Teuvo Tuesday and a matchup with the Dallas Stars means we need to bring in David Wilson of Defending Big D to answer some queries about a Conference III foe. I also went to enemy territory to answer some Q's about tonight's game. My questions, his answers.
1) Last week the Stars went 1-3-0 with some lopsided losses. Probably not the way to start a playoff push. What went wrong?
First off, the Stars actually went 0-3-1 (Stone Cutter Note: My bad. Also, yikes) last week. Which is, naturally, god-awful. However, looking at it from a more sober perspective, and after two wins have steadied the ship, the losing streak wasn't that bad. Yes, the Stars only managed one point of a possible eight, but the only game of those four that they'd really want back was the absolute tonking at the hands of Winnipeg. Coughing up a two-goal third period lead to Calgary and losing in a shootout sucked, sure, but losing to the Penguins in Pittsburgh wasn't really all that big a surprise, and the Stars turned in a worthy performance in their loss to the Flyers.
Yes, I'm clutching at straws. Sue me.
As for what went wrong, one does wonder if part of it was the emotional hangover from the Rich Peverley incident. In the immediate aftermath of that the Stars came out and beat the Blues in St. Louis, but the next four games all resulted in losses. Also, a few players missed time in that stretch, and, while Shawn Horcoff hasn't exactly been lights out this season, there was talk of his absence (as well as that of Peverley) on the roadtrip having an effect on the locker room atmosphere. Veterans, intangibles, etc, etc.
2) Eleven games left. One point back of a spot in the tourney. Who needs to step up so Dallas can grab a wildcard spot?
Pretty much everybody but Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn. The two of them have 74 and 69 points respectively. The next on the team? Alex Goligoski, with 33 points. Granted, there's a pretty good cluster of players below him hovering around 30 points, but the Stars have really been lacking in the depth scoring department. I don't care who it is, but somebody needs to step up and put a few pucks in the net so that Seguin and Benn don't have to be heroes every night.
3) Permission to gush about the Benn/Seguin bromance.
Thank you. I restrained myself from gushing on the last question, because I had seen this one was coming up. But it was difficult.
It's a beautiful thing isn't it, this budding bromance? Both players have hit the 30-goal mark on the season, and watching them out on the ice together is magical. The two of them make up one of the best lines in the league, regardless of who else is playing with them. It had been one of the big questions marks last summer after the blockbuster trade with the Bruins, what kind of chemistry would they find? Didn't take long to find out. Off-ice, on-ice, it would appear to all be working out perfectly. And they're young! 24 and 22. The Stars could be set on their top line for the next decade.
I'm sure a lot of players around the league, unsatisfied with their linemates, look jealously upon the Benn-Seguin relationship.
4) I feel like Lehtonen is such an under the radar rock in net. Why the Tim Thomas move at the deadline?
Lehtonen is a rock in net. The Tim Thomas move was more to do with the fact that Dan Ellis wasn't a rock in net. There was talk about Thomas pushing for the starting spot, and of course that's always a possibility. But really, Kari is the goaltender of the future for the Stars, and will remain that. With the ridiculously condensed schedule as the season winds down though, Dallas needed a goaltender capable of filling in for Kari on back-to-backs, and the difference between Tim Thomas and Dan Ellis in that role is night and day. As a backup Dan Ellis wasn't awful, but for a team needing confidence during this dogfight of a stretch drive, the presence of Thomas will be huge.
5) Scoreboard me one time, what happens tonight?
Predators 2, Blackhawks 0? Really? In Chicago?
Of course, I'm sure that means the Hawks will be doing everything in their power to make amends for that last loss. And the Stars, while better this season, aren't exactly a scary team to face when they're on a back-to-back. Who really knows though? If the Dallas Stars of last week's roadtrip show up tonight, you guys will trounce us. I'd like to think though that the real Stars will show up tonight. They bloody well need to after all. Antoine Roussel to score a goal (he's been waiting months to mock the Chicago crowd again), Teuvo to finish a -3 in his debut, and Chicago to win 4-3 in overtime, because the Stars suck after regulation.
I'm going to pretend that I didn't read that straight up BLASPHEMY about Teuvo. But really, thanks to David for giving us a look at tonight's opponents. Make sure to check out Defending Big D for all your Stars information.