Dallas Stars Recent Road Wins Might be a Sign of Good Things to Come

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Nov 5, 2013; Boston, MA, USA; Dallas Stars center Tyler Seguin (91) scores a goal on Boston Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask (40) during the shootout at TD Banknorth Garden. The Dallas Stars won 3-2 in a shootout. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Tyler Seguin and Rich Peverly both scored in the shootout and the Dallas Stars beat the Boston Bruins on Tuesday night in what was a highly entertaining game that carried a little more importance than your standard regular season non-conference matchup.

On July 4th the Dallas Stars and Boston Bruins completed one of, if not the biggest, blockbuster trade(s) of the off season. The Stars sent Selke Trophy candidate and fan favorite Loui Erikson and a handful of very promising young players to Boston. In return they received the former number two overall draft selection Tyler Seguin, mid-level forward Rich Peverly and a minor leaguer.

Sep 15, 2013; Dallas, TX, USA; The jerseys of Dallas Stars offseason acquisitions center Rich Peverley (17) and center Tyler Seguin (91) and center Shawn Horcoff (10) go on sale before the game between the Stars and the St. Louis Blues at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

So far the trade has worked extremely well for both sides. The Stars have found a true number one center in Seguin. Seguin is scoring at a point per game and the Bruins have filled the spot Seguin was covering with a more than competent two way forward in Erickson and added a rookie goal scoring threat in Riley Smith. Most Tuesday nights have little to offer. This past Tuesday the Stars and Bruins faced off for the first time since the trade and the game didn’t disappoint.

The Stars won in a shootout after tying the game at two on a penalty shot scored by Vern Fiddler. Fiddler is a third line forward known more for his ability to play defense and stir up trouble than he is for goal scoring. He made a little move to his back hand after approaching the net and then immediately put the puck in the top right corner over Tukka Rask’s shoulder before the netminder even had a chance to react. It was a goal scorer’s goal. A goal Sydney Crosby would be proud of. It was just the kind of good luck the Stars needed at what is a very pivotal point in the young season.

The Stars have dug themselves a very deep hole in their strive to make the playoffs for the first time in five seasons. They stumbled out of the gate and find themselves one spot out of last in the Western Conference. If they want to climb back in to the race before the teams ahead of them get too far away they must win games like this one.

The great Bruce Levine who hosts the Stars radio pre and post game shows on the Ticket preaches the recipe for making the playoffs. Play .750 hockey at a home and .500 hockey on the road.

The Stars are in the middle of a stretch 10 games where 8 of them are on the road. So far they have picked up 7 of a total 10 points that were available. If they can continue this pace over the next two weeks they could put themselves within striking distance of a playoff spot.
Over the last few games they have seemed to find a bit of a rhythm. New head coach Lindy Ruff has tweaked some lines and defensive pairs. Experimentation has brought results.

Nov 5, 2013; Boston, MA, USA; Dallas Stars center Rich Peverley (17) controls the puck during the first period against the Boston Bruins at TD Banknorth Garden. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn, who have played well together all year long, have now been joined by Valeri Nichushkin. Valeri earned his chance on the first line with some spirited play and what seems to be a real dedication to learning the NHL style of play. He is starting to live up to the promise that made him the #10 overall pick in this year’s draft.

 

Alex Goligoski was a healthy scratch for one game last year after a horrendous start and ended up being statistically the Stars best defenseman by the end of last season. He started slowly again this season and once more found himself watching from above. The embarrassing break seems to have had the same effect on his game this season as it did last. Since the rest, he scored his first goal and has been a plus player after being the worst player in the league as measured by plus/minus.

The Stars are going to need this kind of continued improvement from their key players over the next few weeks…

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