The Dallas Stars have the most points in the NHL right now, but it’s their play during difficult times that sets them apart from the rest.
The Dallas Stars are off to their best start in franchise history. After making some big moves, like trading for Patrick Sharp and Antti Niemi, it was evident that their budding, young team was going to get some experienced help.
The start of the season surprised a lot of people because the Stars were expected to be good but they weren’t expected to look like contenders. There are many key components that have led to this early success such as:
- The best offense in the league
- Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin (39 points each)
- The 2nd-best power play in the league
Though giving up 44 points throughout 28 games is certainly nothing to be worried about, the Stars have a hit a rough patch in recent weeks, and by rough patch, I mean 10 points in 7 games. They have gone 4-1-2 in that stretch but have not played their best hockey.
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To start things off, the Stars goal tending had major problems in Ottawa as they gave up 7 goals in a loss to the Senators. After that, the Stars defeated the Vancouver Canucks in a shootout (3-2) and the Minnesota Wild in overtime (4-3) after being down 0-3 with 15 minutes left in the game.
In their next game, the Calgary Flames gave them a taste of their own medicine, coming back from a 3-0 deficit in the 3rd to win in a shootout. Then, the Stars beat the Canucks again before dropping a game to the Edmonton Oilers 2-1 on a night where they had many prime scoring chances. Lastly, the Stars defeated the Hurricanes 6-5 after giving up a 5-1 lead in the 3rd.
It’s crazy that a stretch like that would be considered a rough period for a team in the NHL, but with the level of intensity the Stars have come out with this year, it’s just the truth.
There is some good to come out of these wins and losses though. The Stars are actively proving why they are an elite team in the Western Conference, and the league for that matter. It’s the fact that their decision-making late in games has been great and is leading to a few wins that they probably should not have gotten.
In their loss to the Senators, the Stars trailed 5-1 with about 14 minutes left. They managed to cut the deficit to 2 at one point, and battled until the very end and, obviously, their win against the Wild proved that they are never out of a game. Against the Hurricanes, the Stars could’ve easily stayed rattled and never recovered but they kept digging and that led to the eventual game-winner with 18.5 seconds left.
Many of these games would have been disasters in the 2014-15 season. At times last year, they would surrender big leads and sort of bow down or they would go down early and never be able to gain any momentum. That is obviously not the case this season and that is the reason why the Stars are such a dangerous team.
As the season continues to march on, keep an eye on games where big leads are lost or where a late goal is needed to win. Their play in those moments is forming their identity and building the path for a long run in the Playoffs.