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

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