VANCOUVER, British Columbia The Stars are on pace to have the worst goaltending numbers in the NHL this season, but players and coaches say those stats have been earned by the entire team.
While Dallas sat 30th in goals against average at 3.29 and 30th in save percentage at .892 heading into Thursday’s game at Vancouver, Kari Lehtonen jersey cheap and Antti Niemi jersey cheap have maybe faced higher percentage scoring chances than any other goalies in the league.
“It goes a lot deeper,” captain Jamie Benn jersey cheap said. “They’re an easy target to pick on, because if you see the Dallas Stars jersey cheap are giving up 5, 6, 7 goals a night, everybody points a finger at the goalies first. But it’s 18 other guys playing in front of them, and it’s on all of us.”
The goaltending/team defense issue has been front and center during a stretch Cheap Jerseys from China
that has been the worst of the season. Dallas has been outscored 17 4 in losses to Ottawa, San Jose and Edmonton and has used both goalies in all three games. The Stars have pulled their goaltender 13 times, most in the NHL.
That’s part of the structure of having two goalies who are equal, and coach Lindy Ruff said a lot of his moves have been to motivate the team, not to punish the goalie.
“The goaltender didn’t leave the guy uncovered at the side of the net. The goaltender wasn’t the one who didn’t get in the lane on the penalty kill,” Ruff said after a 7 1 loss Tuesday at Edmonton. “Let’s spread it around a little bit here. We need more from them, but we need more from the leaders of the team.”
Ruff said the leading scorers have been trying to create scoring too much at times and have been guilty of allowing opponents to go on the counterattack. Benn played a role in the first two goals in San Jose en route to a 5 1 loss Sunday. Jason Spezza jersey cheap jersey cheap had a turnover that put the Stars on the penalty kill and turned into a game changing goal against Edmonton.
Patrick Sharp jersey cheap leads the Stars at minus 20, Spezza is minus 16, Tyler Seguin jersey cheap is minus 15 and Benn is minus 9. Those are the four worst on the team. Ruff said he would like to see the top players playing with the intensity of fourth liners such as Curtis McKenzie jersey cheap and Adam Cracknell jersey cheap, and that could create not only fewer chances against but maybe more puck possession and attack zone time.
“The model for us are the McKenzies and Cracknells. They’re really out there trying to prove they can be an everyday NHLer, and the 100 percent [they give] doesn’t drop off on any shift,” Ruff said.
“Our best players have got to do the right things. Sometimes that’s boring or hard, because the other team is trying to check you, the other team is trying to catch you from behind, the other team is trying to make it tough on you.”
And while the Stars might be changing coaching staffs at the end of the season, Ruff said he believes in the system that allowed Dallas to post 50 wins last year. He said he is going to push his team to be aggressive and play hard at both ends of the ice until the season is over.
“I know it’s hard, but we had a lot of Success jersey cheap with that format last year, and I’m not changing now,” Ruff said. “If one piece is missing inside our D zone, our D zone isn’t that good. But if every piece is there doing their job, it can be hard to create against us.”
“As hard as it is right now, you have to play for each other and play as a team,” Lehtonen said. “If even a couple of guys let down, it just doesn’t work. You need everybody at this level pulling the same rope, and that means goalies have to do their part too.”.