Sometimes, it only takes one game to buck a trend.
Take Saturday’s 5-2 Dallas Stars victory over the Philadelphia Flyers for example. Going into the game? Dallas had dropped five of its last six games overall, with one win in overtime against Calgary. In those losses, Dallas scored more than three goals only once- and endured a two-week stretch where it averaged right around two goals per game.
After Saturday? The Stars boasted a win streak, and compiled a season-high five goals in the win over one of the Eastern Conference’s hottest-starting teams.
Dallas is hoping the win prods the team along in its development and trajectory toward a playoff contender after a slow start. Through 13 games, Dallas has the 26th-most points in the league and a 5-6-2 record. Goal scoring has been the bugaboo thus far- the Stars have scored just 31 goals, among the league’s worst total.
For reference, the lowly Arizona Coyotes- with 1-13-1- still have 23 goals on the year. Without Saturday’s output, Dallas is dangerously close to that territory. Another concerning trend is that, while the defense and goaltending has been solid, it hasn’t yet reached the elite territory that’s boosted it to the playoffs- even the Stanley Cup Final- in recent season.
The Stars allow 3.08 goals per game, which when stretched out over a whole season might be respectable- but early in the season it’s not getting it done. Because of this, much to the chagrin of Stars fans after near-recording setting territory last year in overtime losses,, Dallas is in a lot of close games this year. Four of their last six losses have seen two goal-margins or less.
Overall poor play on special teams have one reason why. Thought Dallas has continued its elite power play from last year, currently ranking top-three in the NHL with a 29 percent clip, the penalty kill is really struggling- allowing opponents to convert at a 25 percent clip.
Its penalty-killing unit was perhaps the most overhauled group on the entire team, as Dallas replaced speedster Andrew Cogliano’s with Luke Glendenning. It hasn’t worked so far, and the Stars simply aren’t scoring enough to make up for the woes.
On a bright note, Miro Heiskanen is playing like an All-Star in his fifth season, leading the team with 12 points and 9 assists. Tyler Seguin’s return to form has also been a great story, while Braden Holtby’s 2.54 goals against average and .918 save percentage have him emerging among the league’s elite so far.
It quite simply hasn’t come together yet, but that doesn’t mean it won’t. Dallas has a winnable game at home against Detroit Tuesday night, and then hits the road for a challenging test against Minnesota, followed by a home tilt with St. Louis. Shockingly, it’s the first time the Stars have both of those their intra-divisional rivals in almost a year and a half.
- The key to offensive success for Rangers slugger Sam Huff
- Stars Head Coach Rick Bowness steps down: What’s Next?
- “Houston, we have a reunion” Rice Alum Glenn Otto Returns to Houston for Rangers
- Three things to watch for heading into the Western Conference Finals
- Following knocking off the Suns, this Mavericks team is built for destiny