Being behind 8 points from making the playoffs, and a hard road ahead to end the month, the Dallas Stars are seeing their playoff chances slip through their fingers like sand. The problems plaguing the Stars are nothing new, in fact we seem them every year. However, unlike seasons before, the Stars aren’t able to turn it around and win their way out. With only 7 games left in the month of March, Dallas will have to do a complete 180 and push their way back up the standings, or continue to lose close games and sink down further to the bottom.
Trying To Beat The Buzzer
The Dallas Stars have put up a 3-4-3 so far in the month of March, and we only have 7 more games to play during March. The Stars are losing games that are decided in the 3rd period. They can’t score in the 1st, sometimes even the 2nd, but when it comes to being down by 2 to 3 goals going into the 3rd period, the Stars finally remember how to score a goal and find themselves down a goal with 5 minutes to go in the game. Dallas is losing by an average of around a goal a game in every regulation loss. Most of the games that go past 60 minutes are lost in a shootout because we cannot put a puck in the net during the shootout. Even in the shootout that the Stars won against the Blue Jackets, there was only one goal scored between the two teams. It makes the losses worse when we play the same team and win 5-0 or 6-1 like we did against Columbus and Chicago only to play them again and lose by a goal or two. The Stars have to start scoring earlier or putting more pressure on the net in the 1st and 2nd period or they are going to continue losing these close games.
🎥 Radek Faksa: “It’s frustrating because I think we are playing well, we’re just finding ways to lose the games, and we don’t know the reason. We’ll keep playing hard and hopefully it’ll turnaround.” @ATT | #GoStars pic.twitter.com/L5IPfTGvvp
The problem of not scoring early enough is also a problem for the Stars when they are putting up double digit shots in one period. The Stars cannot seem to find the back of the net even with all the pressure on the opposition’s net. We are averaging over 30 shots a game during the month and are usually out-shooting our opponent, but we can’t win games with the amount of shots on net. For the Stars to win games, they have to find a way to put the puck in the back of the net, whether that be with smarter shot selections or more pressure in front of the net while they throw bombs from the blueline. They need to change up their shooting patterns or their play structure while in the opposition’s side of the ice, because at the current moment, they have no ability to score goals when they can and/or need to.
🎥 Rick Bowness: “Not trying to fix the forecheck, or this, or that. That’s not the issue. How we’re playing as a team is not the issue. The issue is getting that puck in the net.”@ATT | #GoStars pic.twitter.com/cOGXESsPUZ
A Couch In Our Foreseeable Future
At the moment, the Stars are in 7th place with 25 points, being 8 points behind the 4th place Chicago Blackhawks. The Stars only being behind Chicago by single digit points should be a joyful realization for us fans, but how they have been playing only dims that fire for us. Losing close games will be the death for us this season, and sitting home on the couch after this type of season will only leave more of a bitter taste in our mouths than the bubble did, which is quite staggering. I would love to believe that we still have a strong chance at making the playoffs, but with the type of play that the Stars have been displaying over the past month has only driven that hope further down.
The Stars have only a point over the Detroit Red Wings and behind the 6th place Nashville Predators by 2 points. The bottom 4 is a relatively close race, and no one wants to finish at the bottom. However, with the inconsistent and weak play that the Stars are playing with is going to cause them to go from one of the best in the league to one of the worst in the league all in one shortened season. Our problems happen every year too: we can’t seem to score halfway through the season and we start faltering down the standings, but then in the later portion of the season, we turn it around and win our way into the playoffs somehow. But the Stars can’t do that this year due to the shortened season; we can’t wait till the last minute to turn it around. If Dallas wants to keep their butts on the ice and not on the couch at home watching, then games have to be played through all three periods, not just the 3rd period.
With only 7 games to go in March, and month and half left in the season, the Stars have no more time to lose close games. If they want to make the playoffs, the Stars are have to going to play smart and consistent hockey and they are going to need to find some different strategies while on the forecheck in hopes of putting more pucks in the back of the net. It’s nut up or shut up time for the Dallas Stars, let’s see how they attack the rest of the season.
Photo Creds: @DallasStars / twitter.com / https://twitter.com/DallasStars/status/1372010263797452804
NHL Standings / NHL.com / https://www.nhl.com/standings/2020/division
Dallas Stars Schedule / NHL.com / https://www.nhl.com/stars/schedule/2021-03-01/CT