After what seemed to be another rough end to a month, losing two close and manageable games, the Dallas Stars looked to be continuing the losing trend. However, we fans finally got to see a win-hungry team who picked up the last minute win against the Tampa Bay Lighting, notching a win against the Lighting for the first time this season. With an energetic win, and with two home games to close out this week, the Stars are looking for wins and points to make the fourth spot before the season ends.
Feeding Off Of The Energy
After games like last night, the Stars will need to keep the momentum going. With how they have been playing in recent games, it seems the Stars are finally tired of losing close games and are looking to pick up a win, even if it comes down to the last minute. I know we have only won the one game this week, but it makes me hopeful as we move on to close out the month of March. I think the Stars needed this win to prove to themselves and to the fandom that they have the fight to make it to the fourth spot in the Central division, and head to the playoffs. With only 26 games left and being behind the 4th place Blackhawks by 7 points, the Stars are going to need to score some wins and build up some points quickly, as the top 3 teams in the Central are slowing leaving the rest behind and the battle for the last spot is heating up between four teams. The Stars are going to need to keep the momentum and the energy building up going in order to grab some important points over the top teams in contention for the playoffs.
Pavs & Hintz
Speaking of feeding off the energy and momentum of finally beating the Lighting this year, the rest of the Stars need to also build off of how well Hintz and Pavs have been leading this team and scoring points in their own ways. Both of them are leading the team with how well they have been playing and, even with Hintz’s injuries, how they are able to keep the team in the fight. Pavelski leads the team in goals, assists, and points as well as leading the league in power play goals. Pavs has shown why everyone regards to him as a captain, and he has been creating great chances with the young guys he has been paired up with. For instance, on Sunday’s game against Nashville, Pavs came through with an assist deflection on Ty Dellandrea’s deflection goal. Or how he assisted with Hintz’s goal on Tuesday and Thursday. Hintz has been a beast since his return this week, notching two goals, two assists and four points through two games. He has been a threat everytime he is on the ice, and the fact that he has been on the same line as Pavs since last night and with Robertson the past two games, Hintz has played his key role of speed and attack while creating chances for others to score if he is not able to. With Pavs and Hintz playing like they have and their play having an affect on the rest of the team, the Stars could finally find their legs and start winning some games consistently.
NHL Public Relations on Twitter: “Roope Hintz and Joe Pavelski each posted 1-2-3 as the @DallasStars earned their first win against the Lightning this season and snapped Tampa Bay’s 12-game regular-season point streak versus Dallas in the process (TBL: 9-0-3; DAL: 3-7-2). #NHLStats pic.twitter.com/CZcMMBQhXG / Twitter”
Roope Hintz and Joe Pavelski each posted 1-2-3 as the @DallasStars earned their first win against the Lightning this season and snapped Tampa Bay’s 12-game regular-season point streak versus Dallas in the process (TBL: 9-0-3; DAL: 3-7-2). #NHLStats pic.twitter.com/CZcMMBQhXG
Both Roope and Pavs have created some chemistry with the younger guys, something Coach Bones discusses in the interview below. Watching Pavs share some ice time with Dellandrea or Robertson has been great, as he has looked to feed the younger guys and has also looked to create chances while on the forecheck with them. Pavs has been our best player this season, and seeing him have a creative flow with the younger skaters is an amazing feeling as a Stars fan, knowing that these kids are actually getting chances not only to help the team but to also rack up some points and put some pucks on the net. Roope has been inspiring so far this season when has the chance to play, due to him playing through injuries a lot. As Coach Bones talks about, Hintz and Robertson seem comfortable enough to learn how each other flow on the ice and how they both look to feed the other when the time is right. Hintz acts as the nail, crashing the net with his speed as Robertson plays his part on the side of the net always looking to feed someone in hopes of a great chance at net. With Hintz and Pavs playing creatively and flowing well with the others, especially the younger skaters, I think as fans we can expect some great moments from the two as we work our way towards the end of the season.
Dallas Stars on Twitter: “🎥 Rick Bowness: “The chemistry with Robo and Roope; they think the game the same and Robo is very good at hanging on to the puck and letting Roope use his speed.”@ATT | #GoStars pic.twitter.com/vSY6NEZMnS / Twitter”
🎥 Rick Bowness: “The chemistry with Robo and Roope; they think the game the same and Robo is very good at hanging on to the puck and letting Roope use his speed.”@ATT | #GoStars pic.twitter.com/vSY6NEZMnS
The Youth of The Stars
Even with all of the injuries that the Stars have been facing, they have given opportunities to some of the younger guys from our AHL affiliate players and the Taxi Squad. Players like Jason Robertson and Ty Dellandrea have started to find their footing in the pace of the NHL and seem to be adjusting rather well. We also got to see Rhett Gardner notch his first goal and first assist this week. Robertson has notched 4 assists over the past five games, giving him 15 assists on the season and being tied for second on the team with Klingberg. Most of our young guys are contributing on the offensive side of the puck with assists, as Miro Heiskanen, Jason Robertson, Roope Hintz and Denis Gurianov all have over 10 assists on the year. The only thing we need from the younger players is more goals, as only Roope has more than 10 goals on the season out of the players who are 24 and younger. Hopefully when Kiviranta becomes eligible off of the Injury Reserve, we can get some more looks out of him. Even so, our young skaters are finally getting their feet wet on the ice and kicking it with the older guys as they look to help contribute to the team towards picking up some wins.
We also have seen Oettinger grow a little more comfortable in between the pipes as he has a .895 save percentage over the past 5 games and a 2.48 goals against average so far in the season. He also had a hell of a save against the Lighting when Palat had a free look at the net and Oettinger saved a goal with his stick in full butterfly. I believe the more comfortable Oettinger gets in the net, the more looks he will get, and hopefully the defensive side of our game gets better and better as we go on towards the end of the season.
Dallas Stars on Twitter: “🎥 Jake Oettinger: “Right from the puck drop, no matter what happens, I’ll be in the same frame of mind, same mindset. It’s something I’ve been working on and one of the lessons I’ve learned this year.”@ATT | #GoStars pic.twitter.com/QdZAVKuQtN / Twitter”
🎥 Jake Oettinger: “Right from the puck drop, no matter what happens, I’ll be in the same frame of mind, same mindset. It’s something I’ve been working on and one of the lessons I’ve learned this year.”@ATT | #GoStars pic.twitter.com/QdZAVKuQtN
Beating The Defending Champs, Finally
After beating Tampa Bay last night for the first time in the season, some hopes are starting to build for the Stars and the fans as we sit only a few points behind the last playoff spot in the Central. Of course, we have Nashville, Columbus, and Chicago to fend off for that spot, but after seeing what happened last night, I think we can start to feel like we may have some hope to grab onto.
These highlights… *chef’s kiss* 🤌 pic.twitter.com/6iiNiIEqv6
The Stars cashed in on a last minute goal from Roope Hintz in order to defeat the Lighting and grab two points at home. While it was not the perfect example of how the Stars need to play in order to make the playoffs, we did some great moments out of our players that gave us a glimpse of what we can accomplish when we play our game. One thing we could have capitalize on more was the amount of turnovers the Lighting had, especially in the third period, as we let had plenty of opportunities to create some chances off of their miscues. We also had some shining moments during the power play last night as well. We ended up only going 1 for 3 on the night, but their were some strong chances that the Stars put on the net that could have scored if we weren’t playing the top team in the league, especially since they also have the top goalie in the league too (go figure). However, if we want to keep beating the top teams in the division, we will need to use every power play given to us in order to build a lead and keep some pressure building while on 5v5.
Some great moments did come from last night that gave us some exhilaration. Oettinger’s attempted grand larceny on Ondrej Palat was one for instance. Palat had daylight looking him in the face as the puck hit his stick with Oettinger only seeing during his wind up. Oettinger put up his stick and shut the drapes on Palat as he was robbed from an almost easy goal. We also got to see Roope split two defenders and put a puck low over the toe on Vasilevskiy, a moment I have replayed at least 12 times today. Robertson’s goal to celly was another fun moment to watch as the kid keeps impressing. With our team playing like this, the Stars can finally gain some momentum and really put up a fight for that last spot.
ABSOLUTE LARCENY FROM THE KID 🦦 pic.twitter.com/Pc8uv5hlUW
Fight For The Right
With only 26 games left, the Stars are going to need to kick it in overdrive and really outplay the teams ahead of them in the standings. We will need the same energy that we saw during the second and third period from last night’s victory in hopes that we can beat teams like Florida and Carolina when we play them. Speaking of the Panthers, we have two more home games this month and they are both against them. Florida is missing Patric Hornqvist, who remains day-to-day and could possibly miss the meetings with the Stars. Even with Florida getting shutout by the Blackhawks and it bruising their ego, they are still a dangerous team as they sit in 3rd in the Central and are up 2-1 on the season over the Stars. We have a lot to work on and a ways to go, but the Stars are looking hungry and energetic after last night’s victory. Let’s hope that we can build from that game and find a way for the Stars to rise up the standings.
Photo Creds: @DallasStars / Twitter.com / https://twitter.com/DallasStars/status/1375275373290749958
Dallas Stars Schedule 2020-21 / NHL.com / https://www.nhl.com/stars/schedule/2021-03-01/CT
Patric Hornqvist Update / FloridaHockeyNow.com / https://floridahockeynow.com/it-will-be-difficult-for-florida-panthers-to-replace-an-injured-patric-hornqvist/