In this edition of Stars’ News & Rumors, Dallas finally returns to play after 17 days off and some roster updates as 2022 rolls around.
Stars Earn Shootout Win In Return
It had been 17 days since the Stars defeated the Minnesota Wild 7-4 on home ice. Since then, they had six games postponed due to COVID and were finally able to return to play on Thursday night (Jan. 6). In their return, they faced a red-hot Florida Panthers team that had won four straight games, scoring 24 goals in that span. While the game was far from perfect, the Stars earned a shootout victory in what should be a huge confidence boost in 2022.
“That 17-day break, we didn’t have it last year and that’s a tough thing, it really is,” Stars head coach Rick Bowness said. “But, we just gotta keep trying to find solutions. We found a way to win that game tonight, even if it took us to overtime. We did some good things. There were times we made the game a lot harder on ourselves than we should’ve but that comes with not playing and we can fix those things. We are absolutely thrilled we got the two points against an elite hockey club after the break. Was it going to be a Picasso tonight? No. But we are thrilled with the two points.
Bowness is spot on in his mindset following the game. Dallas allowed 42 shots on goal, five goals, and blew a late lead in the final minute of regulation. However, they also erased three one-goal leads, outplayed the Panthers for large stretches, dealt with adversity, and earned two points in a game that could have easily been a blowout after the long break.
The newly-organized second line shined bright in this game with Tyler Seguin recording his second goal in as many games, Jamie Benn tallying one goal and one assist, and Denis Gurianov playing his best game of the season, finishing with one goal and two assists, marking back-to-back multi-point games.
Braden Holtby finished the game with 37 saves and made a few that were key to keeping the Stars alive both early on and late in the game.
“He made a lot of big saves in the first period,” Bowness said. “He gave us a chance to win that game with his play in the first period because we were clearly turning the puck over at our blueline and we were giving them way too many scoring chances in the first. He did his job and then did it in overtime. I know we gave up five but a lot of that is on us as a team and we’ll fix those things. This guy is a competitor and a battler, and he showed that in the third period and overtime.”
From here, the Stars will look to build on their game and perhaps move closer to that Picasso-like style their coach is searching for.
Stars Make Multiple Roster Moves
During the break and ahead of Thursday night’s game, the Stars made multiple roster moves in accordance with the new rules set by the NHL. Below is a list of the most notable moves over that time.
- Joel Kiviranta was activated from IR and played Thursday night
- Thomas Harley was recalled from the Taxi Squad and played Thursday night
- Ty Dellandrea, Rhett Gardner, Riley Tufte, and Adam Scheel were reassigned from the Taxi Squad to the American Hockey League
- 11 players were added and eventually removed from the COVID list. No players remain in protocol
- Tanner Kero returned from his scary concussion and has been practicing in a non-contact jersey for a few days
What does this all mean? Well, Dallas will continue to move players around depending on their needs at the NHL level, on the Taxi Squad, and in the AHL. While it is important to maintain enough options on the NHL roster/Taxi Squad, it is also vital for many key prospects to continue playing games in the AHL. Thomas Harley is currently the only “prospect” to remain with the NHL club, playing in the team’s last four games.
Dallas began a stretch of 53 games in less than four months on Thursday night. They have some gap to make up in the standings but do have games in hand on most of the league. They will take the ice again on Saturday afternoon when they welcome the Pittsburgh Penguins, winners of their last 10 games, to American Airlines Center. They will then travel to St. Louis to take on the Blues on Sunday afternoon in a rare back-to-back of afternoon games.
Sam Nestler is a Dallas Stars contributor for the ‘The Hockey Writers’. Growing up in New Jersey, Sam has been playing hockey since he was 7 years old. Developing a love for writing in college, Sam uses his hockey knowledge to create analyses and articles on every aspect of the game. Sam also hosts his own podcast on Spotify, the “Slapshot Sammy’ podcast, breaking down action across the NHL and NCAA. Check out the podcast here, and give his latest article a read!