Tuesday night in Dallas, the Stars third straight home game at American Airlines Arena looked a little different in a number of ways than the previous two contests on record. First and foremost, the Stars bypassed the injury bug throughout this one, as far as is currently known. This would be a welcome change.
Feeling disjointed throughout, no thanks to the injury bug mentioned above, the Stars entered Tuesday’s matchup down fifty-six professional seasons of hockey with Tyler Seguin, Ben Bishop, Jamie Benn and a cast of contributors on the injured list.
While you can argue this was the perfect game to draw the underwhelming Detroit Red Wings, it was not without individual and team efforts that Dallas emerged with impactful seasonal points on the night. Let’s take a look.
Ty Dellandrea –
Draped on Red Wings winger Mathias Brome headed into the Dallas Stars zone, the young Canadian recorded a fiery takeaway before abruptly skating the other direction to the opposing blue line and sending the puck into Detroit territory.
That is a summary of a single move from Tuesday’s contest but something that speaks to a much higher volume of the rookie Dellandreas' game and more importantly, from Dallas’ coaching staff.
Dellandrea finished second to the illustrious Joe Pavelski in ice-time amongst offensive characters on the night, recording time on the power play and power kill alike. Head coach Rick Bowness showed a level of trust in the young forward that must be noticed across this makeshift Central Division in 2021.
Proving also to be a positive face-off contributor on the night (50%) and in his three young matches to date (+50%), a crucial tally for Dallas as the club grapples with the loss of face-off team leader Tyler Seguin for a large stretch of this shortened season.
Joe Pavelski –
Captain America, as he is nicknamed, recorded the 800th point of his career on Tuesday night in Dallas. With thirteen professional seasons under his belt, the 36-year-old American provides invaluable leadership to this currently ever-changing Dallas roster.
With Dallas captain Jamie Benn injured before Sunday night’s contest, head coach Rick Bowness showed his resolute commitment to pair Pavelski with fiery Russian teammate Alexander Radulov by jumping physical teammate Jason Dickinson, Tuesday nights overtime hero, to the first line.
Bowness knows hockey. Pavelski knows hockey. Radulov knows hockey. Dallas faithful can rejoice in this and should throughout the 2021 regular season.
Miro Heiskanen –
On the vast majority of NHL teams, Miro Heiskanen is a first-line defender, hands down. In Dallas, the young Finnish star finds himself paired on the second line. Dare I say, he has looked the part this season?
This cannot be attributed to his relation with line mate Jaimie Oleksiak, whom Heiskanen shared solid ice time during the 2019-2020 season alongside. It’s not about +/- either.
His hockey game has seemed stifled to begin this young season. His stick angles seem stiff. It is not 200 feet of ice that has seemed formidable for Heiskanen to travel but at times exiting the 100 feet on Dallas' side of the ice has proven challenging. Which is all the more surprising. On the ice and playing the puck from behind the goal for Detroit’s lone tally on the night Tuesday, the 21-year-old would later put a puck back on goalie Anton Khudobin during a Red Wings try in the second period that moved slow off his stick but did not look equally controlled into the net minders glove. Four giveaways into this young season, the best is yet to come for the young Fin, undoubtedly.
**I remain cataloguing jersey outcomes for the 2020-2021 season. Miro Heiskanen, #4, Blackout Jersey to 3-0 on the season. It remains unwashed from the day I received it off NHL machinery. Here is to hoping I do not contract Covid-19 from these hot, hot threads.