To put it simply, the Dallas Stars are struggling. They’re currently last in the Discover Central Division and haven’t won two consecutive games since late January. With the schedule ahead of them, if they don’t fix this (and soon), they’re going to have a very tough time securing a playoff spot.
Special Teams Has Gone Cold
The team started this season with a red-hot power play led by Joe Pavelski and a strong penalty kill to accompany it. Since then, both have gone cold. In their past four games, the Stars have scored just one power-play goal through 17 opportunities. In Saturday night’s game, against the reigning Stanley Cup Champions, the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Stars power play was zero for eight. In the 0-6 loss, an effective Stars power play could have made all the difference.
Not only have they not been producing on the power play, but they’ve also given up two shorthanded goals this season, one coming during Saturday night’s game. The Stars’ power-play percentage is an abysmal 24.6%. Compared to the 52.6% they posted at the beginning of the season, it’s clear to see something has gone terribly wrong with the team’s power-play production, and it’s causing the team major problems.
To make matters worse, their penalty kill, which was one of the key parts of Dallas’ success in the early goings of the season, has also been unsatisfactory. It’s gone from being one of the best in the league to average. Without strong special teams, Dallas will continue to struggle, and it will only get worse.
Unable to Close Out Games
The Stars have had plenty of chances to close out games and string together a few wins. However, they’ve been unable to do so. Whether the offense isn’t able to generate enough scoring chances or the defense has a breakdown midway through the game, the team has had trouble closing out games.
Most recently, on Thursday, the Stars had a gut-wrenching loss against the Florida Panthers. Dallas played well and were up two goals up until about 10 minutes into the third period. In the final 10 minutes of the game, the team crumbled and gave up three goals, and lost the game. It’s games like that, that have the most adverse effect on the Stars. It stops any momentum the team had and affects all aspects of their game.
Stars New Schedule Could Cause Even More Problems
The league has had to make many changes to the Stars’ schedule due to the postponements in their season. Due to the changes, Dallas has a very challenging schedule ahead of them. The team will have nine back-to-back games in their final 40 games and will face the Tampa Bay Lightning seven times, the Panthers seven times, and the Carolina Hurricanes four times. All three teams have given the Stars a hard time in the games they’ve played already.
The Stars will need to get back to their top game if they want to survive their crazy schedule.
The Stars Need to Figure Things Out and Soon
Throughout the whole season, both on and off the ice, it seems every time the Stars fix one problem another arises. For example, when the team was finally able to begin their season after having to postpone due to COVID-19 cases, not too long after they had to postpone again, due to a winter storm sweeping Texas. Those same types of problems have translated over to the ice.
The Stars are running out of time to find whatever it was that made their playoff run so successful last year. If they want a chance to get back there again, they better figure it out, and soon.
Hi everyone, my name’s Maddie Manfredi! I’ve previously covered the Boston Bruins and I’m excited to start a new chapter covering the Stars! I love writing and sports and I am excited to share my two passions with the world!