FanPost

Miles's Thoughts and The Road Ahead

This team is a roller coaster. They have great games (like last nights game vs. Vancouver) then they have real stinkers (like a couple nights ago against Colorado). Dallas can play a quick striking style, and it can play a slow grinding, trudging style too. It all depends on how Lindy Ruff has game planned for the opposing team.

The Question everyone asks: Is this team a playoff team?

The numbers right now say no. If the playoffs were to start right now, the Chicago Blackhawks, St. Louis Blues, and Colorado Avalanche and Minnesota Wild would be the four teams to make the playoffs from the Central. The Anaheim Ducks, Los Angeles Kings, San Jose Sharks, Vancouver Canucks would all be in from the Pacific.

The numbers also say no if you take every team’s current points and add their current point percentage to their remaining games. In this scenario all of the above teams are in, except Minnesota is replaced by Phoenix.

In both of these scenarios Dallas is 10th in the west out of 14 teams. A big reason why Dallas is as far down the totem pole is due to their record against central division teams. Dallas is sporting a 6-3-1 (65% of points) record against the eastern conference, a 7-2-1 (75% of points) record against the pacific division and a 4-7-3 (39% of points) record against the central.

Dallas is also 7-4-4 (60% of points) in 15 games at home and 10-8-1 (55% of points) in 19 games on the road.

The numbers have put the Stars in about the same position as one would expect going into this season, good enough to stay relevant, but not good enough to get into the playoffs.

But…Is it reasonable to think the point production will improve?

The numbers say yes in terms of eastern conference records. It has been well documented the domination of the east by the west this year. The stars (as noted above) sport a 6-3-1 record against the east. In fact, there are only (2) west teams out of (14) that have a losing record against the east (Nashville 7-8-1, and Edmonton 7-11-1). Every team in the west plays every team in the east twice, meaning every team in the west has 32 games scheduled against the (16) east teams. Here is a breakdown of the teams in the west, their records against the east and their remaining games against:

Team

Record vs. East

Total Games Played vs. East

% Points

Remaining Games vs. East

Chicago Blackhawks

9-1-2

12

83%

20

St. Louis Blues

12-2-1

15

83%

17

Colorado Avalanche

8-3-0

11

73%

21

Minnesota Wild

9-5-2

16

63%

16

Dallas Stars

6-3-1

10

65%

22

Nashville Predators

7-8-1

16

47%

16

Winnipeg Jets

9-4-1

14

68%

18

Anaheim Ducks

11-5-3

19

66%

13

Los Angeles Kings

12-2-2

16

81%

16

San Jose Sharks

8-3-2

13

69%

19

Vancouver Canucks

12-4-2

18

72%

14

Phoenix Coyotes

8-3-2

13

69%

19

Calgary Flames

7-4-4

15

60%

17

Edmonton Oilers

7-11-1

19

39%

13

Dallas has the most games remaining against the East with 22, meaning there are still 44 potential points on the table up for grabs. If Dallas keeps its current points record vs. the east, Dallas would gain an additional 29 points, making 42 out of 64 points against the eastern conference (66% of points).

Assuming the cutoff to get into the playoffs is 100 (which is what it would be right now in the west) and assuming the above scenario against the east is true, all Dallas needs in the other 50 games against the western conference is 58 points, or 32 points in its last 26 games against the west (62% of points). Dallas currently has achieved 26 points in 24 games (54% of points).

So…from a point production standpoint, the potential to gain a significant amount of ground is there. From Dallas’s still bloated number of eastern conference teams to deal with, to its home vs. road ratio for the rest of the year (26 home games remaining to 22 road games remaining), Dallas still controls its own destiny in many aspects.

So what is ahead for this Stars team?

There are only (5) more games this year! And imagine Dallas’s fortune, none of them against Chicago! Ye Gods!

The next (5) see the LA Kings two times, the San Jose Sharks, the St. Louis Blues and the Nashville Predators. Yep, that is (4) games against playoff positioned teams and (1) game against a hard skating, scrappy Nashville team. If Dallas can pull (5) points out of these games, I’ll be ecstatic.

In January there are then (15) games, (10) home games and (5) road games. (10) of the games are against the east and (5) against the west. There is (2) back to backs in this month, the 9th-10th, against the NJ Devils (road) and the NY Rangers (road) and the 20th-21st, against the Nashville Predators (road) and the Minnesota Wild (home).

The schedule sees the Stars take (2) road trips all month, a (3) game swing through the New York / New Jersey states to face the NY Islanders (1/6/14), NJ Devils (1/9/14), NY Rangers (1/10/14) and a (2) game swing to visit the Minnesota Wild (1/18/14) and the Nashville Predators (1/20/14).

All the other dates are home dates and the Stars open January on the tail end of a 5 game home stand. They end the month in identical fashion, on the tail end of a 5 game home stand.

As noted above, the goals are 65% of points against east opponents and 62% against West opponents.

That means Dallas should shoot for (6) points out of (10) potential points from the Edmonton Oilers (home), the Colorado Avalanche (home), the Nashville Predators (road) and the Minnesota Wild twice (road/home).

It also means Dallas should shoot for (20) points out of (30) potential points from the Montreal Canadians (home), Detroit Red Wings (Home), NY Islanders twice (road/home), NJ Devils twice (road/home), NY Rangers (road), Boston Bruins (home), Toronto Maple Leafs (home) and the Pittsburgh Penguins (home).

There is still a very long way to go, but the Stars, despite their injuries and their inconsistent play, have found themselves in striking distance of a playoff spot. January looks like a month that the Stars need to own, due to their home heavy slate and their eastern conference opponents. If Dallas pulls (26) points out of (40), they will be right on track for finding mid-April skating meaningful again.

This is a user-created FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of SB Nation or Defending Big D. FanPost opinions are valued expressions of opinion by passionate and knowledgeable hockey and Dallas Stars fans.

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