Things have only gotten tighter in the race for the final playoff spot in the Central division. Dallas sits two points back of Nashville with two games in hand on the Predators. Even though Dallas has gone 7-2-2 in their last 10 games, Nashville has kept pace going 6-4-1. That means that the race will most likely come down to the last few games of the season.
The bad news for the Stars is that they play the remainder of their season on the road. Their final seven games will come in Tampa Bay, Nashville, Florida, and Chicago. Not only is that a tough task but they are playing some of the top teams in the division. On top of that, Florida and Tampa Bay are in a battle with Carolina for the top seed and Nashville is battling Dallas for the fourth seed. That means that nearly every game will feel like a playoff game.
Dallas Stars’ Path to the Playoffs Goes On The Road
“We’ve been dealing with that the last couple of weeks,” Rick Bowness said when asked if games like this are almost “must-win.”
“We were 12 points back, we had to take that approach. We can’t control what happens to the other teams, we have to focus on us. Every game is a playoff game and as you get closer to the end, every game becomes the most important game of the year.”
Dallas has struggled on the road this season. They have an 8-9-4 record away from American Airlines Center and they struggle to find the back of the net consistently.
They have scored 35 more goals at home than they have on the road. An even bigger issue is how slow they have started road games. They have scored only nine first-period goals away from home all season. That is the worst in the league by five goals. They also hold a 1-7-2 record on the road when the opponent scores first. Those are two stats that can lead to disaster for the Stars.
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Luckily, they are also towards the top of the league in goals-against and shots-against in the first period. That allows them to stay in games even when they are not playing their best hockey early. After the first, they are one of the best teams in most statistics across the league.
Things have been trending up for the Stars. They have been winning consistently, scoring more, receiving much better goaltending, and their special teams have been absolutely dominant. In order for them to make the playoffs though, they need to take all of that on the road with them.
Any Stars fan knows that the Stars have lost a league-high 12 games past regulation and they have one of the worst records in one-goal games. That includes a 1-4 record on the road in those games.
It is a tough task ahead of the Stars. They knew it was coming and they know that this road trip will decide their playoff fate. The team feels that they are capable of winning enough games to pass Nashville for the fourth and final playoff spot. Even more so, they like that they are in control and have the chance to make a run.
“Fate is in our hands.” – Jamie Benn
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