One week in the NHL regular season remains. It’s crunch time. The Dallas Stars are 22-20-4, good for 48 points which puts them three points out of the final playoff spot in the western conference. With only two games left, the Stars need a lot of luck to get into the playoffs. Is a playoff spot written in the stars? The team and Stars fans are about to find out.
The week got off to a good start Thursday against the Vancouver Canucks. Staking the Canucks to a 1-0 lead, the Stars scored the final five goals of the game, including four in the third period to break the 1-1 tie. Cody Eakin and Jamie Benn scored a goal, number and added an assist while Ray Whitney scored a goal as well. For both Benn and Whitney, it was their eleventh goal of the year. If the Stars want to make the playoffs, they need their best players to step up. They did against the Canucks. In fact, Benn and Whitney are the active goal scoring leaders on the team since Jaromir Jagr was traded to the Boston Bruins.
It was a different story Friday night in St. Louis against the Blues. Brian Elliott was a brick wall in net for the Blues stopping 21 of the 22 shots he faced as the Blues beat the Stars 2-1. The Blues scored the first two goals of the game and were able to hang on. The Blues are currently riding a hot goaltender into the last week of the regular season which they hope can continue into the playoffs. The Stars hope that they can have the goaltending to put them in that position of making it into the playoffs.
Unfortunately the Stars did not have much luck Sunday night in Los Angeles against the Kings. They did pick up one point, but lost to the Kings 4-3 in overtime. The Kings jumped off to a 2-0 lead early in the second period before the Stars scored three straight goals including one less than a minute into the third period. Louis Eriksson scored the first goal of the game. It ties him with Benn and Whitney for the team lead in goals with eleven. Alex Goligoski had a goal and an assist and it was his goal that gave the Stars a brief lead in the third period. However, just two minutes later Dustin Brown scored on the powerplay for the Kings to tie the game 3-3. And in overtime, Jeff Carter scored his twenty-fifth goal of the year to give the Kings the win. It’s a tough break for the Stars. They can look to the fact that they didn’t score a powerplay goal on any of their four chances as a reason they lost or giving up the one powerplay goal they did. Or the fact that they lost forty-two faceoffs. Forty-two! Dallas only won thirteen. That is awful. Can’t set up an offense by not winning faceoffs. That has to improve this final week or the Stars definitely will be watching the NHL playoffs from their couches.
Two games remain in the lockout shortened NHL season and the Stars need to win both of them plus get some help to make the playoffs. And both games come against playoff teams or teams still in the playoff hunt.
- Thursday, April 25 VS Columbus 8:30 PM ET.7:30 CT
- Saturday, April 27 VS Detroit 8:00 PM ET/7 CT
Fortunately for the Stars, their final two games are at home. Columbus currently holds the eight spot in the western conference with the Red Wings sitting just one point behind. Dallas has had San Jose’s number this year. They are 3-0 against the Sharks this year so you know they will come into the game unafraid despite the fact that San Jose has the best home record in the NHL this year at 16-1-5. Going to be a very tough game. The Stars are 1-1 against the Blue Jackets, but that one loss came at home. And Dallas is 1-1 against Detroit this year, but the two teams haven’t played since the end of January. Can’t ask for much more the final week of the regular season for the Stars. Meaningful games against playoff worthy opponents. Going to be an awfully fun week. The Stars playoff fate is truly written in the stars.