The Dallas Stars simply will not stop winning. Last week they crushed hearts of the reeling Ducks, scored their first 3v3 victory against Vancouver, and dominated even-strength play against the Sharks.
This week will present a different challenge for Dallas. This week represents the first time this season that the team will play four games in seven days; all on the road. The schedule looks like it opens up in terms of competition, but this is the NHL. Any team can lay the hammer on any night. Let's dive in.
Monday 11/2/15 - Dallas Stars @ Toronto Maple Leafs
The Leafs made some headlines this offseason by parting ways with Phil Kessel and welcoming in Mike Babcock behind the bench. Everyone knew going in that this would be a rebuilding year for Toronto, and they have not disappointed.
Toronto has four points in 10 games, and one win. Their point leader is 30-year-old captain Dion Phaneuf, with seven assists. The team has scored 20 goals and have allowed 43. Those stats don't tell the entire story, as the team has played a relatively tough schedule.
The fact is this team has been out shot, out saved, out scored, and out special-teamed. The Leafs have a power play conversation rate of 7.41 percent and a penalty kill "efficiency" of 73.68 percent. Those are troubling stats against a Dallas team that is cooking on the power play and serviceable on the kill.
Make no mistake, with Babcock behind the bench this team will be frisky this year. Dallas has to take care of business in Toronto, because losing games against Buffalo and Carolina last year cost the Stars in April.
Player to Watch: Joffrey Lupul, No. 19. Lots of skill. If he could ever get out of his own way, he would be a really scary player. Wait, he is 32?
Tuesday 11/3/15 - Dallas Stars @ Boston Bruins
The Prodigal Son returneth. Tyler Seguin visits his old mates in the city that ran him out of town ~2.5 years ago. Make no mistake, 10 years from now when Seguin plays against the Bruins, this game will be circled on his calendar. Athletes are competitive junkies and he won't soon forget his boot out the door.
Regardless of whether they admit it or not, the Bruins are really wishing Seguin still wore black and yellow. And on Tuesday, Seguin gets a chance to show the city how much they miss him.
Games against the Bruins have always been heated; even before the Seguin trade. Boston plays a sand-papery game that tends to irritate people. The B's have been better than expected this year after a weird offseason, and they currently sit in 3rd place in the Atlantic Division.
The Stars will be coming off a back to back in Toronto. Back to backs are tough but this opponent this will be a good emotional charge for weary legs.
If you miss this game, you should be sad. Tempers will flare and the crowd will be electric. Both teams will be eager to prove something. This is can't-miss television.
Player to Watch: David Krejci, No. 46. The leading scorer with 15 points (7G, 8A) has been proving why his absence last year stalled the Bruins' offense.
Friday 11/6/15 - Dallas Stars @ Carolina Hurricanes
The Zombie-Whalers are 5-7-0 this year and are looking up at every team except the Columbus Bluejackets in the Metro. Carolina has been outscored by 34 goals, and have been sluggish on the power play (9.76 percent).
There are positive signs of life for the Canes. Justin Faulk looks like an excellent NHL defensemen continuing to put up decent possession numbers. Eric Staal has played well this season and Kris Versteeg has assisted on six goals.
Carolina will be coming off of five days rest in their game against Dallas. It remains to be seen whether so much rest will help or hurt a young team like Carolina, but it will be interesting to watch. The Canes won't likely compete for much this year, but they didn't last year either when they beat the Stars at about the same time of year.
Player to Watch: Noah Hanifin, No. 5. The 19-year-old first-round pick is averaging about 16 minutes per game in the five he has played in this season. He is a lot of fun and offers a great glimpse into the future of the league. The club has announced their plans for him to play the rest of the season with the big club, so hopefully he won't be in the press box on Friday.
Sunday 11/8/15 - Dallas Stars @ Detroit Red Wings
The Red Wings have struggled this year. It feels like the slow passing of a giant that once ruled the league. Aging superstars and coaching turnover have lead their slow but steady fall from grace.
Last season, the Red Wings went all in for one last Cup run by acquiring the services of Erik Cole from the Stars. While it marked a sad day for some Stars fans who had grown fond of Cole, the return has proved promising in the form of Mattias Janmark.
This team has began a youth movement by the infusion of Dylan Larkin into the lineup. This kid has played a lot and he has played well. If nothing else, this will be an encouraging sign of things to come for Detroit fans.
Oh, look. Henrik Zetterberg leads the team in scoring with 14 (3G, 11A). Pavel Datsyuk returned to practice last week, but he is not expected to play until the middle of November. Which is a shame, because he is still amazing.
The Wings are far from done for the year, but they have struggled with injuries. As they get healthy, expect them to make a push for the playoffs. Until that time, Dallas will hope to take advantage of an ailing group of veterans.
Player to Watch: Dylan Larkin, No. 71. Must haz. Wow.
This is a sneaky tough week for the Stars. It will be a long week on the road with three "trap games" and the Bruins. Given the torrid start of the team, it will be interesting to check out their killer instinct.