The first half of the season for the Dallas Stars was filled with disappointments but also many things to look forward too. Despite losing 7 games in a row early in the season, the Stars battled back and now sit at 21-18-7 at the All-Star break which gives them 49 points and leaves them only 4 points out of the final wild card spot in the West.
Tyler Seguin elevated to a new level and led the NHL in goals scored until just recently. He is tied with Rick Nash at 28. He also has 52 points which is good for 2nd behind Jakub Voracek, who has 56. Overall, Tyler Seguin has been the Stars best player by far, and that’s why he will be participating in the All-Star game this weekend.
Another bright spot is rookie defenseman John Klingberg. We saw him emerge on to the scene earlier this season and he has been a difference maker on defense. Even though it’s way too early and unnecessary to put him in this category, many people are comparing him to Sergei Zubov, who was traded to the Stars in 1996 and ultimately helped them win the Cup in 1999. Only time will tell but from what we’ve seen, Klingberg looks very promising.
That takes us to a very critical second half of the season in which the Stars have to stay consistent or they will risk not making the Playoffs. There’s a few stretches and a few games in particular that will be more important than the others.
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The Month Of February
The Colorado Avalanche are one of the teams that the Stars have been battling for Playoff contention with. They’ve already played twice and both times the Avs have come out top. That’s why February will be so important. The Stars meet the Avs on February 3rd, 14th, and 27th. These games will be massively important since February is a tricky month every season. The Stars are going to have to dig deep to make sure the Avs don’t pass them.
March 25th and March 30th
These two games will be played against the Flames, which is the team that currently holds the 8th spot in the West. These two teams have only met once this season and the Stars won that game 2-1. These games could end up being the make or break portion of the season for the Stars because after the 30th, the Stars will only have 5 games remaining. The Stars will need to win at least one of these games if both teams are hovering around the final spot.
Last 5 Games
Finally, the Stars have a terrible ending to their schedule. The Stars will face the top 3 seeds in the West in 4 out of 5 games. Once against the Blues, once against the Ducks, and twice against the Predators with 2 games at home and 2 on the road. If the Stars haven’t gotten into the Playoffs by this point, it’s time to panic, because you don’t want to play games like these with a “must win” state of mind.
As we enjoy ourselves this weekend and watch Tyler Seguin (and Victor E. Green) perform in the All-Star game, we have to remember that the road to the Playoffs from here on out will be tough. It will take excellent defense and goaltending, but most importantly leadership which the Stars have plenty of. It will be interesting to see how things unfold in the coming months!