Dallas Stars v. Canada to Serve as Last Major Road Journey of Season

DALLAS, TEXAS - JANUARY 19: Andrew Cogliano #17 of the Dallas Stars gets tripped by Mark Scheifele #55 of the Winnipeg Jets in the third period at American Airlines Center on January 19, 2019 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
DALLAS, TEXAS - JANUARY 19: Andrew Cogliano #17 of the Dallas Stars gets tripped by Mark Scheifele #55 of the Winnipeg Jets in the third period at American Airlines Center on January 19, 2019 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /

The Dallas Stars only have seven games left in the regular season, and five of them are on the road as the team heads out on a four-game road trip that starts in Winnipeg and ends in Vancouver. With the end of the regular season in sight, will they capitalize on the road?

The Dallas Stars have stereotypically not been a very good road team. This season, they are 16-17-3 when playing in an opponent’s arena. In the 2017-18 season, they were 16-20-5. The year prior, they were 12-24-5. They did see an increase in road play in 2015-16—which helped contribute to their playoff run later that year—and were above .500 on the road during the 2014-15 season, but weren’t proficient enough at home to make an appearance in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

And, for the past three seasons, the road has been Dallas’ Achilles heel.

And, for the past three seasons, it seems like Dallas keeps taking arrows to the Achilles.

This season, as seen in the previous two campaigns, is resulting in Dallas having been put in a similar decision.

Dallas vs. the World (well, technically just Canada)

Of the remaining seven games left on the Stars’ schedule, five of them are not at the AAC. It also doesn’t help that the Stars aren’t riding any momentum into the trip—they’ve lost their last two games and are 1-3-1 in their last five.

Game One

The first part of the road trip will arguably be the hardest; beginning with a game in Bell MTS Place against the playoff-bound Winnipeg Jets. Dallas has defeated the Jets in two of the three previous meetings between the two teams this season, and Ben Bishop was in net for all three games. After Khudobin suffered a loss to his record on Saturday night against the Pittsburgh Penguins, Coach Jim Montgomery might ride Bishop into the beginning of the trip.

Winnipeg is first in the Central Division and third place in Conference standings with 94 points (45-26-4).

Game Two

After the game in Winnipeg, Dallas will travel to the Saddledome to play the Calgary Flames, the hottest team (no pun intended) in the Western Conference. Calgary (47-21-7) has rebounded from a tough 2017-18 season and not only leads the Western Conference in points, but also leads the West in goals scored, goal differential, shooting percentage, and assists.

Calgary is 25-7-5 at home; the second-most home wins out of any team in the league (Tampa Bay has the most with 31) and will certainly give Dallas a run for its money on Wednesday night.

The good news is that Dallas has played—and beaten—Calgary twice this season. The first was a 4-3 OT victory in late November, where Alexander Radulov netted the deafening strick in Calgary to give the Stars their 13th win of the season. The second was a 2-0 shutout performance from Ben Bishop at the AAC on Dec. 18. Dallas will have a chance to sweep the regular-season series between the two teams if they’re able to shut down the Flames’ offense.

Game Three

The third game on the trip is the back-end of a back-to-back. Dallas plays both Alberta teams in the span of 24 hours; first is Calgary on Wednesday night, then they’ll play against Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday night.

Edmonton (33-34-8) is fighting amongst the Minnesota Wild, Arizona Coyotes, Chicago Blackhawks, and Vancouver Canucks in the hunt for a wild-card spot. Although it is mathematically impossible for them to replace Las Vegas for the third spot in the Pacific Division, they still have a very small window of opportunity to fight for a wild-card spot.

Dallas played Edmonton twice in the span of one week in late November/early December, splitting both games. Goalie Anton Khudobin played in both games for the Stars, keeping the net empty for all 60 minutes of regulation but allowing an OT winner from Oscar Klefbom at 2:42 into the extra period.

The second contest was a 4-1 victory at home—Khudobin stopped 28 of 29 shots, Brett Ritchie scored his first of the season, and Jamie Benn scored on the power play to increase his goal count over the past six games to five tallies.

Edmonton is 17-17-3 at home and has the third-worst goal differential (-36) in the Conference.

Game Four

The four-game trip will conclude in Vancouver, where the Stars will face the Canucks for the third time this season. Dallas defeated Vancouver on the first day of December by a score of 2-1. They dropped the second meeting last Sunday (3-2) in what has been Dallas’ only shootout appearance so far this season.

Vancouver is tied with Edmonton and Chicago in points with 74.

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The Stars have five more chances this season to win in another team’s arena—four of which lie ahead of them on this road trip. And, buy the conclusion of the season, we’ll find out whether they were victorious over Canada and the road, or if their Achilles heel got the best of them.

  • Published on 03/25/2019 at 13:00 PM
  • Last updated at 03/25/2019 at 07:38 AM