In this Tuesday edition of Stars’ News & Rumors, second periods are killing the Stars, Miro Heiskanen and Thomas Harley pair up, and more!
There’s a New Demon in Town for the Stars
The Dallas Stars have a new demon this season, second periods. After overtime and shootouts crushed their chances of a playoff spot last season, they found a way to fix that issue, seemingly replacing it with another. Through the first 11 games, the Stars have been outshot 134-100 and outscored 16-6 in the middle frame.
While inconsistency has been a problem all over the ice early in the season, Dallas has been consistently outplayed in second periods. Two prime examples include the 18-8 shot differential on opening night in New York that allowed the Rangers to erase a 2-0 deficit as well as the four-goal barrage by the Vancouver Canucks in the most recent game on Sunday night.
“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
These issues are costing the team wins as Dallas remains the only team in the NHL without a regulation win this season. This clearly arises from the struggles in the second period as they set them up for failure in the third.
“That’s not good. It’s crazy to think that. So that’s on each and every one of us. We’ve got to find a way to be better. We’ve got to win a 1-0 game, a 2-0 game, we need that mentality. We’ve got to be a little more patient. For whatever reason, there are nights when you’re trying to do too much. We need to really settle back into our team game and work out of this together.”– Stars forward Joe Pavelski
What makes this even more bizarre is that Dallas has been successful in second periods in the recent past. Over the past few years, Stars fans have seen many impressive second periods, usually leading to a lopsided win. Last season, they held a plus-121 shots advantage in the middle frame, outscoring their opponents overall. Whatever the reasoning behind these struggles, the Stars need to figure it out and solve it fast. Right now, it is costing them crucial points in the standings.
Heiskanen & Harley Defensive Pairing
While Ryan Suter and John Klingberg continue to develop their partnership, a new exciting duo has been rolled out in the Stars’ most recent games. Thomas Harley has played in three straight games since being called up to the NHL last week and earned himself a spot on the second pairing next to superstar Miro Heiskanen. Both players share a similar style of hockey and the pairing has meshed well for large portions of the game.
“The plan is real easy. Give him (Heiskanen) the puck, get out the way. In all seriousness, it is really easy. You know he is always in the right spot, he’s always open for support. All I gotta do is stay in pretty decent position defensively and it kinda works itself out.”– Stars defenseman Thomas Harley
While Harley has not yet registered his first NHL point, he has played a solid overall game, averaging nearly 15 minutes of ice time. He owns a plus-2 rating and has avoided making the big mistakes that have shown up in the past. While it is known that he will be a big player for the Stars’ future, he continues to show that he may be ahead of schedule, a welcomed sight for the organization.
Stars Prospect Logan Stankoven Is Lighting up the Western Hockey League
While the Stars have struggled to score goals this season, young prospect Logan Stankoven has not. In 12 games in the Western Hockey League, Stankoven has racked up nine goals and 10 assists.
At 5-foot-8, Stankoven plays a tough grinding style of hockey. Comparing himself to longtime Montreal Canadien Brendan Gallagher, he believes his effort and hustle allow him to play against anyone. The 2021 second-round draft pick is still very early in his development but is showing the Stars exactly what he is capable of.
The Stars wrapped up their three-game road trip Sunday night with a 6-3 loss to the Vancouver Canucks. The loss moves their record to a mediocre 4-5-2 as they head into a home-heavy November schedule. With seven of the nine games coming at American Airlines Center, perhaps now is the time for them to turn this thing around.
Sam Nestler is a credentialed Dallas Stars contributor for the ‘The Hockey Writers’. Growing up in New Jersey, Sam has been playing hockey since he was 7 years old. Developing a love for writing in college, Sam uses his hockey knowledge to create analyses and articles on every aspect of the game. Sam also hosts his own podcast on Spotify, the “Slapshot Sammy’ podcast, breaking down action across the Stars, the NHL, and college hockey. Check out the podcast here, and give his latest article a read!