Dallas Stars: Playoff possibilities slipping away quickly

Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)
Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images) /

There isn’t a whole lot of positive news to report about the Dallas Stars these days. Sure, they’ve been beset by delays an injuries, but historic and cataclysmic winter storms don’t count as excuses. The bottom line is that they haven’t been able to muster enough offense to outscore their problems.

Forget about Saturday’s disastrous Stanley Cup rematch versus the Tampa Bay Lightning. That game was over midway through the second period. If there was a true catastrophic moment for this season so far, it was last Thursday’s game against the Florida Panthers that put the current campaign on microscopic display.

A rough month of February puts the Dallas Stars firmly behind the eight ball.

The Stars were in good stead through most of the game. In fact, it took a weird delay to throw their rhythm off. Leading 2-0 through most of the 3rd period, the boards came dislodged in the corner in the Stars’ end of the ice. The stoppage to repair them must’ve lasted at least fifteen minutes, but it was enough to reset the game’s tenor.

The Panthers proceeded to score three goals in the waning stages to steal the win. Let me tell you this: I haven’t seen a Stars’ team lose their mojo that quickly in years. It’s not an excuse, but I don’t think they lose that game without that pause. They had largely dominated that tilt. But when play resumed, Florida had wind in their sails and steamrolled their way to the victory.

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Here’s the problem. Through largely their own faults, the Dallas Stars are playing their way out of contention, and they’re doing so in a huge hurry. With the division-based schedule this season, they realistically need to win about twenty-five of their remaining games to have anywhere near a decent shot of simply making the playoffs. Do I feel particularly good about that bet? No, at this moment I don’t. For whatever reason, no matter if they’re playing well or not, the Stars are just having a colossally difficult time getting out of their own way. The law of averages suggests that maybe they can turn it around. But if that’s the case, it needs to start happening right now.

As it stands currently, the Stars are dead last in the Central Division. Yes, they have games in hand because of the Covid-related delay to start the season, as well as the weather-related disaster in Texas a couple weeks ago. But their problems stretch far beyond any built-in excuses. They were playing well enough to win several of the games they lost for a stretch, but at this point moral victories don’t count.

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The Stars’ top-end players simply need to make up for their shortcomings. They have a chance to start that resurgence Tuesday night against the same Lightning team, this time at home. Win that game and we can start talking about maybe playing their way into contention. But at this point, the Dallas Stars need to get their mess in gear and represent themselves as the defending conference champions. Their only other option is failure.

  • Published on 03/01/2021 at 13:01 PM
  • Last updated at 03/01/2021 at 08:33 AM