After having to postpone four games due to the winter storm sweeping Texas, the Dallas Stars traveled to Florida to start their three-game series against the Panthers. Sadly, in the first game of the series, they were unable to record a win as it seemed the days off were affecting their play.
However, after a long six-game losing streak, the Stars are finally back in the win column for the first time since Feb. 2.
Anton Khudobin Puts on a Clinic in Net
Stars goaltender Anton Khudobin was by far the best player on the ice in Wednesday’s game. He earned the shutout, stopping all 43 shots he faced in the Stars win. He was locked in from the moment he stepped on the ice and made plenty of big-time saves.
He survived an intense second period where he somehow was able to keep the talented Panthers team scoreless and help maintain the Stars lead. Even though the Stars were thoroughly outshot, he showed up for the team and led them to the win. His play was a continuation of a strong game against Florida on Monday, where he stopped 49 of 51 shots. Through the series so far, Khudobin has stopped an astounding 92 of 94 shots faced and has been handling a large number of shots almost flawlessly.
It’s so crucial for the Stars to have such great goaltending against a team like Florida, especially when they were missing some of their top offensive players like Roope Hintz, Tyler Seguin, and Alexander Radulov. Thankfully, the Stars were able to support him on the other side of the ice by getting some offense going.
Stars Defense Shines Offensively With Special Teams in Support
The Stars’ defensemen (ironically) led the charge offensively this game. John Klingberg opened the scoring on a beautiful shot just 53 seconds into the game. The Stars were then scoreless until the third period when Esa Lindell buried the second of the three goals scored off of a terrific setup by Radek Faksa.
With the schedule the team will be facing for the remainder of the season, they’re going to need all the offense they can get. So, if the team’s defensemen can continue to produce offensive chances, that would not only add some major depth to the Stars’ offense, but it would make the life of the netminders much easier. I know I sound like a broken record talking about how the Stars are missing key players, but that offensive depth would also come in handy with some of their core offensive players out.
The Stars’ special teams, specifically the penalty kill, also had a strong game. Dallas’ penalty kill was able to kill off all four of the penalties they faced, one coming in the last six minutes of the third period where a great effort from the penalty killers helped preserve Khudobin’s shutout. The penalty killers had a much cleaner game this time around and should look to continue that from now on.
Could Be the Restart the Team Needs
The Stars’ season was looking pretty disappointing with their losing skid that spanned over three weeks due to the postponements. However, if this type of play continues, this could be the restart the team needs. One of the most frustrating aspects of the team’s losing streak was that they couldn’t seem to win close games. In a shortened season, teams can’t afford to leave any points on the table. During their losing skid, three of the six losses came during overtime or shootout. They were unable to finish out close games which had head coach Rick Bowness losing patience with his team. Wednesday’s game was promising in that department, as they were not only able to get on the board first, they were able to extend that lead and close out the game.
The Stars have a tough schedule ahead of them that will test the team greatly. The Stars’ final 43 games will happen over the snap of 76 days, with ten back-to-back games. Also, the team will only have one span of games where they have two games of rest between. This is all subject to change, of course, depending on if the Stars will have to postpone any more games.
Hopefully, the Stars can build upon their win, and get a winning streak going while they’re on the road, and be able to weather the storm of their challenging schedule.
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!