October 26 2013 09:29PM
Ondrej Pavelec played hero in this game. A mystifying decision to go to a passive forecheck while tied in the third period led to a number of dangerous chances for the Stars. Pavelec bailed his defencemen out on turnovers, and while short handed where the team played run-and-gun hockey.
The top Defensive pairing (in minutes) of Byfuglien and Clitsome only avoided being burned on account of Pavelec, as they gave up 16 and 14 even strength shots respectively. Meanwhile, James Wright played 16 minutes and was the team's best corsi player after Matt Halischuk. Mark Stuart was the team's best corsi defender.
It must be Halloween.
In general, we're pretty hard on Ondrej Pavelec. For the most part, he earns it. He came into Dallas with a 3.06 GAA and .902 sv % on the season. But good gravy did he put on a show tonight. Breakaway stop on Whitney early in the game. Another one on Nichushkin after a terrible Bogosian giveaway near the end. In between he made a few sprawling saves, including on Jamie Benn, open in the slot while the Jets killed a bench minors in the dying seconds of the 3rd period. He stopped 35 shots and all three shootout shooters (with help from his post and a missed net).
The next best players for the Jets were Little and Ladd. The two players used small spaces extremely well all game, and created offence against the Stars' best.
James Wright had his best game of the season to my eye, and by math. He's a better centre than he is winger. That's not saying much, mind you, but he was a successful possession player in 12 minutes of even strength ice time (63% corsi) and had almost 4 minutes on the PK, which didn't give up any goals. That's the game of an NHL hockey player, which we don't always see from Wright.
Tobias Enstrom also had a very calm and controlled game. As usual, he was the stand out on the back end, since all his competitors for the honour made jaw-dropping turnovers at some point. With Dallas in charge of the matchups, he played most of his time against the Stars' second line of Whitney/Eakin/Chiasson and broke even despite the team playing 'Prevent' in the third.
Byfuglien could go in either section, so I'm putting him under "The Good" but really near "The Bad." He played almost 29 minutes, and aside from one glaring turnover in the third, was quite good by eye. By math, he and Clitsome desperately need to limit the shots against. Dallas chose to put the top line against that pair for more than 10 minutes of even strength ice time, and though Byfuglien was on for 26 shot attempts for, he was also on for 29 shot attempts against. That's too high event for a team with an inconsistent goaltender and mistakes galore.
Oh, Claude Noel. A bench minor with 30 seconds left in the game was only the icing on the bitter, under-cooked cake of a 3rd period collapse. The Jets chose to go into a 1-4 prevent shell, giving up 15 shots and a tying goal in the third. The minutes given also had odour to them again, and bring into focus the short comings of his 'effort first' mantra.
Olli Jokinen is the poster boy this game. He had a tremendous game by eye in many respects. He was physical and determined in a way we rarely see from the third line centre. He was given 19 minutes on the night and even promoted to play between Kane and Wheeler in the third. That might be been a more successful strategy had the team not gone into a shell after the first five minutes, of course. Jokinen had two shots and was credited with an incredible 7 hits - the most of anyone in the game, for either team.
But he was bad, and math will explain that in the more simple of terms.
Olli Jokinen was on for 13 shots against at even strength - behind only Clitsome and Byfuglien. His shot attempt differential (corsi) was -10 (11 shot attempts for, 21 against) for a corsi % 34%. Only Frolik was worse at 32%. By the way, Frolik was worse at 32% and had almost 16 minutes.
It's not that corsi is everything, but it tells us about who has the puck. As we saw from Rhys Finnick's suggestion that the team needs to focus their physical play on winning the puck, Olli Jokinen was throwing hits without gaining possession. That has limited usefulness at this level of hockey.
The game is about what you do, but also what you give up in doing it. And Claude Noel has more focus on the former than the latter.
Mark Scheifele played 7:39 this game. And he was 13% at the faceoff circle. Despite barely playing any minutes at all, he still managed to be on for the goal against. No one can blame him for it, really, since it was a broken-stick change-up shot from 80 ft after a terrible pass to no one by Byfuglien. That said, he had another game in which he gave awful puck support, and we have to wonder why there was such a gap between Byfuglien and the forwards that he could fire a pass from his own hashmarks to the red line and only find Dallas players.
No doubt we're going to hear talk of Scheifele needing to find his game in the AHL (and so soon after Lawless published his tire-pumping article! Oh no!).
Noel gave him almost 23 minutes against the Capitals, though, and the Jets don't have a replacement outside Eric O'Dell. It's up and down for the young man, and with Noel's job on the line, his leash is extremely short. I'm not sure what Noel watches to decide how many minutes the young man gets, but whatever it is, the swings in ice time are dramatic. It can only be exacerbating our perception of his season as a yo-yo performance.
Still, #ScheifeleDown could have been used during each of his 11 shifts tonight. Not his best game.
Peluso was also on for that goal against, even though he only played 6:01. What are the chances?! Oh, right. Considerably higher when he's on the ice. *rim shot!*
I thought Bogosian had a great game. Except for the give away that made this moment:
BTW, that goal means everybody in the building gets a taco, courtesy Taco Bueno. Song playing: 'It's raining tacos.' Seriously. #NHLJets— Ed Tait (@WFPEdTait) October 27, 2013