The Dallas Stars resurgence is a good lesson in patience and perseverance. Not just on the part of the team, but also the fans of said team. With the streaky nature of a long season, it is easy to turn your back for a couple of weeks, only to wake up one day to find a team back in the hunt.
And we have certainly seen this from the Stars before. Remember last year? The Stars were playing around .500 midway through January, then turned on the afterburners and made a run well into the playoffs.
Conversely, two years ago the Stars were on a promising run, then went into a late-season swoon they never recovered from.
This season the Stars have turned a 1-7-1 start into a blistering 12-1-1 streak that has them five points behind the St. Louis Blues in the Central Division and in the thick of the early Western Conference playoff race. Along the way, they have picked off the Edmonton Oilers, Vancouver Canucks and Colorado Avalanche, other teams expected to make a go at the postseason.
Keys to Success
So what are the factors that have contributed to the Dallas Stars success of late?
You could say they are simply playing to their potential, or gotten back to playing with the familiar puck-swarming style we became familiar with late last season.
But let’s take a look at some specifics:
Simple enough, right? But the Stars have gone from averaging under two goals a game, to averaging almost three, and that’s a big jump, even in the course of a month.
Defense and Goal Tending
Net minding is the big one here. The Stars have the luxury of having not
just one, but two outstanding goalies in Ben Bishop and Anton Khudobin. Bishop (.926) and Khudobin (.921) now rank among the top five net men in the league in save percentage. And they can share time equally. Not many teams have a duo in goal like that.
Those two, plus the overall efforts of the others on defense has cut the team’s goals-against average by a full goal, to 2.36 a game. Defenseman Miro Heiskanen has a plus/minus of 14, contributing at both ends of the ice and putting in a team-high 24:57 of ice time per game.
You could say there are no stars on this team – or nothing but stars, when it comes to scoring. A total of 15 different Dallas Stars skaters have scored a goal since mid-October, and seven guys are in double figures in points.
Center Radek Faksa is riding an eight-game point streak, and has more than doubled his production in November. It has been a career effort for the four-year veteran.
Tyler Seguin has run up eight points in the past four games, and has been otherwise steady all season.
Blake Comeau has come back from injury seemingly without missing a beat.
And if you want to project, don’t be surprised to see 22-year-old Denis Gurianov turn things up in the near future.
Where Stars Stand
The Stars are riding high, in good position in the standings and have few real traps on their schedule ahead. A couple of back-to-backs over the next two weeks – one with Vegas and Nashville – could be problematic. And the Stars spend much of February on the road.
Could another foul streak arise? Of course. It happens. But barring injury, this team should be sitting pretty when the weather warms again.
Just ahead, the Stars get a chance to test themselves against other Western Conference contenders when the Vegas Golden Knights (Monday) and the St. Louis Blues (Friday, Nov. 29) come to town.
Catch them now, while tickets are hot. You can’t tell how long the current run will continue.