One area of Dallas’ game that that doesn’t appear to need much tweaking is their defense.
There are a host of veteran guys leading the way. Newcomer Sergei Gonchar joins Trevor Daley, Stephane Robidas, and Alex Goligoski along the blue line. Those guys make up what would normally be a pretty good top-four, but it’s the young guys who will make the Stars a tougher team to contend with in the West.
Rookies Brenden Dillon, 22, and Jamie Oleksiak, 20, arrived on the scene and made an immediate impression with the big club. Dillon in particular showed what he was about in adding an immensely physical game with toughness (65 penalty minutes) and some offensive touch as well (3 goals, 5 assists). If you dig into his advanced statistics, you’ll see why many rave about him beyond the standard numbers.
It’s Dillon in particular that has Stars faithful excited. His play was strong enough last season to earn him a spot on Team Canada’s roster for the World Championships. His mix of defensive and offensive abilities, accidental or not, has some in Dallas hoping he’ll be the next to wear the captain’s “C.”
The Stars certainly have their holes on the roster, but most of them are amongst their forwards. GM Jim Nill only addressed his blue line by adding Gonchar. With the rise of the kids through the system, his concerns can stay on improving the team elsewhere.
It’s been getting that spotlight since the Columbus Blue Jackets faced off against the Pittsburgh Penguins in a brisk playoff series, though it wouldn’t be surprising if the bad blood stemmed to Dubinsky’s days with New York.
To some, Dubinsky’s cross-check on Crosby will resonate far more than the end result of this game:
The bottom line is that he’ll get the last laugh, at least for now. (In-game, that moment merely drew a minor penalty.)
That’s because Dubinsky set up the overtime game-winner, and the cherry on the top of that spite sundae came with Crosby being on the ice when it happened:
They’re not just rubbing the Penguins the wrong way.
Cheap shot on a superstar, a little uncalled goalie interference and presto – Blue Jackets win!
The Buffalo Sabres probably deserved better during at least some chunks of their six-game skid, yet Jack Eichel swooped in on Friday to remind fans that there’s a light shining at the end of the tunnel.
You can watch his goal from tonight’s eventual 4-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes in the video above.
That’s not necessarily the absolute height of his on-ice magic, yet it clearly gave his team a lift:
Coach Bylsma: Feel like after Jack's goal, the game changed for us. #gamechanger