Though the dynamic duo of Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin has carried the Dallas Stars offensively for most of the season, more support was needed for the team’s bigger goals. The Stars needed more production from the rest of the team if they had any hope at making the playoffs and a possible run in the postseason.
Finally, depth scoring has returned for the Stars. In fact, it has come back in a big way and it is no coincidence that the Stars find themselves in a playoff spot right now because of it. Over the past three games, the formula has been flipped. Benn and Seguin’s production have slowed down, but the other three lines have stepped up.
Depth Scoring a Pleasant Surprise
The Stars currently ride a three-game winning streak that saw them leapfrog the Phoenix Coyotes and threaten the Minnesota Wild in the Western Conference standings. In those three games, the Stars have scored 16 goals from 10 different forwards, but Benn and Seguin have combined for only one goal and three assists. Four points in three games does not sound bad, and really it is not, but it is a world of difference compared to their previous pace. In the five games prior to their winning streak, the duo combined for five goals and five assists.
Throughout the season, whether the Stars won or lost, Benn and Seguin led the charge most nights and found a way to consistently produce. However, some of Dallas’ biggest wins and streaks of the season have come to be thanks in part to continued production from Benn and Seguin as well as increased production from the rest of the lineup.
Second Scoring to the Rescue
In the past three games, all three lines besides the first have stepped up their production. Dallas’ top line of Benn, Seguin and Valeri Nichushkin registered five points, but the other three lines have tallied nine points each. The second line of Antoine Roussel, Cody Eakin and Ryan Garbutt combined for five goals and four assists. The third and fourth lines mirrored each other with four goals and five assists during the winning streak.
With tonight’s goal, Ryan Garbutt is now tied with Cody Eakin & Erik Cole for 3rd on the Stars in goal scoring with 16.
— Josh Bogorad (@JoshBogorad) April 2, 2014
Dallas’ second, third and fourth lines each took turns taking over the past three games for the Stars. In a 7-3 win over the visiting Nashville Predators on March 28, the second line registered two goals and three assists. On the following night, the Stars flew to St. Louis and handed the Western Conference-leading Blues a 4-2 loss behind a five point night from the third line of Shawn Horcoff, Vernon Fiddler and Colton Sceviour. The fourth line of Ray Whitney, Dustin Jeffrey and Alex Chiasson took over Dallas’ 5-0 win at the Washington Capitals Tuesday night. They trio combined for three goals and four assists.
Three straight games of at least five points from a supporting line is what teams dream of early on in a season, let alone in a playoff push in the final weeks of a season. The Stars are halfway through a five game road trip, four of which are against Eastern Conference opponents. They have struggled to a 12-14-2 record against the East this season, but if the depth scoring continues, the Stars have a strong chance to not only have a successful road trip but also break their five year playoff drought.