One wouldn’t think that a late-October tilt between the Stars and Winnipeg Jets would feel so important, right? The season is still very young. Dallas is 2-2-1 and dealing with numerous injuries, most notably to Patrick Sharp, Jason Spezza, Ales Hemsky, and Cody Eakin.
But, oh my, it feels much more important.
Dallas usually potent offense has suddenly stalled, including a shutout on home ice to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday. The Stars have scored just 14 goals on the season, which is tied for the second fewest in the Western Conference, and their goal differential is minus-2.
Winnipeg will continue to play its lunch pail style of game that has given the Stars some issues the past few years.
The Stars need to win tonight at the American Airlines Center.
Yes, the season is just five games old and there is plenty of hockey to be played, but a loss Tuesday and a 2-3-1 start is not how Lindy Ruff (or anyone, really) imagined how this season would start.
Dallas’s three-game home stand against Los Angeles, Columbus and Winnipeg began as poorly as one would hope.
The Stars lost Thursday in overtime to the Kings (in rather controversial fashion) 4-3. Kari Lehtonen got the start in both losses and wasn’t exactly stellar.
Lehtonen gave up 6 goals on 58 shots and we may just see Antti Niemi back between the pipes tonight - beginning the goalie carousel again and talks of acquiring a goalie, which was hyped during the summer.
Another issue heading into Tuesday night is who else is on the ice when the Stars are getting scored on.
Jason Spezza (-5), Jamie Benn (-4), Tyler Seguin (-3) and Patrick Sharp (-2) are at the bottom of the list for the Stars. That, obviously, must change if the Stars want to get rolling.
Seguin looks as if he is working back from an off-season leg injury, and Benn looks to be slowed by off-season core muscle surgery.
The losses of Sharp, Eakin, and don’t forget Mattias Janmark, have hurt this lineup.
But those that are in the lineup need to show a spark against the Jets. An 0-3 homestand was not what the Stars were looking for when they made their way back to Dallas after an impressive win in Nashville last week.
However, if the Stars play like they did Saturday against Columbus, an 0-3 homestand is exactly what will happen.