In today’s edition of Stars News & Rumors, Dallas earns its first regulation win, Riley Tufte makes his NHL debut, & an update on the goaltenders.
Stars Earn First Regulation Win
Dallas entered Saturday’s game against the Philadelphia Flyers as the only team in the league yet to record a regulation win. However, after multiple changes within the dressing room, that stat was erased as the Stars raced to a 5-2 victory at American Airlines Center. Anton Khudobin stopped all 19 shots he faced in the first period, and Dallas controlled play for the final 40 minutes for their first multi-goal victory all season. Roope Hintz scored his second goal in two games, while Joe Pavelski, Luke Glendening, Tyler Seguin, and Radek Faksa also added to the scoresheet. With the win, Dallas can finally pull the monkey off their back and move forward.
“It feels good to win. It feels really good. It was a game that challenged us again early. I got off to a bad start taking a couple of penalties and putting the guys in a tough spot, but the killers did a tremendous job. We get the lead, and Dobby was awesome in the first [period]. It was good, and it allowed us to get our game going a little bit better.”– Stars forward Joe Pavelski
While Dallas was outshot 19-7 in the first period, this was clearly the most complete game they have played all season. They scored five goals for the first time, recorded another power-play goal, controlled the faceoff dot, received excellent goaltending, and were in full control for much of the contest. For a team searching for consistency, it was a huge step in the right direction.
“We got a lot of good efforts on all four lines and the defense,” said Stars head coach Rick Bowness. “It was well-balanced tonight.”
Riley Tufte Makes NHL Debut
Among the many changes for Dallas ahead of Saturday’s game was the recall of Riley Tufte. The 23-year-old forward was streaking in the American Hockey League, tallying seven points in the first 10 games for the Texas Stars. On Friday, he received the call he has been waiting for, getting his first chance to play at the highest level. At 6-foot-6, Tufte brings a blend of size, physicality, speed, confidence, and offensive skill that Dallas desperately needs right now.
“I think the biggest thing for me was coming in with a good mindset and having a confident mindset. I think that played a big role in why I’m here today. You kind of have to walk around with a little swagger if you want to be up here. I was down there, I played well, and I deserve a chance up here.”– Stars forward Riley Tufte
Unfortunately, Tufte recorded just 4:25 of ice time on Saturday due to the seven penalties throughout the game. While his linemates Glendening and Faksa killed penalties, he was forced to watch both sides of special teams as Bowness struggled to get him back into the mix.
“I had no issues with Riley whatsoever, but because of the penalties and the timing of the penalties, and again, Luke and Radek were there on the penalty kill, so I just couldn’t get that line into a regular rotation of the flow of the game,” Bowness said.
Bowness hopes that fewer penalties will allow Tufte to get more ice time moving forward.
Holtby Injured, Oettinger Recalled
As the changes continued at the end of last week, Bowness shared that goaltender Braden Holtby was dealing with a minor lower-body injury. Because of this, Dallas recalled Jake Oettinger from the AHL. Oettinger impressed in 29 NHL games last season but has yet to make his debut this in 2021-22. After a hot start to his AHL season, he holds a 2.62 goals-against average and a .913 save percentage through 10 games. The timeline for Holtby is unknown, and Khudobin played well on Friday, but the Stars have full confidence in Oettinger if he needs to step in.
With the regulation win on Saturday, the Stars move to 5-6-2 on the young season. They will have enjoyed yet another two-day break before facing off against the Detroit Red Wings tonight. The rest of the week features a one-game trip to Minnesota to take on the Wild and another Saturday night home game against the St. Louis Blues. While their recent win was not the solution to all of their problems, it was a nice step and something they can certainly build on.
Sam Nestler is a 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 NHL and NCAA. Check out the podcast here, and give his latest article a read!