Dallas has played well, and have been able to grind out seven points in this road trip. They end their season-long road trip tonight in Columbus. The Stars have shown a lot of resiliency with players coming in and out of the lineup due to injuries. Every game on this trip, a different player has stepped up and made a difference. Shore in Montreal, Khudobin in Toronto, Dickinson in Washington, even Faksa last night. The team is starting to gel on the ice, but now have another tough test against a hungry Blue Jackets club in need of a win.
The second games of back-to-backs are always tough, but the Stars need to battle for at least one point tonight. The Central Division is going to stay extremely close with every team having a good chance of making the playoffs. But Dallas has really grown out of their road slump, and not because of one person. This hard work comes from the entire lineup. The goaltenders have been fantastic, the defense has held their ground, and the depth scoring has really stepped up. However, the Stars have been a little lucky this road trip, but they take advantage of their opponents failed opportunities. Tonight they face a very similar team in the Blue Jackets, and hopefully, they rely on skill more than luck this time.
Another thing to keep an eye on is the new big three emerging in Dallas. And no they are not on offense. For a majority of the road trip, Lindell and Klingberg have been averaging about 25 minutes as the top defensive pairing. But the third defenseman that has been logging the same time, is the rookie Miro Heiskanen. It seems as if every game Miro somehow impresses people more and more, while slowly increasing his time on ice. The kid is just good at hockey, plain and simple. With Klinger’s offensive talents and Lindell and Heiskanen’s great two-way playing ability, the Stars defense is becoming dangerous.
Right now the Stars are in a position to show the NHL that they are a force to be reckoned with. A win over Columbus would boost their road record to 4-3-1, sending them home with confidence. Not so long ago it seemed that the Stars were going to be annihilated on this road trip, but now they have quietly been turning a few heads. Maybe this is the Stars team that fans thought they would see. However, let’s not rush to conclusions. This Stars team is finally living up to expectation, but we shall see how they fare against a very good hockey team in Columbus. The Blue Jackets have a solid defensive depth, and a two-time Vezina winning goaltender in Sergei Bobrovsky. It will take a full team effort to snag two points tonight.
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