A season filled with so much hope and potential has definitely not gone as planned for the Dallas Stars. While there is still a few weeks left in the season, it appears as though the Stars will miss the playoffs and the front office is looking towards the future. A couple of key acquisitions made by the Stars in the offseason are now gone. On the ice, it has been a mixed bag of results as the Stars continue to try and make a playoff push in the very tight Western Conference.
After losing 4-0 to the Anaheim Ducks on Monday, Dallas flew out to Anaheim for the first of two more games against the Ducks at the Honda Center in Anaheim. Wednesday night did not bring any better play out of the Stars against the Pacific Division leaders. Anaheim scored the first three goals, building a 3-0 lead through two periods and getting by Dallas 5-2. The game was pretty clean with only one penalty called, but that went against the Stars and Anaheim made them pay when the ageless wonder Teemu Salanne put the back in the back of the net in the second period. The fans in attendance and the Ducks didn’t see two of Dallas’ star players either, perhaps kind of surprising them. Gone were the likes though of Jaromir Jagr and Derek Roy who were both traded since the teams first played Monday. More on their departures later.
Apparently third time was the charm for Dallas as they faced the Ducks again on Friday night. Thanks in large part to a short-handed goal by Eric Nystrom to break a 1-1 tie, which ended up being the game-winner, Dallas snapped a three game skid with a 3-1 win over Anaheim. All four goals in the game were scored in the first period. Neither team used the power play effectively. Dallas went 0 for 6 while Anaheim went 0 for 4. Big win for Dallas to at least keep their playoff chances alive and with all of the shuffling with players being traded recently, it was nice to win one with this group of players to boost the confidence level of the entire team.
Down 4-2 to the San Jose Sharks Sunday, things looked bleak for Dallas in the third period. For a team that had just traded two key players less than a week ago, it would have been easy for Dallas to fold. Not this Stars team though. Alex Chiasson scored his second goal of the game to cut the deficit in half six minutes in. Three minutes later, Loui Eriksson tied the game up 4-4. Suddenly, the Stars had life. They forced overtime, and then forced a shootout. And in that shootout, only one of the five players scored a goal. That was Jamie Benn who scored on the second round of the shootout. Kari Lehtonen stoned Sharks defenseman Brent Burns on the Sharks final chance and the Stars miraculously got out of San Jose with a 5-4 win. A big W for sure. The Stars current roster is not ready to call it a season and they’re coming together at just the right time.
Of course, there has been a lot of buzz surrounding the team this week after the deals they made Tuesday. Gone are the likes of Jaromir Jagr, who was traded to Boston, and Derek Roy, who was traded to Vancouver. Jagr was traded to the Bruins for forwards Lane MacDermid and Cody Payne as well as a conditional 2nd round pick in the 2013 NHL draft that can become a first round pick if Boston reaches the Eastern Conference finals this year. MacDermid has already made his presence felt with two goals so Stars fans should be excited about the possibilities and the future with this guy. MacDermid is just 23 years old. Roy was traded to the Canucks for prospect Kevin Connauton and a second round pick. Roy was going to be a free agent at the end of the year, yet another free agent that GM Joe Nieuwendyk has felt would bring back better value in the future than trying to re-sign.
Stars fans naturally should be disappointed that Jagr and Roy are gone. These were two guys brought in by the Stars in the offseason to help push the team in the playoffs. Jagr didn’t play bad. He scored fourteen goals with the Stars. Roy was a nice contributor as well. Sure some fans will question these decisions made by Nieuwendyk and the Stars front office, because looking to the future is all well and good, but Stars fans want to see the team win now. Unfortunately it was not working out as planned and Nieuwendyk felt like he had to make some moves. He’s bringing in a lot of young talent and he’s stockpiling up on draft picks. Hopefully these decisions mean bigger and better days are coming for the Stars. Nieuwendyk seems to have a plan and a vision. Time to see if that vision works out.
Dallas can continue to make a statement this week with several pivotal matchups. Then again though, isn’t every game crucial now with just three weeks left in the regular season? At 18-17-3, the Stars have 39 points, but are on the outside looking in at the playoffs still. They’re making a big push. Four games on ice this week for the Stars…
- Tonight, Tuesday April 7 VS Los Angeles 8:30 PM ET/7:30 CT
- Friday, April 12 @ Nashville 8:00 PM ET/7 CT
- Saturday, April 13 VS San Jose 8:00 PM ET/7 CT
- Monday, April 15 @ Chicago 8:00 PM ET/7 CT
Given what the Stars have done this past week including losing the couple of players that they did in Jagr and Roy to trades, there is every reason to think that the can win the majority of these games. How it all comes together though is truly written in the stars.