How do we define the 2014-15 Dallas Stars? The best word I can come up with is: perseverance. Through losing streaks or injury the team never gave up and kept playing towards the goal that they had in mind. Now that the season is over, we can reflect on the positive and negative aspects, so let’s take a walk through the season.
The Summer of 2014
Free agency started off with a bang. The Dallas Stars traded away Alex Chiasson, along with prospects and a draft pick, for long-time Ottawa Senators center Jason Spezza. Just hours after that trade was made official, the Stars signed his former Senators linemate, Ales Hemsky, to a three year deal. Later on they inked goalie Anders Lindback, who was eventually traded for Jhonas Enroth, and Patrick Eaves to fill a right wing spot. The Stars finished things off with the re-signings of Vernon Fiddler and Antoine Roussel to complete their team.
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- Record: 4-2-4
- How It Happened: The Dallas Stars started off the season with an exciting game against the Chicago Blackhawks that gave fans hope for the future despite a shootout loss. They earned a thrilling last-second victory against the Pittsburgh Penguins and stole one in New Jersey on a brilliant Jason Spezza shootout goal. However, towards the end of the month, struggles started to rise as they dropped the last three games of the month to the Islanders, Blues, and Ducks.
- Player Of The Month: Antoine Roussel
- Record: 5-8-1
- How It Happened: The Stars began the month with a 4 game losing streak, taking the overall streak to 7, before finally beating the Arizona Coyotes behind a spectacular goal from Ryan Garbutt late in the 3rd period. They had separate 3 game winning and losing streaks later on in the month. The Stars found a glimpse of hope upon the arrival of John Klingberg about halfway through November. Anders Lindback showed more and more that he wasn’t the backup goalie for the Stars with some dismal outings. One notable performance was Tyler Seguin’s hat trick in a losing effort to the San Jose Sharks.
- Player Of The Month: Tyler Seguin
- Record: 8-4-0
- How It Happened: The Stars began to experiment with different backup goalies such as Jussi Rynnas but ultimately nothing new was found. December was one of the best months of the season for Dallas as they beat teams such as the Canadiens, Canucks, Blues, and Rangers. Kari Lehtonen was dominant and had two shutouts, one against Vancouver and one against the Coyotes. Things really got rolling and Tyler Seguin went on a goal scoring spree during the last month of 2014.
- Player Of The Month: Kari Lehtonen
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- Record: 6-5-2
- How It Happened: The beginning of the new year did not offer good things for the Dallas Stars. This started a streak of decline for the Stars and ultimately led to their flaws in terms of staying in the Playoff race. Their best win of the month came in Chicago during a 6-3 blowout of the Blackhawks but other than that, they missed a lot of opportunities to pick up some key wins. 5 of their 7 total losses were only by one goal and the other 2 losses were by 2 goals. They had chances in many of these games to take the lead or take command and just were not able to do so.
- Player Of The Month: Trevor Daley/Jason Spezza
- Record: 4-6-3
- How It Happened: February was the worst month of the Stars season and it was ultimately the time period in which the wheels came off in terms of the Playoff race. The Stars went on separate losing streaks of 3 and 5 and lost many of their games by 2 or more goals. They took a big hit when Tyler Seguin was injured on February 13th against the Panthers. The Stars received Jhonas Enroth in exchange for Anders Lindback about midway through the month in hopes to turn things around in net, yet it just didn’t help. On February 17th, Jamie Benn notched his first career hat trick in a dominant game against the Blues.
- Player Of The Month: Jason Spezza
- Record: 10-5-0
- How It Happened: The Dallas Stars began to pull together a late Playoff run starting in March and it was nothing short of incredible. They never had a losing streak the whole month and began to roll off wins everywhere. From the Islanders and Blackhawks to the Penguins and Capitals, it was hard to stop them. Kari Lehtonen played 11 games in a row to end the month and never allowed more than 3 goals. As they inched closer and closer, fans had something to root for: the slim chance of the Stars making the Playoffs.
- Player Of The Month: Kari Lehtonen
- Record: 4-1-0
- How It Happened: Despite a weird, back-and-forth game against the Blues, the Stars dominated April and ended the season on a 4 game winning streak, all with Jhonas Enroth in the net. Jamie Benn made a late run for the Art Ross trophy and eventually passed John Tavares with 8 seconds left in the season after scoring a hat trick and giving Cody Eakin an assist. He won the trophy, which was the first time a Dallas Star had ever won the Art Ross. Though the season didn’t go the way fans had hoped it would, the Dallas Stars ended by winning games against the Predators twice, Sharks, and rival Ducks. Oh, and that Jamie Benn guy made fans pretty happy too.
- Player Of The Month: Jamie Benn
In conclusion, Jamie Benn provided Stars fans with hope for the future and the team was able to make things interesting and exciting in the last few weeks. Jim Nill does some of his best work in the summer and I can’t wait to see what happens this summer with more big names on the market. Stars fans, get ready because it looks like Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin are ready to take this team to the next level. Is it October yet?