There were two keys that I pinpointed for this game coming in: Turco had to outplay Bryzgalov and the penalty kill needed to stay off the ice. Dallas didn't give up a powerplay goal, and Turco only gave up 2 goals. The offense was just terrible. The powerplay has been very sloppy lately. Tonight they couldn't enter the zone cleanly to save their lives, and the play at the points just wasn't good. They don't appear to have a transition game anymore, and the forecheck is completely gone. They've done well without Zubov for a while now, but they could desperately use the jolt he would give the transition game.
You may disagree with this, and I'm not sure I'm 100% on board with this theory, but it feels like the team flows completely through Turco lately. If he's struggling the team is struggling. If he's being cute with the puck instead of efficient the team is cute with the puck. Maybe he just joins the rest of the team in trying to be cute, but regardless the team has too much of a cute element lately. They need to come out against Colorado and smash some skulls around. Hagman, Miettinen, Morrow, and Ott need to get back to forechecking or this team is going to get knocked out in the first round again.
* Niskanen returns
* Ott was out on the 1st PP...but he wasn't forechecking. Thats the whole point of him being out there isn't it?
* PP 2/26 over the last 5 games
* Boucher hurt 20 seconds in
* Gretzky has a MASSIVE watch on
* Why is Grossman scratched over Norstrom?
Player(s) of the game: Shane Doan. He had a gritty game and scored the game winner. No one else played particularly well for either squad.
Recap: This was another ugly game. Dallas was completely out of sorts from the opening face off. They aren't making things happen for themselves lately. They look like they're waiting for the offense to happen because they are so gifted offensively as a group. That really needs to change. This wasn't a particularly pleasant game to watch. The best play was Peter Mueller's first goal. What a shot that was at the 9:30 mark. Dallas finally started to play the body at the 11:40 mark when the 4th line got out there. The most interesting development may have been seeing Richards skating with the 4th line at the 17:40 mark. Was it a demotion? I didn't think so at the time.
:59 seconds into the 2nd Shane Doan was given a gift of a goal. He was wide open in front of the net with Turco scrambling. That would be your game winner. Brad Winchester got into it at the 6:49 in the strangest fight I've seen in a while. He would go on to score Dallas' only goal of the game at the 17:38 mark. At the 8 minute mark Richards was on the ice with a strange combo again. He was skating with Stu Barnes and Steve Ott. I was very confused because that isn't a broken change and no one was hurt at that point, but players from 3 different lines were skating together. They only got 1 shift together though so who knows.
I'll leave the 3rd period alone. I don't have the energy to describe that abomination of a period.
Like Razor said, when your 4th line is your best line you generally aren't going to win. That was Dallas' issue tonight. Winchester and recent call up Toby Peterson were the only players I'd describe as good in tonight's game. I don't know whether Dallas is waiting for the playoffs or just out of sorts with Richards and the defenders coming back into the lineup, but this is ugly. They need to get their feet back under them going into the home stretch gauntlet of games vs the Pacific Division.