If the Dallas Stars can somehow solve the Vancouver Canucks (12-1-2 in their last 15 games) on New Years Eve they'd finish December a marvelous 9-4-3 (.656) and reach 50 points in only 39 games, putting them in great position to start the new year.
If they lose, they'll have finished the month with four losses in five games and will have lost as many games as they won in December. Their .593 points percentage in December would be their worst month of the year so far and fortunes would be pointing in a decidedly downward direction.
Or would they? We can write it either way, emotional fans as we are.
The fact of the matter is that the Western Conference standings and the tightness of the playoff race is adding an element of intensity to the regular season that we've never seen before. Not in November and December. The games are taking on an almost playoff-like quality in that when the Stars win we feel that all is right with the world and when they lose it feels like they're never going to win again.
When they lose three in a row at home where they had been invincible up until this point, including a soul crushing 7-3 loss to the Red Wings last night, that feeling is intensified a bit. I can tell because traffic on the site fell off the chart the instant the game was over. Fans turned it off and tuned out all mediums of communication immediately.
Slumps are part of the process this year for every team.
- Before their current streak the Wings lost four of six.
- The Preds went 8-0-2 and then lost five straight.
- The Blues have won four in a row now but lost four of five before that.
- The Avs are in a three game skid right now after winning six straight.
And the Stars have lost three of four, possibly four of five depending on what the Canucks have to say on Friday. Dallas has avoided lengthy bad stretches this year, which is why they've been as high up in the standings as they have been. The last time they lost three of four they got a big win in San Jose. Each time they've lost three in a row this year they've followed it up with two straight wins.
They've avoided prolonged slumps this year and Friday is another chance to keep that trend going.