stamkosattemptbajillion

No unbeaten NHL teams remain after Dallas follows Toronto’s loss thanks to awful penalty killing

1 Comment

While the Toronto Maple Leafs can take one point and some positives away from their first defeat of the season to the New York Islanders, the Dallas Stars have plenty to worry about after the Tampa Bay Lightning handed them a humbling (and misleadingly close) 5-4 loss tonight.

The Stars were getting away with allowing a lot of shots (an average of 38 per game including tonight’s ugly affair) – and plenty of power-play goals – so far in their impressive 4-0 run, but their luck ran out tonight. It’s almost as if the Lightning were angered by Toby Petersen’s short-handed goal, as the hard-charging group scored a stunning four out of five times on the man advantage in this game. Steve Stamkos was especially impressive in this one, scoring one goal and adding two assists to bring his season totals to five goals and nine points in only five games played.

A bad penalty kill is troubling enough, but that aforementioned tendency to get out-shot might be the most worrisome trend. As impressive as Kari Lehtonen can be, you’re not going to win many games when you give up 44 shots and only put 19 on the opposing goalie.

The second period was especially embarrassing for the Stars as the Lightning out-shot them 20-3 while widening their lead from 2-1 to 4-2. The stunning part is that Tampa Bay did this all without team captain Vincent Lecavalier, who missed the contest with a hand injury.

Dallas made a late surge in the third period after allowing their fourth PP goal of the night, as Brenden Morrow scored soon after and James Neal brought the game to within one goal with a minute left. This team clearly can fill the net with aplomb, but chances are pretty high that they won’t often produce four (or more) goals on less than 20 shots over the long haul.

The good news is that the Stars are still 4-1 even though they’ve needed great goaltending and an explosive offense to obscure some serious blemishes. The bad news is that they have a long way to go until they can match their elite record with elite, overall team efforts.

If nothing else, they should be awfully entertaining to watch if they can keep scoring at such a blistering rate, though.

Fights, hits and a blown kiss: Stars and Blues get nasty

Leave a comment

Things were getting out of hand between the Dallas Stars and St. Louis Blues on the scoreboard in an eventual 6-1 Blues win.

They were also getting a little raucous on the ice when it was clear that the Stars weren’t going to stage a comeback.

Jamie Benn was whistled for cross-checking Alex Pietrangelo, but it was Stephen Johns‘ hit from behind on Pietrangelo really revved up the violence.

Watch that hit and then the scrum that ensued in the video above, which included a scary display of an angry Ryan Reaves … who got creative at the end.

You may also want the kiss alone, so here it is:

Memo: rough stuff might not work so well against the Blues.

Read about that blowout here.

Blues bombard Stars, go up 2-1 in series

1 Comment

Sometimes a final score is misleading. In the case of the St. Louis Blues’ 6-1 thrashing of the Dallas Stars, it might just be the start of the story.

Honestly, the most positive thing the Stars can say is “Well, at least it was just one game.”

It was one ugly game, however, and now the Blues hold a 2-1 series lead with a chance to really take control if they can win Game 4 at home.

The Blues dominated just about every category on Tuesday, firing more shots on goal, enjoying better special teams play and throwing more hits. They even blocked a higher number of shots, which often isn’t the case for the squad that carries play.

This leaves the Stars picking up the pieces, especially when it comes to their work in their own end.

Do you put greater blame on struggling goalies Kari Lehtonen and Antti Niemi or is this more about the Stars’ lax defensive coverage? The scary answer may be “Both,” and the Stars likely know that they need to find answers quickly.

On the bright side for Dallas, it is just one game … and the Blues were searching for answers of their own after Game 1.

We saw the Blues turn things around with these two straight wins, so now the Stars must show that they can gather themselves and play the attacking, out-score-your-mistakes style that got them here.

Granted, they may have to keep an eye out for supplemental discipline after some rough stuff toward the end of the game.

Predators smash Sharks to get back in series

1 Comment

After a dispiriting 1-0 goal allowed by Pekka Rinne, things were looking bleak for the Nashville Predators for a moment there.

Nashville’s developed into a resilient group, however, and they stormed back for a commanding 4-1 win to shrink San Jose’s series advantage to 2-1.

The Predators saw some of their big names come up huge as the series shifted from San Jose to Nashville.

Pekka Rinne looked sharp following that first goal (and didn’t allow another). Their goals came from James Neal, Colin Wilson, Filip Forsberg and captain Shea Weber.

Weber’s tally was the game-winner, and it was downright thunderous:

Another promising sign: after a struggling to a 2-for-31 clip in previous playoff games, the Predators’ power play went 2-for-5 in Game 3.

Overall, the Predators really couldn’t ask for much more from this win, especially if Colton Sissons is indeed OK after a scary crash into the Sharks’ net.

Things could get really interesting if Nashville manages to “hold serve” with another home win on Thursday.

Stars’ goalie carousel goes around again: Lehtonen replaces Niemi

Dallas Stars goalie Antti Niemi (31) subs in for goalie Kari Lehtonen (32) during the third period of an NHL hockey game, Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2015, in Dallas. The Stars won 6-5. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
AP
1 Comment

It’s pretty tough not to make jokes about the Dallas Stars spending $10.4 million on their goalies at times like these, even if Dallas’ defense should shoulder plenty of blame.

After Kari Lehtonen was pulled from a Game 2 loss, the St. Louis Blues chased Antti Niemi early in the second period of Game 3 after Niemi allowed three goals on 12 shots.

Troy Brouwer‘s 3-1 goal was enough for Lindy Ruff to give Niemi the hook:

Unfortunately for the Stars, Lehtonen got off to a slow start as well, allowing an immediate Vladimir Tarasenko goal.

The Blues are now 4-1 and the Stars are searching for answers … and probably wishing Tyler Seguin was around to help them out-score their problems.