Florida Panthers: Anton Stralman (2), 5:29 remaining, 3rd period

Assists: Mason Marchment (1), Eetu Luostarinen (5)

Following a give away at middle ice, Joel Kiviranta is never able to make it back into position on this three man rush goal to be in an effective position. He bumps into Jake Oettinger in net around two seconds before Vatrano one-times a 25-foot steamer into the back of the net.

Ice placement from all other Dallas Stars on the ice was solid. Turning point is from 8 seconds before the goal when following the give away, Luostarinen plows through Jon Klingberg, who is attempting to quell the three man rush at the blue line. This is actually the play where Luostarinen records his assist as well.

This goal came just 51 seconds after their first tally.

Florida Panthers: Frank Vatrano (5), 3:10 remaining, 3rd period

Assists: Alex Wennberg (5), Patric Hornqvist (8)

Hornqvist played the part of the savvy veteran on this one. Jumping off the bench, he was able to catch Radek Faksa – who took an iffy angle – and Miro Heiskanen off guard and record his assist pinching a loose puck up the boards back behind the net.

Wennberg collects the puck and finds Vatrano in the slot for their second one-timer of the night.

This one felt a little flat. Looked as if the previous two tallies had taken a toll here. If you watch the replay, Faksa is in a prime position for 2-4 seconds before the net is tickled to challenge the puck on Wennberg’s stick. At one point, a poke-check would have sufficed, hands down.

Final Thoughts

I heard Jamie Oleksiak taking some criticism online after this game. He was on the ice for the first and third goals against. That is non-sense. He could not see the puck trickle out of Oettinger’s pads from the angle he stood on the first and he parked a solid shot block attempt in front of Vatrano on the third. Just unfortunate.

Jason Robertson played a solid full ice game Thursday. He had a few crucial poke-checks and contested possessions and came out none the lesser. He served on line four alongside Justin Dowling and Nicholas Caamano which dailyfaceoff.com ranked as the eighth best fourth line of it’s set. If you do follow this link, its a helpful visual that I like to take a gander at before/after a game. You will also see that the Dallas Stars first line last night was 29th in their set, so, there is that.

I will leave this one with a Matthew DeFranks tweet that really encompasses all other things you have read here, today. Dallas played their brand of hockey tonight and lost. Not promising as this shortened season marches further towards completion.


NOTES:

  1. Anton Khudobin was given the night off following back-to-back performances earlier in the week where he saved 92/94 shots. Landon Bow was recalled from the taxi-squad to backup Jake Oettinger.
  2. Florida Panthers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky now holds a 1.80 GAA (Goals Against Average) against Dallas in his career. His record now stands at 14-1-1 over 16 contests. If you remove the Tampa Bay Lightning from the equation, Bobrovsky has a career 2.23 GAA versus the six other teams in this Central Divison. Impressive.
  3. Radek Faksa led offensive characters, with Hintz out, for Dallas in ice time (20.8 minutes) and upped his career year in face-off percetange to 58.3%. Good for ninth in the NHL for those with 100 victories on the draw. Covering the loss of production from 2019-2020 Western Conference leader Tyler Seguin in this category.
  4. Roope Hintz missed his second straight contest and his prognosis is not looking up, per Dallas Stars GM Jim Nill. “It’s going to be something that’s going to bother him probably through right to the end of the season. He’s just going to play through it when he can and go from there.”
  5. Following tonight’s contest, Jake Oettinger has allowed just one goal in the first period across six starts. However, of the 16 goals allowed, nine of them have come in the third period or later. This will be something to keep an eye on moving forward. Unsure if it’s confidence or coincidence this early in his career.
  6. Alexander Radulov or Tour de Rad as he looked to begin this season, is expected back on skates next week, per GM Jim Nill. Dallas is 1-3-3 since Radulov exited with a lower body injury on February 4th versus the Columbus Blue Jackets.
  7. Jamie Benn deflected his way back into the goals column in this one, scoring his first tally in six games. This marks his fourth outage of six games or more in the past two seasons.