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Penalty Kill, Shot Differential Finally Catch up to Stars in Loss to Lightning

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We usually try to take the freshest approach we can when dissecting this team in relation to your other choices of Dallas Stars news and notes on the internet. We know you read the Dallas Morning News and ESPN. We do too, but today it's especially hard to find anything different to say.

Bob Sturm even said it when the post-game show following the Blues game began. There are two areas of concern on this team (in spite of the 4-0 start) and everyone knew what he was going to say before the words came out of  his mouth. It's the same thing the DMN has to say. The same thing ESPN has to say: The penalty kill and shot totals are downright worrisome.

One loss after a four game win streak is not ordinarily something to get upset about, but that's not the story. It's not just one loss. It's five games in a row of disturbing trends and troubling stats. Last night it just happened to finally catch up to them.

  • They are dead last in the league at 60% on the PK (worse on the road)
  • They are last in SOG/G at 21.8
  • They are second to last in SA/G at 38.
  • The power plays is converting at a rate of 10%

So the question is this: How in the heck have they been able to win four of five games? The strength of this team, aside from Kari Lehtonen, has been their ability to convert an extremely high percentage of what few quality chances they earn.

They lead the league in "5 on 5 goals for to goals against ratio" at 2.60. This is a stat we've seen touted pretty highly as being a true indicator of the better teams. Last year the Capitals, Sharks, Canucks, Blackhawks and Coyotes led the league in 5on5 F/A. Yep, those were pretty good teams. Dallas' 2.60 in this category is an outrageous number, sure to come down, yes, but teams that have a good "5 on 5 F/A" number are usually the better teams even if their special teams are just average. The Stars special teams being poor so far, combined with the shot differential is dragging down what should be a remarkable positive for them right now.

History shows us that 3.60 goals per game and the 2.60 5 on 5 F/A are unsustainable. Every team has slumps. You turn to your goaltender in such times to bail you out, but he can only do so much when facing 40+ shots a night. When the scoring dries up for the Stars these problems will be magnified ten-fold.

Again, this is not an overreaction to one loss. This is a look at five games worth of unsavory trends.

How do they fix it? That's the question, isn't it? We hope to have a video review later in the week to look at the penalty kill but for now let's start with 38.8% (!) on short-handed face-offs and maybe just staying out of the box altogether in the mean time.