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The Stars are bubble-bound and looking to get their offense going

Photo: Michael Lark/Dallas Sports Fanatic

The Stars are bubble-bound and looking to get their offense going

The Dallas Stars wrapped up training camp on Saturday.  A sentence not normally written in late July, however, these are not normal times.

On Sunday, the boys packed their bags, loaded up the plane and embarked on their quest for the 2020 Stanley Cup.  They head to Edmonton, Alberta – the site of the NHL’s Western Conference bubble, otherwise known as the “Phase 4 safe zone.”

How long they’ll be there will depend on how well they play.  If all goes according to plan, they will be lifting the cup come late September.

Here’s how they plan to get there:

On the final day of training camp, we saw the reunion of the Stars top two players, Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn, on the top line.  The pair are close off the ice and hope to translate that chemistry into goals.  They’ll be joined by the young Russian, Denis Gurianov, who leads the squad in goals.  For the first nine days of camp the top line included another young stud – Roope Hintz.

The change comes with the hope that the Seguin/Benn connection will lead to an increase in scoring chances, an issue that has plagued the defensive-minded Stars.  Before the pause, they ranked near the bottom of the league in “goals for.”  While their defense and goaltending is among the best in the league, you need to score goals to win it all in this league.

While line combinations are always subject to change, here’s how they looked on the final day of training camp:

Jamie Benn – Tyler Seguin – Denis Gurianov
Roope Hintz – Jason Dickinson – Corey Perry
Andrew Cogliano – Radek Faksa – Blake Comeau
Mattias Janmark – Joe Pavelski – Alexander Radulov
Justin Dowling

Esa Lindell – John Klingberg
Jamie Oleksiak – Miro Heiskanen
Andrej Sekera – Stephen Johns
Joel Hanley – Taylor Fedun

Ben Bishop
Anton Khudobin

Another key to winning the big one is elite goaltending.  The Stars have two of them in Ben Bishop and Anton Khudobin.  The dynamic duo, led by Bishop, is a major reason that the Stars find themselves not having to play in qualifying games in order to reach the round robin stage.

Big Ben looked shaky during the first few days of training camp and was even given a few days off as the Stars worked through the other goalies at camp.  However, as a seasoned veteran, Bishop isn’t someone who needs to grind at practice day-in and day-out to be successful come game time.  On August 3rd, he’ll be locked in and ready to make another run at the elusive Stanley Cup.

His counterpart, Anton Khudobin, is a fine “second option” and will undoubtably be looking to pad his value during a successful Cup run.  Together, the two of them are a brick wall that inspires true confidence from the back.  This will enable the Stars young, offensive-minded defenders to join the rush and put some pucks in the net.

Going into the forced break, the Stars were on a losing streak to forget.  Perhaps the pause will benefit them going forward as they were able to take some time and regroup.  Now, we look forward to what is sure to be the weirdest Stanley Cup Playoffs in history.

The team will play in an exhibition game vs the Nashville Predators on July 30th.  This game has no implication on the playoffs.  It is meant to get the guys up to game speed and mark the official return of the NHL.

The Stars will play the Vegas Golden Knights (Aug. 3), the Colorado Avalanche (Aug. 5) and the St. Louis Blues (Aug. 9) in Edmonton, the Western Conference hub city, to determine seeding for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

 

There are two things I love more than anything - golf and hockey. Well, also the NFL... and the NBA...who am I kidding. I just love sports.

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