The Dallas Stars are playing themselves into a hole they’re going to have to get out of if they wish to make the playoffs this season.
On top of going 2-4-4 in their last 10 games played, the Stars lost their starting goaltender to injury in their last game. Ben Bishop was injured on Sunday night, and is expected to miss at least the next two weeks. That’s basically the remainder of the regular season, which means that the Stars’ hopes for making the playoffs is backstopped by Kari Lehtonen.
Lehtonen has been solid for the most part this season. However, he has a history of not performing well in the most intense situations (see: playoffs 2014, Game 6 vs Anaheim Ducks and playoffs 2016, Game 7 vs St. Louis Blues).
This season feels very reminiscent of the one a few years ago where Dallas got the help they needed when the Chicago Blackhawks won earlier in the day and all the Stars needed to do was win their last game versus the Minnesota Wild to get into the playoffs. Dallas lost that game 5-3 and missed the playoffs by two points.
Hopefully, they can write a different ending to the “win and in” storyline brewing in Dallas this season.
Luckily, they’ll take on the Washington Capitals tonight. It’s a team that the Stars have managed to win against in D.C. more times than not over the last few years. Maybe that history can pull the Stars out of the nosedive they’re in right now.
Dallas Stars Lineup
Jamie Benn - Tyler Seguin - Alexander Radulov
Remi Elie - Jason Dickinson - Brett Ritchie
Mattias Janmark - Radek Faksa - Tyler Pitlick
Antoine Roussel - Jason Spezza - Devin Shore
Esa Lindell - John Klingberg
Dan Hamhuis - Greg Pateryn
Stephen Johns - Julius Honka
Kari Lehtonen in net.
Washington Capitals Lineup
Alexander Ovechkin - Nicklas Backstrom - Tom Wilson
Andre Burakovsky - Lars Eller - TJ Oshie
Jakub Vrana - Travis Boyd - Brett Connolly
Chandler Stephenson - Jay Beagle - Devante Smith-Pelly
Christian Djoos - John Carlson
Dmitry Orlov - Matt Niskanen
Michael Kempney - Jakub Jerabek
Phillip Grubauer is the assumed starter in net, with head coach Barry Trotz stating he plans to rotate him and Braden Holtby down the stretch of the regular season. Evgeny Kuznetsov and Brooks Orpik remain out with injuries.