Observations from a scrappy win over the Texas Stars
1. That was not the Checkers best effort against a team that is struggling in the Western Conference. Coach Daniels summed it up pretty well in the post game interview calling out the team for the way they played for most of the first period. The team had a lot of sloppy passes and seemed to be slower than Texas.
2. I think the team got a little passive after the GREAT goal by Zac Dalpe early on–he got going on a nice outlet pass from Chris Terry and with a defender draped on him still managed to put on a nice forehand backhand move to beat the goalie low corner.
3. Mike Murphy seemed a bit out of sorts early on spitting out a rare long rebound which lead to the first goal and then giving up the second goal by guessing wrong on what Luke Gadzic was going to do out front. Of course the defense did not help much on either goal espcially the second one where they left Gadzic just standing there with no one on him near the net while everyone took part in some puck watching. Mathieu Roy left his man on the first goal giving him an easy put back on the rebound.
4. Welcome back to Brett Sutter! The Captain came out with a ton of energy after just being reassigned by the Canes. The goal that tied it up was just pure effort to keep it behind the net and stuff it home on the wrap-around. This was the turning point of the game because it really woke the team up and the intensity was there for the rest of the game.
5. On the ensuing face-off Nicholas Blanchard completely laid out Francis Waither (also just recently reassigned by Dallas) in a fight that was completly one-sided. Waither left bloodied and did not return until about six minutes into the second period.
6. While the PP did not score they got some good looks and shots, but Michal Jordan still looks completely uncomfortable playing on the unit. The team did a get job keeping it in the zone on their only PP of the second period and Jon Matsumoto broke straight in on the goalie and beat him five-hole right after the PP had expired for what was the game winner.
7. While he did not look good in the first, Murphy was spot on for the rest of game as was the PK unit. The big moment was killing off 35 seconds of a 5-3 with less than six minutes left in the game. Everyone stayed in their lanes, kept Murphy from being screened and did not panic when they could not get it clear. Texas had the third ranked PP in the AHL coming in and the Checkers shut them out 0-5.
8. Wasn’t pretty but they got the job done and if this team starts scoring like they did last year with the goalie tandem they have the entire AHL will be trouble.
9. Notes on the lines etc…. Justin Shugg was a scratch (as well as Staal) I actually thought Soryal might get the night off to add a little scoring but Daniels ran a true grind line out there (Soryal, Sutter, Blanchard) and it paid off. Durno moved to wing on the third line and the second line was Terry, Daple and Boychuck. Tons of speed but that line was the one that got caught not playing D on the second goal.