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Dallas Stars Daily Links: Projecting the Stars’ Lineup Down the Stretch

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With Zuccarello and Pitlick on track to return by the end of the season, what should we expect the Stars’ lineup to look like? Plus, Ben Bishop makes franchise history, Nikita Kucherov is not human, and more.

NHL: Dallas Stars at Minnesota Wild David Berding-USA TODAY Sports

With last night’s win over the Minnesota Wild — coupled with a St. Louis Blues loss — the Dallas Stars are now third in the Central. The team has gone 7-3-0 in their last 10 games, and seem to be catching fire at just the right time.

What’s even more exciting though is that the Stars will be even better when Mats Zuccarello and Tyler Pitlick return from injury in (hopefully) a few weeks:

The last update was that [Zuccarello’s] skating now but can’t stickhandle yet. At this point, the Stars are working with the same timeline since his injury needs time to heal, but there haven’t been any worrisome complications.

...

Like Zuccarello, Pitlick is skating but not stick handling. The team’s initial eight-week timeline would put him back in the lineup in the final week of the regular season. There is still hope that timeline holds.

Something else to keep an eye on is whether or not head coach Jim Montgomery rests some of his players, specifically on defense. Given his heavy workload as a 19-year-old, Miro Heiskanen is a possible candidate, but don’t count on it:

I think Heiskanen playing through this and figuring out how to persevere is valuable to his further growth. In theory, he is going to play minutes like this the rest of his career. It’s good for him to learn now how best to handle his body and understand what it takes to play big minutes for 82 games.

You can read more about the Stars’ lineup going forward and much more in Sean Shapiro’s latest mailbag here.


About Last Night...

Once again, with gusto: All hail Ben Bishop. Long live the king!

Let’s just hope that, uhh, the Stars didn’t accidentally break him...

Here’s what Montgomery had to say about Bishop and the game as a whole:

Not to be overshadowed by Bishop making franchise history, Joel L’Esperance scored his first NHL goal!

What better way to celebrate your first career milestone than with family in attendance?


Central Census

It was a mixed bag for the Central last night, with five of the seven teams taking the ice:

  • As already mentioned, the St. Louis Blues dropped to a Wild Card spot thanks to a 2-0 loss to the Ottawa Senators. [Silver Seven Sens]
  • Meanwhile in a battle between two of the league’s best, the Winnipeg Jets came out triumphant over the Boston Bruins, winning 4-3. [NHL]
  • Yes, you read that first one right. The Blues lost to the Senators. As in the worst-in-the-NHL Senators. The same team that just traded their two best players at the trade deadline.
  • Finally, the Nashville Predators soundly beat the Los Angeles Kings 3-1 to hold onto second in the division. [On the Forecheck]
  • Seriously, the Senators. And they were shut out too. That’s only Ottawa’s third shutout of the season, and to be completely honest I’m surprised they had two already!

Don’t mind me, I’m just going to stare at this in bliss for the next couple of hours...


Around the League

Nikita Kucherov had a four-point game last night, because he is not human:

The Draft Lottery is a bit early this year, and that’s a big plus for NHL scouts:

Boy, am I glad that the Stars haven’t gone to the shootout this year... Wait, darn it, I just jinxed them, didn’t I? (Editor: Yes, yes, you did, Tyler. Thanks for that.)

Guys, I think we’ve taken this whole “oral history” trend a bit too far...

If the Jack Adams Award truly went to the “best” coach, then Jon Cooper would probably run away with it. But since it really means “most unexpectedly good season,” there are plenty of candidates to choose from:


Finally...

Heartbreaking news from Evander Kane yesterday. We here at Defending Big D offer our deepest condolences: