Six games into the year, it is quite clear that the Dallas Stars have their work cut out for them. After a somewhat disappointing start, Dallas faces the team that they are tied within points. The Stars split four games with the Minnesota Wild last year, and they came away with two wins, two losses each. Both team’s wins came at home.
Minnesota has faced a similar slow start. At 2-2-2, they have the same amount of points as the Stars, but if those overtime/shootout losses would have gone the other way, they would be tied with the Nashville Predators and Colorado Avalanche for first in the Central Division and second in the Western Conference. The Wild are only two games removed from back to back showings against the Predators and the Arizona Coyotes.
The Wild’s leading scorer is Zach Parise with one assist and six goals for seven points. Their leading goal scorer this season, Jason Zucker, had a breakout year last year with 64 points and was an iron man, playing in all 82 games. Zach Parise, Jason Zucker, and Eric Staal will be the players to watch out for tonight. Eric Staal is coming off a 42 goal campaign last year in which he erupted for 76 points, his most since the 2010-2011 season with the Carolina Hurricanes.
Former Stars’ Defenseman Greg Pateryn has played in six games this year. He is minus one, with four penalty minutes and five shots.
If the Stars want to get past the Wild, they’re going to need more help from players not named, Seguin, Benn, Radulov, or Klingberg.
Jason Spezza needs to step up and score some goals. At $7.5 million a year, the Stars must get more productivity out of him if they want to be a playoff team. He has started out stronger this year, with four assists in six games, however, his last goal was against the Minnesota Wild on their final meeting of the year in 4-1 victory for the Stars. This would be a perfect time for him to break this drought.
It is not all up to Spezza, Stars will also need other forwards to produce more as well. Without Nichuskin and Johns in the lineup, we are still missing some key pieces. However, we are going into a home-streak and are looking to perform well over the next few games.
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