The races to the playoffs this season is going to be tighter than ever. With less than half the schedule already remaining, and only 5 points separating 3rd and 13th place in the conference, it's doubly important to secure whatever wins you can.
With the Stars on this four game home stand, the hope was to go on a bit of a run, and try to at least get closer to the top of the pile in the standings, before heading back out on the road again. Unfortunately, there has been no such thing as home ice advantage for the Stars, as they are now 5-5-1 this season. If they hope to make the playoffs, that statistic has to improve.
Ray Whitney, who returned from a broken foot last night, agreed.
"You have to take care of your games at home. It's a tough schedule right now and everybody's going to have a big home stand at some point with the amount of games we're playing. And you're not going to make the playoffs if you don't play better at home and use that to your advantage. Certainly how we come out is going to be a factor in the rest of this home stand and the rest of this month. We have a pretty good month to try to get some momentum, and we can't take that lightly. We're certainly not going to be handed games, so we're going to have to earn what we get."
The Stars are certainly going to have to earn it at home after this one. They will go from playing one of the worst offenses in the conference to some of the best. While Dallas has lost five games in regulation at home, their next two opponents have only lost five total in regulation combined. The
Mighty Ducks and Blackhawks roll into town this week, offering Dallas a pretty good chance to see where they stand compared to the best teams in the West.
Toss in the fact that Calgary comes in on Monday, who the Stars have inexplicably had trouble with this season, and the four game home stand could easily get out of hand. Of course, if the Stars manage to win their remaining three games in this set, their confidence would be sky high, and deservedly so. It will be interesting to see how it all plays out, so fans should stay tuned.
Coming up in today's links: More on last night's game,
- Makr Stepneski has his post game review, including some unsettling stats about special teams. This is to games in a row where things are sliding in the wrong direction. [Stars Inside Edge]
- Here's Heika's take on the game, including a reminder to fans that the defense is young and still learning. [Dallas News]
- With the Leafs in a good position to make the playoffs for the first time in a long while, Brian Burke is wanting some of that credit. The problem is, not everyone in Toronto thinks he deserves credit for the good things happening. [Toronto Star]
- Who is the NHL's biggest dirtbag of all time? Stars Fans can name several of these players, actually... [Grantland]
- The Power Rankings are out this week, and the writers are just as confused about the ups and downs of Dallas as the fans are. [ESPN] [Sports Illustrated]
- Corey Perry was ejected for a hit that looks surprisingly similar to the one Hanzal had on Benn the other night. While Perry was upset about what happened, it will be interesting to see if he gets suspended. [Puck Daddy]
- Now that the season is half over, it is time to begin the awards watch for all your major trophies. [Puck Daddy]
- For your video of the day, this was a shootout attempt from a couple of nights ago that is pretty creative. It's a shame that some people are blasting moves like this. The shootout itself is already one giant gimmick, so you might as well have some fun with it, right?