Game 56: WE BEAT THE CAPS!!!

This weekend we had the privilege of watching our Dallas Stars take on the top team in the league. We had previously beat the Washington Capitals on the road earlier this season, and have a pretty good record against them overall (Stars have won the 7 last meetings, and after Saturday night, 8), but hockey being the way it is, you just never know. I was much more nervous going into this game than I think Caitlynn was. And some of the nervousness was certainly called for as evidenced by the final period. The end result was a decisive win against a formidable foe, in a highly entertaining game. Probably one of the most exciting I’ve witnessed to date.

What did we know about the Washington Capitals going in? A bit actually. They’re having quite the season. They sit solidly at the top of the Eastern Conference (ahead by so much that Vegas is no longer accepting bets on which team will win the Eastern Conference). They of course are first in the league as well. In the game prior to Saturday, The Great Alexander Ovechkin scored a hat trick, which helped place him in sole possession of the top of the goal scorer leaderboard. And then they also have Holtbeast Holtby, who is doing pretty well for himself, leading the rest of the goaltenders in wins. That combined with the sheer offensive firepower that this team provides made for a great test for the Stars.

Here are some of the highlights/notable things that happened during this game:

-We won! 4-3

-All of our Patricks (Patrik) got a point

-Roussel and Wilson were shoving each other in the very first face off they were in. We thought this hinted at things to come, but luckily nothing happened on that end.

-JANMARK SCORED FIRST!!! (This is super important for Italia)

-Followed by goals from Jamie (!), and 2 from Seguin.

-Klingberg was on the receiving end of some rough treatment from the Caps. Penalties were called on them, so it stayed a fair game for the most part.

-After Brooks Laich high-sticked Klingberg, he smiled and looked very proud of himself. He got a penalty for it.

-Goligoski received a roughing minor after the ensuing tussle involving Klingberg.

-Dominated in the second period. Like in Chicago, we scored all 4 of our goals in one period. This led to Holtby being replaced in the third period.

-Nemeth playing really solidly. Multipoint night, and earned 2nd Star!

-Seguin and Eakin injured: Seguin left the ice towards the end of the 3rd period after getting wrist cut by Backstrom’s skate. He left to get stitched up, but was able to return for final moments (did not play), and to do his victory lap for earning 1st Star. Eakin left with an undisclosed injury (might have been the result of a hit?). Both Eakin and Seguin will be playing against the Nashville Predators.

So all in all, what a great win for us. We kept the best team in the league on their toes offensively, and then were able to defend when they threw everything they had at us. The last period was stressful, but that was to be expected. The Washington Capitals are too good a team to allow themselves to ease up, even when four goals down. Sure, I think we all would have preferred a bigger deficit to finish the game, but I can’t really complain. Now that this game is over, and we won, I can say that watching the Capitals play was amazing, especially in the 3rd period (I’m sure I would be feeling much different had we allowed them to tie the game up…). We got to witness Ovechkin’s deadly slap shot (which sucks being on the receiving end for), along with some magnificent saves from Holtby that had the Stars fans around us clapping in admiration. I am grateful that we are in different conferences, but I hope we get to play them again. Maybe after the regular season ends in a series…

Until next time!

Caitlynn & Italia

Game 55: Hat trick for Patrick, and not the one you’re expecting.

The initial feelings going into this game were less than fond. Not only had we lost to them five days prior, Spezza is still out with his injury, and suddenly Demers was out with an illness. The outlook at the start was not good. The only thing going in our favor was Artemi Panarin also being out with illness.

We took most of these notes during the game, so please note the descending incoherency as we go along.

-Gorgeous first period showing off our offensive skill, solid second to show off how strong we can be defensively, and then a third that said ‘well, if all else fails, we do have a goalie’.

-Eaves with a beautiful goal at a ridiculous angle! Seriously, we didn’t think it went in.

-Klingberg scores in regulation on the 4-on-4!! (Technically considered special teams!)

-Moen and Mashinter get in a little scuffle, even went so far as to drop the gloves, but the linesmen wouldn’t let them throw punches. They each got 2 minutes for unsportsmanlike behavior.

-Roussel smashes into the glass in a poorly preformed check

-Eaves gets another PP goal!!

-Kari omg thank God (we’re leaving this in, and we’re not sure exactly what happened, but we assume Kari stopped a Patrick Kane break away)

-EAVES HAT TRICK!!!! Eaves scores on the PP yet again to complete the second hat trick of his career. (As a side note, his first career hat trick was with the Red Wings, and against the Dallas Stars)

  • First player in Dallas Stars history to get a hat trick in first period!
  • Tenth player to score three goals in one period in franchise history.

-“They went through the Hawks defense like a bowl of bad Indian food.”- Razor

-Nemeth keeps the puck while falling, manages to pass it to a teammate before hitting the ice. He has definitely been playing better as of late.

-We held defensively through the second period! We have defense again!

-Moen disappears at some point during the second period and does not return. He is out with a lower body injury and is listed as day to day by Ruff.

 

Some Informal Stats through the second period:

-Janmark fall count: 2

-Jordie fall count: 1

-Jamie fall count: 2

-Jokipakka fall count: 1

-Klingberg fall count: 1

-Jamie broken stick: 1 (He broke it himself over his knee in frustration)

 

-Klingberg scores a goal for the Hawks with his butt (deflection), causes the Hawks to rally a bit. Caitlynn finds this hilarious, Italia, being the sour grape she is, does not.

-Kane finds the net straight from a pass from his buddy Toews after winning the face off in our zone.

-Kari seems to be the only Star on the ice in the third period. The Hawks really came back and threw everything they had at us in the third. Luckily, we maintained a two goal lead, despite the Hawks playing with an extra attacker for the last three minutes of the game. Kari held on.

 

Thankfully, this meeting with the Hawks went a lot better than the previous one had. It was nice to be able to win on their ice after the embarrassed us on ours. (Sadly the world did not see to deliver poetic justice and give them a 5-1 loss, but we’ll take 4-2.) We played well, and it’s hard to stop such an offensive powerhouse like Chicago when they get desperate in the third.

Come back next time where we play the Capitals. (Yikes.)

-Cailtynn and Italia

Game 54: Overtime Again? Well okay.

Probably still smarting a little from the horrible loss on Saturday (we know we were), our boys took off on the father’s road trip. First game on the schedule was against the Wild, who we all know beat us at home the last time we met.  Anytime we play the Wild, things seem to get a little sloppy and physical. This game was no exception, but we came out on top, which was a good confidence booster before facing Chicago, yet again, at the United Center.

 

Some slightly more in-depth analysis:

 

-“Make them defend and that’s how we’re going to win.” –Said by the first Wild player in the interviews during the pre-game. Other teams are starting to pick up on how different our defense operates. Our defense plays so offensively, which can be good (like when our defensemen score three of our four goals). It’s not good when we give up 2-on-0s that result in goals.

-Poor possession at the start of the game due to that struggling defense and the pressure the Wild kept putting on our guys to ensure they didn’t have room to work.

-Bad goal in the 3rd for the Wild. Should have been overturned by the review, which was brought up by the league not the Stars themselves, because there was enough doubt about whether or not Dumba touched the puck with his hand before it went in. The bad goal caused our guys to lose their momentum and go 16-5 SOGs in the third period in favor of the Wild. They got rattled, but Kari! Kari was first star of the game in our hearts. Kari is the only reason we made it into OT to get the win.

 

-Jordie very carefully flattens a guy. A very soft push down to the ice. Gentle defending.

-Jordie knocked over a few times.

-Eaves was the target of a lot of shoving and rudeness. He got his helmet punched off there at one point. 😦

-Roussel-Janmark-Hemsky line should come back. Janmark and Hemsky play really well together, and Roussel gives that physical presence to the front of the net and to the forechecks.

-Janmark almost falls attempting to pick up stick off the ice, but he doesn’t!

-Announcer notes how there was no one to ‘go down on Eaves’. Innuendo counter: 1

-Jamie runs into someone’s stick and draws a penalty.

-Klingberg cheering gets picked up by the mics: A+

 

-Goligoski with the goal. Defense getting in on that offense like they do. (Eaves with the assist, which he deserved for getting shoved down and then subsequently sat on).

-Demers goal, which totally bounced in off an unfortunate Wild defenseman. But we’ll take it! (He also got a tripping call, which seems to be his thing recently. Get a tripping penalty, get a point, be it goal or assist.)

-Eaves scores on the power play! They didn’t score on us during our power plays!!

-Eaves plays well on the top lines, both on the top power play unit and on the top line itself. He generates a lot of good opportunities and he goes to the front of the net to put pressure on the goalie and the defense.

-Klingberg once again goes full hero in OT to score. Klingberg now is close to a tie for first for OT winners this season. Toews has 5, Klinger has 4.

-Won while their daddies are here to watch them! “Proud Papas”, as the Stars Twitter called them.

-Less falling to the ice for unknown reasons!

-A few defensive plays that actually worked out for us!

 

So we came away with the win, after a pretty disappointing loss at home. We hope that the momentum carries into Thursday night as well.

 

Next time, we talk Chicago. For real this time.

-Caitlynn and Italia

Game 53: The Stars Played the Hawks? Not That We Saw.

Defense? We have that, sometimes, but not tonight.

It hurts when you lose at home to cheers from the other team’s fans that the home fans can’t drown out. 😦

To distract from the less than stellar game we watched, Caitlynn will take this time to talk about the less than stellar neighbor she sits next to because Italia “doesn’t have the self-control” and “doesn’t want to cause a scene”. In her defense, she did offer to switch several times, but Caitlynn turned down the offer because she likes the chance to point out things he misses.

 

The problem with season tickets is that sometimes your seats are next to other season ticket holder seats. Sometimes, that’s great. Sometimes, you can make friends and that’s all neat. But the gentleman, and I hesitate to call him as such, that sits to my immediate right is a general nightmare. He’s loud, and he says the most obnoxious stuff. I do not need to hear his opinion of which ice girl is wearing too much makeup, nor the fact that ‘season ticket holders aren’t allowed to date the ice girls, or I’d be with at least three of them’ as he said to his friend. Yes, I do know that was icing. Yes, that indeed was a penalty, but it was tripping not a hook as you just so said. And he never is saying all these things to me, despite how loudly he proclaims them, but I can hear it all. He’s always making negative comments about our play, which yes please don’t turn it over in the defensive zone y’all, but it doesn’t help anyone for you to point it out from the terrace level. (Heck, they probably wouldn’t care if you were right on the glass.) It doesn’t help my anxiety, or my level of tolerance for your amateur analysis that is literally a play by play of what I just witnessed. I’m sure your friend is also paying attention, and unless asking a direct question, is probably smart enough to figure out what just happened. Especially for a penalty where the Ref will kindly come and tell us exactly who did what. And I swear to God, if he says how Jordie is lucky to be on the roster one more time, I will lose it. I believe in Jordie more than I believe in myself most days.

Look, I know I’m probably just as loud and make comments that are just as stupid, but I do try and refrain from saying inflammatory things about the players and their intelligence. My only crime is to constantly gasp in shock and wonder aloud, a tad frantically, ‘is he okay?’. After every hit or anytime someone falls down. (Something not always, though mostly, reserved for our guys either. Please don’t hurt each other. 😦 And I know it’s not particularly productive to worry about hits because they are a part of the game and they’re gonnna happen.) Or, I’ll say things like ‘It’s okay, babe’ when something bad happens or they make a bad play. I can find it in my heart to forgive them because they’re my team no matter what they do. I’m sure that gets on the nerves of my neighbors.  But I have never called a player stupid for a bad play. It’s a hard job, and I know for a fact I could not do better, and I’m 99.9% sure, gentleman to my right, that you couldn’t either.

Some overheard gems

Annoying Seat Neighbor (ASN): Shoot the puck!! Just throw it at the net!!

Roussel: -shoots the puck-

ASN: My shot is harder than that!

 

ASN: Shoot the puck!

Unknown Star: -does-

ASN: [in regards to the opposing teams goalie] He’s left handed, you numbnut! The other side!!

 

ASN: That’s our rookie, Yawn-Mark.

ASN: [Longwinded story about friend living in Chicago and the girlfriend no one likes.]

ASN: That’s Jordie Benn. He’s lucky to still be on our roster.

 

And the worst thing he’s ever said: I think I’m going to renew these seats!

 

My only saving grace is that he doesn’t go to every home game, and sometimes, there is blissful silence from his seat.

So to have his running commentary throughout the entire Hawks game was just insult to injury. (Though to be fair, he stopped caring at the 4-1 point when it was clear that we weren’t gonna make a comeback. Maybe if we could separate ourselves emotionally, it would be okay, but alas, we are who we are.)

 

After this game, all we could do was pick ourselves up and move on. Our hope was that we could take what happened, learn from it, and come back stronger than ever.

Comeback next time for more complaining about somewhat, but not really, hockey related stories. (But for real, next time it’ll be hockey related. Promise.)

-Caitlynn and Italia

P.S. If you’re reading this, and you know who you are, hello. And it’s pronounced YAN-mark.

Game 52: The Revenant was good? I guess it was.

Due to having friends that don’t quite appreciate hockey in the same way we do, we had to miss the majority of this game in order to maintain friendships. Bummer. We saw The Revenant which was also sad. So please excuse our less than thorough review of this game, as well as the four game delay upon which it has been posted.

 

Italia’s fear of Varlamov was abated upon learning that, for personal legal reasons that are neither here nor there, Pickard started in net. Caitlynn still had no opinion of the Avs goalie. Notable going into this game was the fact that the Stars had not won in The Pepsi Center since 2013. It wasn’t a very promising statistic, especially considering our recent struggles against them. Fortunately we have broken the winless streak against the Colorado Avalanche!

 

As per usual, our break down of the good, the bad, and the so-so.

 

The Good:

-We won!

-Goals from Spezza, Hemsky, and Demers

-Niemi blocked MacKinnon’s penalty shot. Penalty shots are always stressful, so that’s a good thing. Thank you, Niemi.

-We won a goaltender interference challenge for once! Kept the deficit at the end of the second period at one, instead of two like it could have been.

-Klinger “goes full hero” in over time!

-Since we didn’t actually watch the game, we can’t comment too intelligently on how well they played, but since they won, we’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and say it was beautiful. Everyone did great. They’re perfect. Everyone gets first star.

 

The Bad:

-Spezza. 😦 Upper body injury after getting checked into boards in the second period. He left the bench and did not return to the game. After the game, we were informed that his condition was week-to-week, and was later placed on IR.

-Janmark  was elbowed in the face and came away bloody. As far as we know, there was no call made for that. (In this case, it might be good that Italia did not witness this. She was stressed enough as it was.)

 

The So-So:

-Janmark and Eaves involved in a scuffle, and Eaves got a roughing penalty (even though it was clearly self-defense). It seemed like the entire Avs line swarmed Janmark. He was the lone Stars player in a gaggle of Avs bullies. (Italia caught enough of this to have her blood pressure rise slightly.)

 

And that sums up our less than thorough observations this game. We’ll try not to let friendship interfere with the important things in life.

 

Yup. Thanks!

-Caitlynn and Italia

Game 51: The Stars vs. Big Buff

And hockey is back! Sure, the All Star weekend was entertaining. It was a nice break (for fans and players alike), giving everyone a chance to relax before getting back to the grind. But now we delve into the second half of the season where the stakes are higher as teams are pushing for that playoff spot. Makes for some stressful games, and goodness knows we handle stress so well. But as we enjoy punishing ourselves, we are eager to watch some games.

As mentioned previously, we are diving right into a schedule full of division games this month, starting with this away game against the Winnipeg Jets. As we are all aware, our road record as of late has been pretty bad (which is a huge understatement). So going into this game our hope was that the Stars would open February with a strong win against a divisional rival on the road. It wasn’t pretty, but mission accomplished!

What we knew about the Jets going in:

The Jets sat and continue to sit dead last in the division with a total of 47 points. There is a big question mark over Dustin Byfuglien and his pending free agency. We’ll get more into this later. And we won both matchups against them this season (once in a shootout). That basically sums up our knowledge of the Jets. We’ll be honest, half the time we forget they’re in our division…

Onto the game itself! As usual, we break it down into the positive, negative, and random observations from us.

Positives:

  • We won! 5-3.
  • Seguin scored twice, thus ending his 4 game drought (yeah, 4 whole games without a goal, poor guy)
  • Fiddler also ended an 8 game scoring drought
  • Klingberg scored on a bizarre but beautiful 3 on 0 breakaway fed by Demers as he exited the penalty box. (Along with a stick-less Eakin, just happy to be included.)
  • We actually scored on the power play!
  • Antti Niemi had an amazing game. He pulled off several major saves that kept us in the game. With less than 5 minutes in the game he performed an amazing save that prevented the Jets from tying it up while they pulled their goalie for the extra attacker.
  • Roussel scored the empty netter, sealing the deal for the Stars at the end of the game.

Negatives:

  • There was a lot of frantic skating happening at the beginning of the game. It seemed to take a while before the game settled down a bit and the guys found their stride.
  • That hit on Sceviour… Regardless of whether or not that was a clean hit by Byfuglien, it looked scary as Sceviour’s head was forced into the boards. Oduya and Fiddler thought it looked bad, too, as they immediately jumped to Sceviour’s defense. Byfuglien received a boarding minor for the hit. Sceviour played 2 more shifts, but was absent from the bench towards the end of the game. Per Lindy Ruff, after practice on Wednesday, he does not have a concussion, and might play against the Avs. (Update: looks like he’s scratched.)
  • In general, Byfuglien was all over our guys.

 

And speaking of Byfuglien…

Some people are watching anxiously to see where he ends up. The 6’5, 260 lbs. defenseman can be a valuable addition to several teams’ blue line. As is the norm during this time, the rumors are flying. Among the teams being thrown around as potentially being interested in Byfuglien is Dallas. We can’t deny that we are in need of a strong, big defenseman. And after watching him play on the same line as Tyler Seguin during the All Star tournament, we (and I probably speak more for myself on this one rather than Caitlynn), were pretty impressed. Obviously he is good. And he proved that during the game we played against him as well. That goal of his was scary…

But to be honest, after that hit on Sceviour, we’re not too eager to have him on our team (if it’s something that is even being considered). Thankfully this is something that is decided by people much more qualified than we are. We have faith in Jim Nill, but first impressions are hard to shake. And anyways, it looks like Big Buff might try to stay with the Jets, which means that we worry for nothing.

 

Observations:

  • Was there any shift that played without someone just straight up falling down? No check to them or poorly execute check preformed themselves, just up and crashing to the ice. Normally, we’ll keep track of a few guys, but this game there were just bodies all over the ice. And it wasn’t only us! Jets too. Ice is slippery; a fact of physics that doesn’t change, even for the professionals.
  • Sticks made out of Styrofoam? They seemed to break left and right. Eaves lost at least two. They also seemed to have trouble keeping hold of them.
  • And we’ll take this opportunity to say a quick prayer of thanks to the Hockey Gods for crossbars. They definitely saved us several times during the night.

 

All in all, a much needed win that will hopefully set the tone for the coming games. It was nice to come back from the All-Stars break on such a positive note. Let’s hope we can keep that momentum going in Colorado.

Join us next time for more legit hockey analysis observations!

-Caitlynn and Italia