The Stars are enjoying a three-game win streak, and it's no coincidence that Jamie Benn has six points in those contests. The effort did not go without league-wide notice as he's been named the NHL's second star of the week.
Glen Gulutzan knows this is just par for the Stars' course this year if they want to scratch their way into the playoffs, telling media Monday - "It took a few games for him to get into game shape. It's not easy when you've been off for that long. He's up and running and we need him to run hot and heavy here for the next two or three months to get where we need to be."
The Dallas Stars are off to Edmonton after an early practice Monday morning in Frisco. There wasn't much in the way of news out of this one, and that's a good thing as stability appears to be producing results and metrics headed in the right direction.
Kari Lehtonen will start in goal on Tuesday in Edmonton, so the question becomes, depending on what transpires against the speedy Oilers, who will go in Calgary on Wednesday? Placing backup netminders in less-than-favorable situations on the road on the second night of back-to-backs is, so the popular narrative goes, the way Dallas got themselves into this slide on the second night of these sets.
Will they risk Kari Lehtonen again, knowing they'll need him in top, top form on Friday night in Vancouver? Or is Calgary such a mess that Richard Bachman gets the Calgary assignment with confidence? We'll see.
Coming up this week...
Tuesday, 2/12: @Edmonton
Dallas saw the danger of Edmonton just five days ago at Rexall. The speed of the Oiler forwards, the subsequent penalties they draw, and the lethal power play unit that follows is a recipe for success, led by Taylor Hall, who seemingly never left the ice. The Stars survived them into overtime last Thursday before Jagr won it on a sensational individual effort, but can the Stars stay out of the box this time and control the play, lest the speed and skill of the Oil break it wide open?
Wednesday, 2/13: @Calgary
Calgary plays their 10th game of the year tonight, where Dallas has played 12 already. The Flames are low in the standings, but perhaps gaining in confidence as they earned points in three of their last four before a loss in Vancouver, which is inevitable these days. They'll likely get Miikka Kiprusoff back for this one.
They've scored the same number of goals in 9 games (25) that the Stars have in 5, but need their goaltending/defense to come around. The Stars will be looking for that elusive back-to-back win here.
Friday, 2/15: @Vancouver
The Canucks got off to a very mediocre start going 2-2-2 in their first six games, but have regained their juggernaut form since. They're 5-0 in the last two weeks and have out-scored opponents 16-5 in that span. They're just not getting scored on right now, and the Stars will have their hands full trying to generate offense.
What's the over/under on Stars win this week? Or number of times you fall asleep on the couch for these late ones?