It was a rather rough week for the Dallas Stars, but it ended on a good note. They won their lone home game of the week, but lost two of three on the road. Some of their key players are injured. Perhaps it would have been nice to have a longer training camp for this team to build chemistry along the lines especially with all of the pieces the Stars added in the offseason. But that’s not an excuse the Stars can use. Every team had the same length of training camp and other teams had acquisitions too. The Stars just have to continue to fight through and come together and battle on for a shot at the playoffs. We’re not even twenty percent into the season yet.
January 29, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Dallas Stars left wing Loui Eriksson (21) receives congratulations from teammates after scoring in the second period against the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
The week did not start out too kind for the Stars, losing 4-1 to the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday. Loui Eriksson got things going right for the Stars putting them on the board 1-0. From there, it went downhill as the Red Wings scored the final four goals of the game. It was a very chippy game too. Each team had twenty-two penalty minutes: of the eleven power plays between the two teams, there was only one power play goal. Even though the Red Wings don’t appear to be as good as they have been in recent years, Detroit is a very difficult place to play and they proved it against the Stars Tuesday night.
The Stars came back home Friday night for the first of a home and home series with the Phoenix Coyotes. Though it took a little extra time, the Stars were able to knock off the Coyotes 4-3 in a shootout and newcomer Jaromir Jagr scored the game-winning goal in the shootout. This is the reason why the Dallas Stars brought Jagr in, to make plays at critical moments like that and help win games.
The next night though, the Coyotes got their revenge defeating the Dallas Stars 2-0. They were doubled up in shots, 34-17. That’s not a winning recipe for success.
Feb 4 2013; Denver, CO, USA; Dallas Stars left wing Jamie Benn (14) attempts a empty net shot on goal during the third period of the game against the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center. The Stars defeated the Avalance 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Last night, the Dallas Stars came up with a huge 3-2 win over the Avalanche in Denver. Once again they were outshot, but Jamie Benn played amazing, scoring two goals including the game-winner. It’s the second road win of the year for the Stars and brings their record to 4-5-1 (9 points), fourth in the Pacific Division. Still though, this was a big win for the Stars.
The Dallas Stars are running into a couple of big problems though. One, they keep being outshot. They were outshot every game this week. In fact, they have been outshot in every single game so far this year. Whether that is because of a lack of repetition and cohesion on their offensive lines or some bad defense in the back line, the Stars will continue to struggle unless they find ways to get shots on goal and prevent their goalies from being peppered.
The second problem the Stars are having is their ineffective power play: they didn’t score one power play goal this entire last week. That is one of the big reasons they got Jagr and guys like Ray Whitney and Derek Roy, to help bolster the power play which ranked dead last in the NHL last year and help the offense. So far, it hasn’t worked out as well as they have liked it too.
Jan 26, 2013; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Stars left wing Ray Whitney (13) carries the puck out of the Stars zone during the game against the St. Louis Blues at the American Airlines Center. The Blues defeated the Stars 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Injuries are also hurting the Stars. Ray Whitney is out for a while with a lower body injury, presumed to be a problem with his foot. He did not play Saturday against Phoenix. Derek Roy has been activated after missing the past five games with a groin injury. He contributed with an assist and twenty-one minutes of ice time in the win over the Avalanche. Like Roy, backup goalie Cristopher Nilstorp is also coming back from an injured groin, but he will be with the team’s AHL, the Texas Stars. Hopefully the injuries for the Stars are done for a while.
This week, the Stars have only two games. They play at Edmonton on Wednesday, February 6 at 9:30 PM ET/8:30 CT and on Friday, February 8 at home against the division rival Anaheim Ducks at 8:30 PM ET/7:30 PM CT. The rest after that game should certainly do the Stars some good, but they must take advantage of it and win these two games to gain some momentum. It’s not going to be too tough to tell if this week turns out to be a good week or a bad week. It’s just going to be written in the stars.