This morning, the Dallas Stars are 4-1-0 and still tied for second place in the Central Division. This fact is about as #JustMDKthings as they get. Still, there is plenty to be excited about it, and the stats will back that up, says Josh Bogorad.
The Stars lead the league in scoring right now, but it's their improvement in goals-against that's really telling the tale:
Through almost two weeks, Dallas leads the NHL in scoring, averaging 3.8 goals per game. That comes to the surprise of absolutely no one. At the other end of the ice, the Stars are tied for 16th in goals-against at 2.6 per game. While not exactly a world-beating number, that is more than a half-goal improvement from the defense that allowed the fourth-most goals in the NHL last season.
And the deeper you look, the nicer the picture gets:
The overall numbers are good, but if you break things down game-by-game, they get even better. The Stars have scored at least three goals in every game they've played so far. They've also held the opposition to three goals or fewer in four of the five. Last season, in 82 games, they only had two five-game stretches where they accomplished both. They went 4-0-1 in each of them. They are one of only two teams in the NHL that has done it so far this year. The other are the undefeated Montreal Canadiens. The same Canadiens who finished with the second-most points in the NHL last season, and have won their division in two of the last three seasons. Not a bad neighbor to have in a stat that measures consistency.
Furthermore, the Stars are also proving they can consistently win in different ways against different teams. They beat the high-scoring Tampa Bay Lightning at their own game in an offensive affair. They beat the stingier Panthers at their own game in a tighter contest. They blanked the Pittsburgh Penguins while being outshot, and then outlasted the Edmonton Oilers in a game where they dominated shots and possession throughout. They have two wins at home and two wins on the road. They have four different players who have registered multi-goal games, who are currently playing on three different lines.
As always...visit Josh's blog for much, much more. [On the Radar]
The Stars have introduced a new web video feature called "The Franchise." The first episode is about Jamie Benn and the game now known only as Art Ross Night. It is awesome.
Mike Heika held his regular chat yesterday. He talked about the season so far for Johnny Oduya, Ales Hemsky and Kari Lehtonen, as well as why tonight's game against the Flyers may be the right time and place to put Patrik Nemeth and Jamie Oleksiak to work. [SportsDayDFW]
In the wake of being named one of the NHL's Three Stars of the Week, Tyler Seguin dialed in for an interview with NHL Live.
Meanwhile, Victor Hedman says the Jamie Benn hit that left him temporarily sidelined was a clean one. "He's not a dirty player, he's a hard working player, a physical player." [NBC Sports]
In other teams who are struggling far more than they probably should be, Jared Clinton says the Columbus Blue Jackets need to plug their leaky defense before they even think about firing Todd Richards. [The Hockey News]
With three goalies and one victory among them, Bob Hartley has had it with these rubber-pucking sticks on this flub-up-stuck-in Flames.
As a generational prospect experiencing his NHL rookie year, Jack Eichel is living in the middle of a whirlwind pretty much constantly. His dad is helping him keep his feet on the ground. [Sports Illustrated]
The Arizona Coyotes are "all done apologizing" and have embraced their outsider identity, says Kevin Allen. Here's his story on their (so far successful) efforts to re-energize both players and fans.
Since many of us have goalie interference on the brain at the moment, check Kerry Fraser's latest "C'mon, Ref" column, in which he weighs in on the controversial Brendan Gallagher goal from the Canadiens' victory over the Red Wings on Saturday night. [TSN]
The NHL's annual Hockey Fights Cancer campaign kicked off yesterday. All 30 teams will host one #HockeyFightsCancer Awareness Night during a regular home game; for the Stars, it will be their Oct. 24 rematch against the Florida Panthers. Tyler Seguin says be there, with or without your lavender tie.
And speaking of the NHL, the league has just been announced as the winner of the 2015 Green Power Leadership Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for its "leadership, overall strategy and impact on the green power market." [NHL]
Bring out your Antti's, because they're having a run on shutouts!
Antti Raanta improved to 15-0-3 at home in his career, and made some stellar saves in the process. https://t.co/o76CU55EmF— NHL (@NHL) October 20, 2015
Finally: Did you tune in to the first half of the Giants-Eagles game for no reason except to see the final trailer for The Force Awakens at halftime? (Just admit it.) If so, you may be familiar with a feeling something like this. Go Stars!
If the #Pens game tomorrow can make me even half as happy as that Star Wars trailer did, it'll be a pretty damn good week.— The Penguin Brain (@PenguinBrain) October 20, 2015