Stars Need To Overcome Second-Period Woes

The Dallas Stars seem to have a new glaring issue with each passing month. So far this season, that issue has been second periods. In their first 11 games, Dallas has been outplayed and outscored 16-6 in the middle period. To put it simply, it has cost them games. While it is a long season, this team has already fallen behind in the Central Division standings. They need to figure out how to overcome their second-period woes as soon as possible, or they may just fall too far behind. 

Stars Show Lack of Effort 

The best term to describe the Stars in second periods early in the season is inconsistency. While they have shown moments of excellence within games, they have also shown plenty of disappointment. When watching games, it feels that the team both mentally and physically checks out for periods of time. These lapses have come in all areas of the game but have been especially prominent in the second period. 

“Obviously, we’re all very disappointed. We show glimpses of being good, but we haven’t put together a full game.”

Stars defenseman Ryan Suter 

The best examples of these lapses are the second period on opening night against the New York Rangers and the second period in the last game against the Vancouver Canucks. New York was able to erase a 2-0 deficit by outshooting Dallas 18-8 in the middle frame, while Vancouver rattled off four goals in the period to flip the game completely. Both of these poor periods set the Stars up for failure, something they have seen far too many times this season. In fact, Dallas ranks 32nd in the NHL in both games in which they led after two periods (one) and regulation wins (zero). Add to that, this team has only led for 14 percent of the total time played, and you can see why they have struggled to pick up points. 

A perfect example of how the second period has gone for the Dallas Stars (from shootout loss to Winnipeg Jets on 11/2/21)

The Stars know that they are still growing. They entered the season with a lot of moving pieces, so it was going to take a little time for things to click. However, they also know that they need to find a way to avoid these mid-game lapses at all costs and put together a more complete game as soon as possible. 

“It’s disappointing for us, obviously. We need to stay within our game for longer times. We know we’re not going to play perfect for 60 minutes, but we need to find ways to control the momentum better and be better for 60 minutes overall.”

Stars defenseman John Klingberg 
John Klingberg-Stars Need To Overcome Second Period Woes
John Klingberg (Photo by Andrew Dieb/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Stars head coach Rick Bowness has shown confidence that his team is inching closer to their overall game. While they have some holes that need fixing, they’ve narrowed down the issues, making them easier to address.

“We’ll take a closer look, and we’ll have to address this Tuesday morning when we go back to the rink. We’re going to have to fix the penalty kill, we’re going to have to fix the discipline, we’re going to have to fix the consistency with which we play the game.”

Stars head coach Rick Bowness

Could Some Home Cooking Be The Fix For Stars?

Dallas recently finished a stretch that saw them play eight of their first 11 games on the road. Currently holding a 4-5-2 record, the Stars hope to use a home-heavy November to turn things around. 

“Going home, we need to make sure we’re ready to go and start putting some full games together. We have the skill on the team, the goalies are great, guys are starting to score now, guys are starting to skate well. We’re close, we’ve just got to put it together now.

Stars defenseman Ryan Suter

There are plenty of positives to take away from the first month or so of the season. While Dallas played inconsistent hockey, they kept themselves afloat, finding ways to win a few games. Other positives include the top players seeming to find their game after struggling early, Roope Hintz looking on the verge of a breakout season once he finds the back of the net for the first time, and Braden Holtby showing that he can still play at an elite level, solidifying the Stars’ net. If they can fix the second-period issues that face them and find a way to enter the third with a lead more often, things should start trending in the right direction. 

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