After the Dallas Stars dispatched the Vegas Golden Knights in the Western Conference final, Tyler Seguin of the Stars was asked about what its possession numbers, goals differential and propensity for being outshot said about his team. “It says analytics are overrated,” Seguin said with a laugh.
He might have a point because both his and his team’s analytics don’t look particularly good. But one stat line that has never been overrated is the one that reads goals, assists and points and on that one, Tyler Seguin is tied for 68 in this year’s playoffs with just two goals and eight points, despite playing 22 games. (One of the players with whom he is tied is Ryan Nugent-Hopkins of the Edmonton Oilers, who played just four.) Team scoring leader Miro Heiskanen is outscoring Seguin by an almost 3:1 margin and both Joe Pavelski (10) and Denis Gurianov (nine) have more goals than Seguin has points. Gurianov and Joel Kiviranta scored more goals in one game than Seguin has scored in the entire playoffs.
It’s all well and good that Tyler Seguin has bought into the 200-foot game. Great. And you could point out that he has been a victim of bad luck. He sits second on the Stars in shots with 58, but has just a 3.4 percent shooting percentage. Those things, we’re told, tend to even out over time, but there’s not much time left here. In short, if the Dallas Stars want to win the Stanley Cup, they’re going to need more from Tyler Seguin than lots of looks and a defensive conscience. When asked if that was the case, Stars coach Rick Bowness deflected, a little, but acknowledged the Stars need more from their highest-paid player and top scorer in the regular season.
“Do we need more from (Seguin)? Yes,” Bowness said. “Do we need more from a lot of other players? Yes. I know he gets all the attention and that comes with the territory and he’s got to deal with that. But as a coach, I’m after a few more guys to give us more as well. He’s not the only guy.”
It’s tough to point out on the Stars who has more to give. Certainly not the defensemen or the role players or the goaltenders, all of whom have all been very good. The fact is that the Stars, on paper and on the ice, do not possess the elite talent level that their opponent does, which puts more of an onus on the likes of Seguin to carry the offensive load. And these numbers are not good. In fact, Seguin has one fewer goal and one more point than he did when he won the Stanley Cup as a rookie with the Boston Bruins, but he played only 13 playoff games that year.
“He had some really good looks (in Game 2) and he needs one of those to go in, there’s no question,” Bowness said of Seguin. “He’s working and he needs a break. Even though he’s winning faceoffs and he’s doing other things that have gotten us here, goalscorers feel that pressure to score and he’s feeling that. You’ve just got to stay with it, which is easier said than done. Tyler and a few others are just going to have to just stay with it, get your nose dirty and get in there.”
Another place the Stars have to be better is on special teams. Both teams have been on the power play seven times in the series. The Stars have scored once and the Lightning twice, but in Game 2, both the types of penalties the Stars took and their inability to kill them were a huge factor in the game. The goals came on Dallas penalties that were away from the play.
“I didn’t like the discipline,” Bowness said. “Maybe if you take one of those per period…what we’ve done in the last two games is taken three in the same period, one after another after another. And that just kills our team. There are good penalties and there are bad penalties. I didn’t like any of those penalties (in Game 2). They were undisciplined. Sometimes you have to take a penalty to save a goal or a scoring chance. You live with those and usually you kill those. When you keep taking undisciplined penalties, it’s going to bite you in the butt and it did (in Game 2). Didn’t like our penalty kill, didn’t like our power play at all.”