Stars’ News & Rumors: Robertson, Pavelski, & more

In this edition of Stars’ News & Rumors, Jason Robertson returns from injury in style, Joe Pavelski is the lone Stars’ All-Star, and more!

Robertson Returns In Style

Jason Robertson missed two games with a lower-body injury, his first absence since early in the season. Although he was a game-time decision heading into Buffalo on Thursday [Jan. 20], he did not play like one. 

After Dallas fell behind 2-0, Robertson tallied a power-play goal when he pulled a loose puck out of his skates and ripped it under the bar to get his team on the board. 

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As the game went along, the youngster only got better. With his team on the power play in the second period, he made a perfect pass through the defense to find Roope Hintz for a backdoor tap-in. The goal came just minutes after Buffalo restored its two-goal lead. It seemed that each time his team needed it, Robertson made a big play. 

“I mean, he’s got a great shot,” Tyler Seguin said. “Obviously, he knows how to score goals and be offensive. He played a great game and we need that out of him.”

His biggest play, however, came with the game tied late in the third period. Only a few minutes after Tyler Seguin tied the game on the power play, Robertson converted again, batting a puck out of mid-air for his second goal of the night and the eventual game-winner. The goal and the game were a display of the skill and perseverance of the 21-year-old forward, who is only in his second NHL season. 

“For a guy that’s really in his second year in the league, he has tremendous poise and confidence with the puck,” Rick Bowness said.

With three points against Buffalo, Robertson is now second on the team with 35 points (15G, 20A), and in goals, trailing only his linemates Joe Pavelski and Roope Hintz in that category.

 Pavelski Is Going To Vegas

As the NHL All-Star team rosters were rolled out, Joe Pavelski saw his name among the Central Division’s best. This will be the fourth time the 37-year-old forward has attended the All-Star game, and he is looking forward to it once again.

“I’ve been to three of them and I’ve enjoyed each and every one,” Pavelski said. “It’s a fun weekend. It’s the whole experience sharing it with friends and family and going there and enjoying your time.”

Joe Pavelski Dallas Stars-Stars' News & Rumors: Robertson, Pavelski, & more
Joe Pavelski, Dallas Stars (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Pavelski currently leads the Stars with 40 points (16G, 24A) and is recently coming off his first career five-point night against the Seattle Kraken last Wednesday [Jan. 12]. Along with teammates Roope Hintz and Jason Robertson, his line has been the Stars best all season and one of the hottest in the entire league. 

“It’s his ability to sniff out loose pucks, his ability to get out into the open,” Stars coach Rick Bowness said. “His anticipation of where that puck is going. Great poise around the net. Goal scorers know where to put the puck. You can put other guys in those situations and they’re not going to have the natural instinct in order to put the puck past the goalie.”

The success for Pavelski has not come by accident. The veteran is one of the hardest-working players in the league, proven by his constant preparation on and off the ice. Before every morning skate and practice in Dallas, Pavelski is the first player out on the ice, working on skills around the net, where he does most of his damage within the game. 

That, along with his focus on proper fitness level and diet, has kept him among the most elite players in the NHL throughout his 16-year career. The best part for him and the Stars, he shows no signs of slowing down.

Stars Penalty Kill Struggles Continue 

Among the recent struggles for the Stars, the penalty kill has been the most apparent. Normally a top unit in the league, the Dallas penalty kill has now allowed goals in 10 of their last 11 games. Their success rate has dropped to 77%, ranking them 24th in the NHL. 

Related: Stars Look For Change Of Fate On Upcoming Road Trip

“That was a good play they made tonight,” Bowness said after the loss to Montreal. “Our penalty killers were doing a great job. They got one opportunity and they buried it. Give them credit for that play tonight. We have had some bad breaks on our penalty kill late in penalties, but we will stay with it. The penalty killing I think has been more effective than the results we’re getting.”

Dallas, as a team, has not been very sound defensively overall. They are allowing 3.08 goals per game and have struggled to eliminate the costly mistakes. If this team wants to make the playoffs, their team defense at even strength and shorthanded, normally their biggest strengths, needs to be fixed immediately. 

The Stars continue their current four-game road trip tonight [Jan. 21] against the Detroit Red Wings. The game will be the first of two back-to-back sets on this trip as they will face the Philadelphia Flyers and New Jersey Devils on Monday and Tuesday of next week. So far, so good on the trip as Dallas is 1-0-0 with the win against Buffalo.

“Especially after the home loss to Montreal, we needed this one and we got it,” Bowness said. “We had to stop that slide on the road. We knew going into this road trip that if we have a successful road trip, it turns our season right around.”