The Dallas Stars win when their top line is clicking, even when they struggle with depth scoring. Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin and Alexander Radulov create offense at such a rate that it may be understandable when coach Ken Hitchcock tries to spread that magic around the team’s other lines.
But when chemistry works that well, shouldn’t the coach just let it happen? The Dallas Morning News’ Mike Heika examines the case for keeping the Super Best Friends together, whatever:
Hitchcock has vacillated in his explanations all year, at times reasoning that it’s his job to break up the line and find ways to boost the scoring, and at times saying it’s the job of the depth scorers to find the back of the net and keep the top line together. His manic line-juggling in the last four games shows just how frustrated his reasoning can become when his team goes into scoring slumps.
But Benn, Seguin and Radulov continue to make beautiful hockey when they are together, so you have to think they will be front row in the orchestra Sunday when the Stars play the [Pittsburgh] Penguins.
One can even make the argument that a consistent and fully operational super line can help build confidence among the Stars’ other scorers, as Devin Shore points out:
“I think you just have to trust our game plan,” Shore said after scoring Friday. “I think when you’re playing well but not getting the end result, the worst thing you can do is get frustrated and stray from the game plan. I think all you can do is stick to it and trust that if you stick to it, it’ll pay off.”
Mike has more. [SportsDayDFW]
The Stars are on the road for the next two weeks, and they meet the Pens tonight at 6:30 p.m. CST. After you read Taylor’s DBD preview, check out Mark Stepneski’s official version.
Mark is also keeping up with the Stars’ odds for a postseason appearance.
And @DallasStars has put together a handy reference to the upcoming road schedule.
Around the League(s)
Night of the Living #Death
- The St. Louis Blues defeated the Los Angeles Kings 7-2 and are now just three points out of a Western Conference wild-card spot. [St. Louis Game Time]
- But the Colorado Avalanche moved into that second WC space with a 5-2 victory over the Arizona Coyotes. [Mile High Hockey]
- Petr Mrazek stopped 27 of 28 shots as the Philadelphia Flyers broke a losing streak with a 2-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets. [Broad Street Hockey]
- The Chicago Blackhawks gave up four power-play goals in a 7-4 loss to the Boston Bruins. [Second City Hockey]
- The New Jersey Devils halted the Nashville Predators’ 10-game winning streak by nabbing a 3-2 victory in the shootout. [All About The Jersey]
- And the Central’s hockey day ended with the Minnesota Wild dropping a 4-1 game to the Edmonton Oilers, featuring a three-point effort by Connor McDavid. [Copper And Blue]
Jamie Benn did a little advance scouting on the Pens during last night’s 5-2 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs. He may not have been the only one baffled by that goaltender-interference call on Brian Dumoulin. [Sportsnet]
2 mins for scoring. Huh?— Jamie Benn (@jamiebenn14) March 11, 2018
Anthony Duclair is expected to miss one to two weeks after injuring his knee in this collision with Brad Marchand. Was it a dirty play, or is Marchand’s (terrible) reputation playing into perception? [BarDown]
For reference, here’s the Marchand-Duclair incident at real speed pic.twitter.com/AhbSDUFAgk— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) March 10, 2018
The Team USA post-Olympics victory lap continues: Defender Emily Pfalzer dropped the puck before the Florida Panthers’ 4-3 shootout win over the New York Rangers. The Cats have now won eight in a row and are closing in on an Eastern Conference wild-card spot.
Jared Clinton examines the wild-card races as the regular season winds down.
Taylor Hall is a potential Hart Trophy winner, and the Oilers are still objectively terrible. These threads, and the implacable terror that is Patrik Laine, are part of Sean McIndoe’s Saturday Storylines for the week.
From earlier: The slumping Leafs face a tough test in the Penguins, Patrik Laine is unstoppable, and Taylor Hall may or may not be the MVP, I really have no idea. Plus more in the Saturday Storylines. https://t.co/I9puydRkcf pic.twitter.com/GnZBluobCw— Down Goes Brown (@DownGoesBrown) March 10, 2018
Of course, as David Staples writes, Hall’s and the Devils’ redemptive season is good news...for the Oilers. [Edmonton Sun]
Greetings From Scenic Cedar Park
Landon Bow weathered the storm in the first, the offense broke out in the second and the #txstars held on in the third for a crucial 4-3 win over Tucson on Saturday.— Texas Stars (@TexasStars) March 11, 2018
Read: https://t.co/hSjkJkzK12 pic.twitter.com/1Nf5hagWB6