In a recent DBD poll most of you (70%) predicted that the Stars would in fact make the playoffs, mostly by the skin of their teeth in the 7th or 8th seeds. We had no evidence to support those theories at the time.
Now we have two entire games on which to base opinion; Two entire games that were polar opposites of each other. In the first the Stars were punched in the mouth by seemingly superior offensive force to start things off. The Kovalchuk line demanded respect and special attention every time it hit the ice on Friday. Being on the road, the Stars were nearly helpless to matchup against the line the way they wanted to but still pulled a positive result out of Newark.
On Saturday the tables were turned and the Stars were clearly the more talented team that jumped out to a lead. 2-0 became 3-1, 3-2 and eventually 4-4 but Dallas had just enough gasping breath left to victimize the Isles in the shootout and earn consecutive road victories.
Do you know how many times the Stars won consecutive road games last season?
October 17th (@ Chicago), October 21st (@Ducks).
February 11th (@Calgary), February 13th (@Phoenix).
That's it. Twice. They've already managed it this year with their only two games of the season which just so happened to be a trip to the north east/sojourn through New York City.
The dichotomy of the first two games doesn't stop there. In game #1 the Stars had to kill just one penalty (unsuccessfully) and in game two had to face EIGHT! power plays against, stopping only five. Meaning Dallas, after all our talk about the improved PP in the pre-season, has killed only five of nine opportunities against. (55.5%)
Clearly that's not going to work. Dallas was the unlucky recipient of a couple of well-screened goals from the Islanders in addition to one very unfortunate carom off of Karlis Skrastins that fooled Kari Lehtonen as it was headed in. These mistakes are impossible to hang on Kari's shoulders. He and the Stars will be looking for better results on Thursday against the Red Wings and their sniper, Mike Modano ;) Also, they'll be looking for less blatant diving that seemed to have been all the rage in Uniondale tonight.
The young Islanders managed to out-shoot Dallas 47-22. Through two games the Stars have been out-shot by 27, and yet found a way to pull ALL points of each. If the Stars can continue to play scrappy hockey, score goals and rely on Kari Lehtonen to bail them out from time to time... Can this team really be a playoff contender?