With the first week of the 2016-2017 in the books, the Dallas Stars don’t seem to have the luster they did last year. But perhaps a home-and-home with the Winnipeg Jets and a clash with the rival Minnesota Wild could be what they need.
Through one week of the NHL regular season, the Dallas Stars seem a bit off. Injuries have played a minor part in that, as has goaltender play. But before any talk of wholesale changes is even considered, let’s take a look at what the upcoming week’s schedule.
Sure, a 2-2-1 record with five points is not a terrible start within the first eight days. It could certainly be better, but it could also be immensely worse for the Stars. Injuries to key personnel like Cody Eakin and Patrick Eaves slowed them down a bit in the first week, but the week ahead offers a little bit of promise to Dallas.
Tuesday, October 25 — 7:30 PM CST, vs. the Winnipeg Jets and
Thursday, October 27 — 7:00 PM CST, @ the Winnipeg Jets
Like the Stars, the Jets completed the first week with two wins. For them, the absence of young defenseman Jacob Trouba has dealt quite the blow to their blue line. They’re also young, talented and setting up to be one of the league’s best teams in the near future.
They also have a very good home field advantage. Widely considered the NHL’s loudest, the MTS Centre reached an ear-piercing 124 decibels. Hence, a Tuesday win would eliminate the pressure of playing for a split in Minneapolis.
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That’s why it’s crucial Dallas’ blue line slows them down and limits Winnipeg’s shots on goal.
Prediction — Dallas wins Tuesday and the Jets win Thursday
Saturday, October 29 — 7:00 PM CST, @ the Minnesota Wild
As if the week didn’t look good enough with a home-and-home with an upcoming contender, Saturday’s matchup looks delicious. In a rematch of last season’s first round opponents, the Stars will face the Minnesota Wild.
For obvious reasons, the city of Minneapolis really doesn’t like the Dallas Stars. This rivalry was born the moment the NHL awarded them the team on June 25, 1997. To imply they’re taking this game lightly would be delusional.
Leading the charge for the Wild are their centers, Charlie Coyle and Eric Staal, and defenseman Ryan Suter. The trio have combined for 12 points in the first five games of the season with Suter leading the team in assists (4) and Staal leading the team in goals (3).
They have a fairly balanced attack, spreading the puck between several players and getting assists from every position. Couple their talent with the high degree of energy that will engulf the Xcel Energy Center and it will be must-watch hockey.
Prediction — Dallas steals a road win in overtime to go to 4-3-1
Last season’s success set the bar pretty high for this Stars team. Their playoff run and 9-2-0 month of October to open the season created a new standard for this season. But with the injury bug in full swing, holding serve for a few weeks could be just fine while everyone mends. For now, that’s what the Dallas Stars front office will bank on.