After a bad 4-2 Opening Night loss to the Florida Panthers on October 3, the Dallas Stars needed to play a much better game against the Washington Capitals before entering a five-day break.
The Stars did not get off to a great start, as they surrendered an early power play goal by
some scrub Alexander Ovechkin. However, instead of rolling over and playing dead against the Capitals, the Stars brought the fight to the Capitals and sustained it. Erik Cole tied the game minutes after Ovechkin’s goal, and Alex Chiasson scored off the rush on a give-and-go with Cody Eakin after a penalty kill in the second period.
The Stars allowed 26 shots on goal, a stark contrast from the 39 they allowed against the Panthers, so Kari Lehtonen did not have to be spectacular to keep the Stars in the game. (Let’s keep it that way, okay?)
This game won’t be remembered for any of its scoring. Instead, the hockey community was treated with a gem of a penalty announcement by referee Mike Leggo, when he turned on his microphone early and announced to Shawn Horcoff and the world, “You can’t do that!” That is this post’s theme, and let’s get down to business.
Alexander Ovechkin’s Power Play Goal
Did you see how quickly the puck shot OUT of the net after Ovechkin shot it? Damn. Let’s see the same play from behind the net.
Alright, how did that happen?
Nicklas Backstrom has the puck near the right faceoff circle. Since the Stars have the passing lanes in the slot covered, his only options are to pass the puck back to Mike Green at the point (off-screen), or give it to Marcus Johansson near the net. He gives it to Johansson.
Johansson quickly shoots a pass towards the slot to Troy Brouwer for a prime scoring chance there.
However, the pass doesn’t connect and goes all the way to the point to Green.
Here, the Stars have the passing lanes in the slot covered, however, there’s one guy in the faceoff circle that is wide open in his favorite goal-scoring spot: Ovechkin.
Vernon Fiddler goes to attack the puck carrier, Green, who passes it to Ovechkin.
Ovechkin one-times the shot, and in this still shot, it looks like Jordie Benn has a chance to block the shot.
However, he barely moves before Ovechkin launches a rocket of a shot towards Lehtonen. It goes in past Lehtonen’s glove-hand.
By the time any Stars penalty killer realizes what has happened, the puck has already begun heading towards the Stars bench after ricocheting out of the net.
There are goal scorers, and then there is Alexander Ovechkin. He’s undoubtedly one of the best players in the NHL, and he scores these types of goals in his sleep. This was such a severe angle, and he still buried the shot.
Allowing Alexander Ovechkin to shoot from his favorite scoring position? You can’t do that.
Erik Cole’s Game-Tying Goal
Oh, this was beautiful execution by the Stars. And yes, we’re going to need another look at that.
This play all happens because of Stephane Robidas. I’ll show you why.
Here, the Capitals try to clear the puck to allow them to change lines.
However, Robidas beats Jason Chimera to the puck near the point and keeps it in, and Jamie Benn shoots it around the boards.
The puck rings all around the boards to Tyler Seguin behind the net. On the far right is Erik Cole. All of the Capitals in this still shot are focused on the puck, and are not aware Cole is heading towards the slot.
Seguin peeks over his right shoulder and backhands a centering pass towards the slot pass, and John Carlson does not cut it off.
A wide-open Erik Cole one-times the puck past Braden Holtby, and the game is tied.
Failing to clear the puck and allowing somebody wide open to shoot in the slot? You can’t do that.
Nicklas Backstrom’s Disallowed Goal
That looks like the puck went in off either Alex Goligoski or Nicklas Backstrom. Referee Mike Leggo calls a goal on the ice. But, why did Kari Lehtonen fall down like that?
Oh. Backstrom cross-checked Lehtonen in the face.
The officials got together after the play and ruled that Backstrom made incidental contact with Lehtonen, and therefore, his goal did not count, overruling the call on the ice. This was crucial, because goaltender interference is not reviewable.
It’s questionable whether or not Backstrom’s goal would have counted anyway, because in the overhead shot, it looks like he bats the puck in with his glove, which is not allowed. It’s a moot point, though.
It should be noted that if Goligoski wanted to box out Backstrom, he should not have directed Backstrom TOWARDS the net. This is not to suggest that Goligoski forced Backstrom into Lehtonen, and that’s why Backstrom interfered with Lehtonen.
Cross-checking a goaltender in the face? You can’t do that.
Alex Chiasson’s G0-Ahead Goal
Great end-to-end hockey by the Stars here. Chiasson starts the play, and he finishes it.
This replay shows how Eakin and Chiasson converted the scoring chance, but let’s see exactly how the Stars got the puck first.
Yup. Chiasson knocks Martin Erat off the puck in the defensive zone, and Eakin picks up the loose puck to begin the odd-man rush, which the Stars convert.
After Chiasson knocks Erat off the puck and Eakin collects it in the neutral zone, it’s a 3-on-2 for the Stars, with Jay Beagle, Erat and Brouwer all trapped in the Stars’ zone. John Erskine and Steve Olesky are the only Capitals back to defend the play.
Eakin drops the puck to Chiasson. While Erat and Beagle are backchecking, they’re not close enough to help out. Brouwer is nowhere to be found.
Chiasson one-times a pass back to Eakin in the right faceoff circle. This forces Erskine to focus on Eakin, and not the guy who has yet to be covered by any Capitals player.
Eakin one-times a shot on Holtby, who gives up a juicy rebound in the slot to Chiasson, who is still not covered. Meanwhile, Ray Whitney has taken Olesky out of the play, so he can’t get to the puck.
Chiasson has a yawning net to shoot in, and he gives the Stars a 2-1 lead. Beagle was the closest player to defend Chiasson, but he did not get to him in time.
Giving up an odd-man rush, a juicy rebound in the slot, and failing to cover Chiasson? You can’t do that.
The third period was largely uneventful, save for the last 35 seconds when Tyler Seguin shot the puck over the glass in his own zone, giving the Capitals a 6-on-4 power play with the pulled goaltender. Here’s the game-saving save by Kari Lehtonen that sealed the win for the Stars.
This almost goes horribly wrong for the Stars.
Rich Peverley steals the puck from Ovechkin along the boards near the Stars bench.
However, instead of shooting the puck down the ice, Peverley tries to carry it out, and Ovechkin steals it back from him.
The Stars are really spread out because of the failed clearing attempt. There is a lot of open space in the slot for the Capitals’ best players to potentially score from.
Ovechkin carries the puck to the goal line, where the Stars have recovered a little bit. However, all of the Capitals have converged towards the net. With two seconds left in the third period, desperate times call for desperate measures.
Ovechkin centers a pass towards anybody in the slot. He’s got three teammates to potentially score the tying goal: Green, Mikhail Grabovski, and Backstrom.
Grabovski gets the first shot off.
Lehtonen makes a monumental save with his left arm. However, Backstrom is left uncovered for a rebound.
But Backstrom fires the puck right into Lehtonen’s left pad, and the clock expires. Game over. The Stars win.
And let’s look at that save one more time.
That being said, failing to get the puck out of the zone in the dying seconds on a 4-on-6 penalty kill? You can’t do that.
That being said, Rich Peverley had an excellent debut for the Dallas Stars, and that play was his only blemish to his otherwise great game. Welcome to the Stars, Raptor Jesus.
The Stars take on the Winnipeg Jets tonight for their first Central Division matchup of the 2013-2014 season. They have another game Saturday night not too far away in St. Paul, Minnesota against the Minnesota Wild. Yes, I will have GIF breakdowns for both of those games.