So far, the Dallas Stars 2017-18 season has had a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde kind of feel to it. At home, the Stars have been great, while on the road they transform into a disturbingly bad team. We can only hope the Stars season has a happier ending than the fictional literary classic by Robert Louis Stevenson.
The Stars, led by captain Jame Benn, are tied for first in the National Hockey League with nine home wins but are also tied for last in road wins with just three. Combined, the results lead to a 12-10-1 record good for 25 points or right on the bubble of a playoff spot.
Changing the Stars Luck on the Road
What can the Stars do to make the road feel like home? Maybe pack some Texas brisket from Hard Eight BBQ for their upcoming games in Las Vegas (Tuesday) and Chicago (Thursday)? Or perhaps visit Wild Bill’s Western Store to pick up some extra Cowboy boots for Sin City and the Windy City? How about a road trip for Victor E. Green?
No, that won’t be necessary. The Stars just need to bring the work ethic, energy and smarts they have played with at home, on the road with them.
On the road, the Stars have averaged 2.17 goals per game and 3.83 goals against per game. Meanwhile, at home, the Stars have averaged 3.73 goals per game and just 2.00 goals against per game. Surprisingly, their shots for and shots against are relatively flat. At home, they are 31.9 shots for and 28.3 shots against and on the road, the Stars have 30.9 shots for and 30.3 shots against.
Stars Players Struggling on the Road
Ben Bishop’s goaltending numbers on the road have been particularly weak. He has two wins and six losses in nine road appearances this season. His goals-against average is 4.04, and his save percentage is a meager .872. As you might expect, throughout his career, Bishop’s numbers have been much better at home than on the road. However, his career save percentage on the road is still a more-than-respectable .915.
Two players the Stars are counting heavily on for secondary scoring are Jason Spezza and Devin Shore. Both have had incredibly slow starts home and away this year, but are showing signs of busting out. Spezza has two goals in his last four games, and Shore, a former University of Maine standout, has two goals and two assists over that span as well. Recently, coach Ken Hitchcock has paired the duo with Tyler Seguin. If this line continues to play well, it will take some of the scoring pressure off Benn’s line and give the Stars better balance.
On the road, Spezza has no goals and five assists in 12 games. He only has two even strength assists. Over the course of his career, Spezza has averaged nearly a point per game on the road with 430 points in 473 career road games.
Shore has no goals and four assists in 12 road games and a plus/minus rating of minus-12.
Additionally, Brett Ritchie and Radek Faksa have just two points each on the road. Also, Tyler Pitlick has only one assist in 12 road games. Lastly, Martin Hanzal has just one assist in nine road games.
The Stars need all of these players to find the right road serum soon or they might find themselves Hyde-ing out of another postseason.