Dallas Stars off to a decent start–and that is just fine

Oct 22, 2021; Dallas, Texas, USA; Dallas Stars right wing Denis Gurianov (34) Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 22, 2021; Dallas, Texas, USA; Dallas Stars right wing Denis Gurianov (34) Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports /

All things considered, life isn’t bad for the Dallas Stars these days. They’re five games into the season. Their record is 3-2-0, which is good for third place in the ever-competitive NHL Central Division. Keep in mind that they’ve accomplished this feat without key cogs such as forwards Jason Robertson and Blake Comeau. Neither has suited up for a game so far.

They’ve also been without the services of defenseman John Klingberg, who took an awkward hit on opening night and hasn’t been seen since. The good news is that head coach Rick Bowness intimated that Klingberg would possibly be back tonight against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Good thing, too, because his knee appeared to take the brunt of the damage, and you never know with those nebulous “lower body injuries”.

The Dallas Stars are steering clear of their customary drama early on.

Of course, there is also the year-in, year-out saga that is the Stars’ scoring woes. Try though they may, the Stars are simply a hard scoring bunch. One need look no further than the early goal differentials to see that they’ve scored 11 for and 11 against. That’s not a huge margin for error by any stretch.

It’s a good thing the Stars are a still a sound defensive bunch. At least they have been thus far. It’s helped ease the transition into a new year that has some new faces in place. To be sure, there have been times already where the team looks like they met on the ice at faceoff and hadn’t practiced together. Credit the veteran leadership for keeping an even keel.

It’s still early, obviously, but this campaign has had a kind of ho-hum feel about, at least from the perspective of a highly interested outside observer. This is in stark contrast to the past two seasons that were maligned by horrific starts, coaching changes, a global pandemic, a biblical winter storm, and missing the playoffs altogether in last year’s abbreviated 56-game Covid season.

The bottom line is that this year’s Dallas Stars must make the postseason tournament. There are no more excuses for spotty playoff appearances. Not with the time and money invested into the old guard like forwards Tyler Seguin, Joe Pavelski, and captain Jamie Benn. The front office has done an admirable job in finding young talent–Robertson, right winger Denis Gurianov, and of course, perennial Norris Trophy candidate, defenseman Miro Heiskanen, to name a few.

In other words, the mix of young and old is honestly as good as it’s been in a while. I’m willing to give them a pass on last year and chalk it up to a horribly perfect storm that prevented a third consecutive playoff berth. With a modicum of health, I would expect to see the Stars more resemble the squads that made extended playoff runs 2019 and 2020.

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In the meantime, a Columbus team that sports an identical 3-2-0 record awaits. The Blue Jackets will provide a solid test for a Stars’ bunch that is most certainly still trying to find their way, especially in terms of generating goals. But so long as the Stars continue to be solid on defense and in net, they will have a chance to win on most nights. For right now, that’s more than enough.