Dallas Stars Open Pacific Division Play This Week

The Dallas Stars' 5-2-0 start is one of the most surprising stories in this young NHL season. This team in financial peril that has missed the playoffs for the last two seasons was not expected to make a splash, but early returns are hard to deny. Even their 1-0 loss to the Predators (who are apparently the best team in the conference?) on Saturday night showcased the team's much improved goal tending and frequent, dangerous scoring chances, though they didn't connect on several near-goals that night.

Yet with 9 points through 7 games last year and 10 points through 7 games this year, how different is this start really from last season?

The art of blogging is such that the requisite strategy is to take a very small amount of data or information and then run several in-depth pieces about it so you can collect some page views and generate some discussion. C'est la vie. So with a tiny seven games in the books let's take a look at how the Stars stacked up at this time last year against the rest of the Pacific Division, early thought it is and meaningless as it may be...

2010-2011 Season:

Team GP Wins Losses OTL Points Points %
Kings 7 5 2 0 10 .714
Stars 7 5 2 0 10 .714
Coyotes 6 2 2 2 6 .500
Sharks 7 3 3 1 7 .500
Ducks 9 3 5 1 7 .389

 

2009-2010 Season: Pacific Division through same # of games (for each team respectively):

Team
GP
Wins
Losses
OTL
Points
Points %
Kings
7
4
3
0
8
.571
Stars
7
3
1
3
9
.643
Coyotes
6
4
2
0
8
.667
Sharks
7
3
3
1
7
.500
Ducks
9
3
5
1
7
.389


Have you been thinking that the Sharks are off to a mediocre start this year and that it signifies some problems in the bay area? Surprise. They were 3-3-1 last season too and we know where they ended up at the end of the regular season.

The Ducks, coincidentally were also at an identical 3-5-1 last season. Different issues and different seasons, perhaps, but right now in the early going it looks like history repeating itself there is likely.

The Coyotes were off to an only slightly better start last season. They had not yet started to assert their Tippett-Bryzgalov dominance upon the conference yet and a similar result should not be ruled out this season as long as Ilya is minding the Phoenix net.

But for a bounce here or there, the Kings had a similar start last season. The same can be said for the Stars and yet don't you feel 100 times better about this season than last season? Does winning a couple of OT/Shootout games make that big of a difference?

Consider also that the Stars had allowed 14 goals in their first seven games last season. They've allowed 17 this year. So what's the big difference this year? Why, at 5-2-0 does a Stars fan feel so much better than 3-1-3? Aside from the obvious (losing is no fun) I submit to you that it's 95% related directly to Kari Lehtonen.

I can't what to see what Kari makes of the Pacific division, starting against the Ducks tomorrow night.

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