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5 Thoughts on Stars-Kings
Stars win 5-2 as power play takes off
I tried a slightly different approach to watching the Dallas Stars 5-2 win against the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday.
Because of a later bedtime for the kids, necessitated by some running around for family/life things, I wasn’t able to sit down and watch the game until around 9 pm ET/8 pm CT.
So I watched the game on a slight delay, took time to rewind things, skipped through commercials, and stayed off of Twitter. It was a lovely experience. I highly suggest watching sports this way.
Anyways, I still have thoughts on the game. They are for paid subscribers only for 24 hours and will be unlocked for everyone else tomorrow evening. If you aren’t a paid subscriber, you can change that right here.
1. By typical human standards Cal Petersen is quite tall.
But Petersen happens to play in a position where giants roam and at 6-foot-1, the Kings goalie happens to be shrimp compared to many of his peers. Petersen also tends to get extremely compact in his stance, which can made him look even shorter.
That’s the book on Petersen, shoot high, glove side in particular, and you’ll start to find success.
Jason Robertson, Tyler Seguin, and Roope Hintz each did that in quick succession in the second period.
Robertson’s goal came with a well-placed Joe Pavelski screen, while Seguin and Hintz were simply quicker picking the top corner than the Los Angeles goalie’s right hand.
Here is the Hintz goal, which gives pretty good picture of where Petersen’s glove was stationed for much of the night.
Those goals, all in a span of 90 seconds, created a scoreline that was reflective of the overall night. Dallas was the better team throughout, this quick flurry was just the exclamation point.
2. The Stars have recently dealt with injuries to both first-round picks from 2017, Jake Oettinger and Miro Heiskanen, and it doesn’t take a PHD to observe that the Stars are clearly a better team with both of those players in the lineup.
Heiskanen was back in the lineup on Tuesday and he was dynamic, which is funny to think about when it was initially announced after morning skate that he would still be out for this one.
Heiskanen controlled the Stars game flow from the defensive zone forward, and his signature stick work — both defensively and offensively — made a notable difference.
In the end Heiskanen finished with a pair of assists, was on the ice for all of the Stars goals, and wasn’t on the ice for any against.
Oettinger was absent and will likely miss at least a week due to injury, leaving the starter’s duties to Scott Wedgewood during that time.
There are two key differences between Wedgewood and Oettinger, which Stars fans will have to learn to live with while waiting for the No. 1 goalie to recover. Wedgewood’s rebound control isn’t nearly as crisp as Oettinger’s, he doesn’t kill plays and momentum, and he likes to be aggressive at the top of his crease.
That aggression, combined without snuffing rebounds, can create situations like the goal by Kevin Fiala in the second period where the initial save was made, but there wasn’t enough space to recover.
3. The Kings were playing the second game of a back-to-back. The Stars got the memo.
Dallas came out firing, both physically and offensively, and dominated the opening stanza. It was only a 1-0 lead, but for a coaching profession that preaches process over results, it was 20 minutes of distilled greatness for Peter DeBoer.
The Stars weren’t shy, at all, about pulling the trigger and shooting. In fact, if there’s any criticism of the opening period, it’s the handful of times they were too quick to shoot — Nils Lundkvist on the power play for example — and didn’t allow traffic to develop in front of Petersen.
Hintz’ goal was the end result of the rapid fire approach, serving as the final hammer through Petersen, on the power play, after the Stars continuously tracked down rebounds and contained the offensive zone.
4. Mason Marchment wears No. 27 as a tribute to his late father, Bryan, who passed away this past summer.
For younger readers who didn’t get to see him play, Bryan Marchment was an ass to play against — and I mean that as a compliment. Bryan Marchment was physical, hit a little bit of everything, and sometimes failed to toe the line properly when it came to that physicality. He was understandably a villain for Stars fans from the late 90s and early 2000s.
Mason Marchment is a different player than his dad when it comes to skill, while Bryan made the NHL for his defense, Mason reached the NHL because of his hands and ability to navigate the offensive zone.
But Mason Marchment still hits everything, albeit with a little bit more finesse that’s been refined and forced by the evolution of the sport. And when a team is playing the second game of a back-to-back, as we talked about the Kings earlier, Mason Marchment becomes an ass to play against.
Marchment also created a nice one-two physical presence on the wing with Jamie Benn, who left his mark on the game and the Kings.
5. I have a proposal for how the Stars could use Denis Gurianov, and I brought this up on Monday in my podcast appearance at 105.3.
Try to turn Gurianov into a penalty killer. Hear me out.
At this point, without a spot on the power play, Gurianov has been turned into nothing more than a third-line player — one that, it should be noted, was quite good and had a stellar assist to Seguin and should have scored himself in the third period.
The Stars need to find a way to help him find a role where public success isn’t tied to putting pucks in the net. To be clear, they need Gurianov to score, but they also need to find a space where Gurianov’s entire self-worth as a player isn’t tied to goals and assists.
This is where my penalty-killing theory comes into play. If you make Gurianov a penalty killer, like a gunner coming off the bench streaking in on the forecheck, you potentially add a second role that shifts his mental focus from only worrying about whether or not he scored that night.
Just a thought, and with how many penalties the Stars have taken this season, the coaches have had lots opportunities to test various penalty killing schemes.