A New Hope? – A Dallas Stars Report

Ethan Yarbro

After going 2-1-1 during Week 9, and only 9 weeks left in the season, can Stars fans believe that we might earn a playoff spot or, at worse, a chance at the fifth spot in the division? Can we build some wins while we wait for Tyler Seguin and Ben Bishop to come back? Should we even care about this season anymore when Toronto is the shoe-in to win the Cup? With all these questions and more, let’s look back at Week 9 and look forward to the rest of the season to see if the Dallas Stars have a shot to see Lord Stanley once more.

Scoring While We Can

It’s something that has been plaguing the Stars since we let Modano leave for Detroit (still upset about that). We have plenty shots on goal and, in games like last night against the Chicago Blackhawks, we have plenty of chances to score. But it’s always “shot gone wide” or “completely misses the net” when we have an open look on the goal. We even set a record for the season as we put 15 shots on net in the 1st period, something we haven’t managed all season to do. It’s especially frustrating when we have these players that score, or we have at least seen them score in recent memory, and they have great chances too, but we only have one player (Joe Pavelski, 13) over 10 goals through the 22 games we have played. We also only have one other player over 5 goals on the season in Roope Hintz, and he has only played 16 games due to injuries. We are 26th in the league in shots for per game played at 28.5 shots and we are averaging only 2.91 goals for per game played. Compared to us being 29th in shots against per game played in the league with 27.3 shots and we are averaging 2.55 goals against per game played on the season. We have the stats that show we should be a team with a record over .500, but somehow we are 8-9-5 on the season.

Taking The Chances Given

Maybe the Stars can continue to run the screen play in front of the net, as that has been one of our best tactics for scoring goals. And the problem isn’t that we are playing insane goalies, it’s that we manage to put so many shots on net but we can’t score on the shots are given to us and we try to force shots when they are not there. We also seem to be playing kind of weak hockey in the 1st, even the 2nd period sometimes, but then we come into the 3rd period playing like a completely different team and we actually take the chances given to us and notch some goals only to come up short at the end of the game. We seem sluggish for up to two periods in a game just to try and salvage a win in one period. What’s crazy is in the games we won, we scored 5 and 6 goals while he held both teams to a combined 1 goal in two games. The Stars will play these crazy one sided games just to lose to the same team two days later by a goal. The Stars have to play consistent if they want to win games, and if they want to win games, they need to score on the chances that they are given.

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🎥 Rick Bowness: “The good things we are doing are getting lost because we are not scoring on the chances that we had, and the special teams clearly was the difference tonight. The five-on-five play is not the issue.” @ATT | #GoStars pic.twitter.com/quLQrGxIIi

What The Future Holds

With half of the shortened season gone, the Dallas Stars have a whole lot of ground to cover if they want a shot at being relevant in the division. The Stars will need to pick up some wins during March, since we have more home games than away. During Week 10, the Stars will travel to Columbus to play the Blue Jackets on Saturday and Sunday at 4 pm CT, then will head back home to play Tampa Bay on Tuesday at 7:30 pm CT, and will close out the week on the road again to play in Detroit against the Red Wings on Thursday at 6:30 pm CT and Saturday at 6 pm CT. With a big week on the road, against two teams who are in the bottom 4 along with the Stars and a game against a team in the top 4 of the division, the Stars will need to win and win some more if they want to have a shot at catching up with Chicago, who is 4th in the Central. With some wins in the next following games, the Stars can cut that 12 point gap between them and the Chicago Blackhawks, who sit at 33 points and are still winning games.

If the Stars can keep themselves relevant in the Central division, and hopefully in 5th place, leading into April, the Stars could have a shot of snagging the 4th place spot in the division for the playoffs. With mighty tight fingers crossed, Tyler Seguin and Ben Bishop are both suppose to make their seasonal debut sometime in April, which could bring some hope to a tired and beatdown Stars team. Seguin will bring the assists and the chances on goal up a whole other level with his return, and Bishop wanting to prove his worth should hopefully play lights out between the pipes upon his return. Their return could also bring some energy for the Stars as with a full, and hopefully, healthy team, the Stars could make a run for a playoff spot and become an upset threat in the playoffs. It’s probably leaning towards wishful thinking, but with Seguin’s return to the 1st line and with Bishop’s return to the blue crease, the Dallas Stars could become a completely different team in the last quarter of the season.

Answering The Question

With where the Stars sit in the division and the road to the end of the season in sight, there is one big question for most Stars’ fans that comes to mind: Do they have a chance? For me, I will always think that somehow, some way the Stars will pull out their best hockey to make it to the playoffs and have a decent run, but there is a strong and glooming thought of us not making it and sitting out on the couch after last year’s bubble performance. So yes, there is a chance that we can pull it out and win ourselves a spot to see Lord Stanley, but there is also a strong chance we blow our chance and have to sit on the sideline watching what could have been us in the playoffs. So, if the Stars want a shot at the cup again, we will need to grab points quickly and consistently if they want a shot at making the playoffs and giving the fans something to cheer about. We have to take the chances given to us, make smart and decisive plays, and put pressure on the other team from the first drop of the puck in the game to the last horn. We have to give it our all if we want to make it the top 4 before the season is all said and done, and from what we have seen in recent years, you can never really count out the Dallas Stars.

 

Photo Cred: @DallasStars / Twitter.com / https://twitter.com/DallasStars/status/1369487243929354240?s=20

Dallas Stars Schedule / NHL.com / https://www.nhl.com/stars/schedule/2021-03-01/CT

Dallas Stars Stats / NHL.com / https://www.nhl.com/stars/stats

NHL Stats (Teams) / NHL.com / https://www.nhl.com/stats/teams?reportType=season&seasonFrom=20202021&seasonTo=20202021&gameType=2&filter=gamesPlayed,gte,1&sort=shotsAgainstPerGame&page=0&pageSize=50

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