Upcoming Games Give Dallas Stars an Opportunity to Improve Road Record

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - JANUARY 10: Roope Hintz #24 of the Dallas Stars keeps his eye on the puck against the Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Center on January 10, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - JANUARY 10: Roope Hintz #24 of the Dallas Stars keeps his eye on the puck against the Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Center on January 10, 2019 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images) /

The Dallas Stars head out on the road for the next five games after winning their last five in a row, four of which were at home. Although they struggle outside the American Airlines Center, they can turn their road record around with this next trip.

Playoff teams—especially teams that lead the pack in their division or conference—tend to play well on the road. Although the Dallas Stars are a playoff team as of late, they are not a successful hockey team when they head out on the road.

This season, the Stars have only won 10 games while playing as the visitors out of a total of 25 road games. Dallas is getting beaten out by all but three NHL teams in points recorded while on the road—Ottawa, the New York Rangers, and New Jersey Devils—none of which are playoff teams.

What does this mean? Well, for starters, it means that Dallas is exceptional at home, having gone 18-8-2 (38 points) in the AAC. While it is good that the Stars are able to win big at home, they have little insurance to assist them if they hit a skid in the Lone Star State.  The Stars are 2-2 in their past four road games, having beaten the Nashville Predators last Saturday night and defeating the St. Louis Blues in the middle contest of a three-game road trip in the second week of January.

Obviously, the Stars are tasked with playing 41 games out of the season in other teams’ arenas. For the next week and a half, that will be the case.

The most interesting game on the trip could be the first game of the journey on Thursday night, when the Stars return to Bridgestone Arena for the third time in just over a month to face the Predators. By the looks of it, a Stars-Preds rivalry could be in the making. Preds’ forward Ryan Hartman jarred with netminder Anton Khudobin in Dallas’ 3-1 victory, and the Stars made a mental note of that after the game.

It was also announced by the league in late January that the Stars will host the Predators in the 2020 Winter Classic at the Cotton Bowl. Although the game is a ways away, it is possible that the Stars might have a new “friend” on the block.

The Predators made a deal on Wednesday morning to acquire forward Brian Boyle from the New Jersey Devils. Boyle, who has 13 goals this season, had an altercation in a game last season with John Klingberg after the latter knocked Boyle down to the ice along the boards.

The Predators, who are second in the Central Division, also acquired Cody McLeod from the New York Rangers on Wednesday as well. McLeod has been in five fights this season and is 14th in the league in penalty minutes with 60.

It seems to be the case that Nashville is looking to add more physical players to the ranks of its roster ahead of the deadline. Dallas will need to match that intensity in order to steal game 3 of this Central Division series.

The Stars will also head to the desert to play the Arizona Coyotes for the second time this week following winning a wild 5-4 win against the former on Monday. Dallas will have a chance to sweep all three games against the Coyotes if they come out on top Saturday night. Arizona is 1-3-1 in its last five games and is 9-12-3 at home.

After playing two Western Conference teams in the opening couple of games on the road trip, the Stars will head to the Sunshine state to play the Florida Panthers. Florida has not lived up to expectations this season with only 50 points in the Atlantic Division.

The Panthers are 11 points out of a playoff spot.

Dallas will stay in Florida for the next game when they’ll play against the Tampa Bay Lightning, who lead the league in goals scored (207), goal differential (+58), and points (81). The Stars have already played and lost to the Lightning once this season when they were shutout 2-0 at home during the four-game losing streak in the middle of January. Next Thursday’s game will be the final meeting of the two teams in the regular season.

To conclude the road trip, the Stars will go to PNC Arena to play the Carolina Hurricanes. This will be the first of two meetings in the next couple of weeks between the Stars and the Canes. Carolina is fifth in the Metropolitan Division with 58 points. The Hurricanes are 14-9-4 at home.

Pitlick out for eight weeks to recover from surgery

Stars’ forward Tyler Pitlick is out for the next eight weeks after undergoing successful surgery to repair tendon damage in his left wrist, Stars’ Inside Edge Mark Stepneski reported on Tuesday. Pitlick, who had spent the majority of the season on a line with Radek Faksa and Blake Comeau, has six goals and 10 points in 43 games this season.

Despite the fact that Pitlick will be out for the majority of the remaining part of the regular season, forwards Roope Hintz and Denis Gurianov will have the opportunity to gain some valuable playing time in the NHL. Both Hintz and Gurianov have fluctuated between the Texas Stars of the AHL and the Dallas Stars, but compliment each other with their speed and offensive grit.

The two youngsters played on the fourth line with Brett Ritchie (with Hintz as the centerman and Ritchie on the right) in Tuesday night’s win against Arizona.

Related Story. Increase in Scoring is Fueling Stars' Win Streak. light

Hopefully for the Stars, Hintz and Gurianov can help add to the depth scoring that has increased in recent games to pace the Stars as they continue to hold third place in the Central Division.

As of now, the Stars are a playoff team. In order for them to keep it that way, they have to put the pedal to the metal and win on the road in the next week and a half.

What do you think, Stars’ fans? Will the Dallas Stars record a winning record in the next five games while on the road trip? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

  • Published on 02/07/2019 at 21:02 PM
  • Last updated at 02/07/2019 at 17:03 PM