There are only rare occasions in which I miss the way scheduling was done before realignment and the league changed it so that every team visits every other team in the league each season. Playing in New Jersey is one of those rare times.
Dallas just doesn’t usually get results in the Garden State. (To the tune of like three wins in the last 20ish years or something insane.)
A lot of that is because Dallas didn’t visit New Jersey every year until recently, sure. But the other part is that the Stars have struggled with systems like the Devils have. That suffocating defense and killing of offensive creativity is boring, but effective, especially when the opposition can shut down the speed game like Dallas likes to play.
Luckily, a power play overtime goal got the Stars a rare win and even rarer result: an overtime win, to take their record to 4-9 in the 3-on-3 overtime format this season. That is a lot of points the Stars could have gotten had they not struggled in those situations this year.
While it may not have been enough to change the eventual standings, how much closer would they have been at the trade deadline to a playoff spot? Could they have been buyers instead of sellers? There’s an alternate universe somewhere we could know the outcome. Sadly, they haven’t invented a way to explore those universes so we’re left with nothing but questions and postulations, such as:
Positive: The team defense has been doing quite well of late. Since getting crushed in Edmonton, the Stars have allowed 2,3,0,2,1,1 in non-shootout goals. That’s only 1.5 goals against per game on average. Where was THAT structure all season long? Why did the change to the system or mindset of the team get made after the season was already bound for missing the playoffs? These are questions we would love answers to.
Negative: Those turnovers on the power play are still a dumpster fire at times. Luckily, the goaltending of Kari Lehtonen saved their collective bacon on a big stop late in the third period. The complexion of the game would have been very different had they allowed New Jersey to score a second goal shorthanded.
Positive: The power play clicked for the first time in seemingly forever tonight in a road game. Not only did it click, they scored twice on the man advantage. Twice! That’s not exactly a consistent performance for the Dallas Stars this season.
Negative: The Stars lead the league in first goals allowed against, I’m pretty sure.
Positive: That Tyler Seguin overtime power play goal was a beauty.
Negative: For all of the speed the Stars played with tonight, it’s frustrating to see a lack of offense as a reward. The Stars got plenty of chances, played a strong cycle game to start the game and set the tone, but they still killed their own momentum by allowing the first goal against for yet another game. Full credit to Keith Kincaid, who stood on his head and stoned Dallas for much of the game.