It took a trip to overtime and another game-winner from Tyler Seguin, but the Dallas Stars brought two points out of Bell Centre in last night’s win over the Montreal Canadiens. Can they run the Eastern Canada table tonight against the Ottawa Senators?
The Victory Green Gang nearly gave up a trap game after letting the Habs hang three goals on them in the first two periods. But if you take their postgame interviews at face value, they always knew they could make it back and take the W. They’ll need that confidence as they push to grab and hold the Central Division lead, and the home-ice advantages it will bring during a playoffs run.
Speaking of Seguin, and we were, the Stars’ highest-paid player is demonstrating in a big way why he makes the big bucks. His two tallies again the Habs helped turn around the deficit as well as secure the overtime win. Will more goals gush forth as Seguin opens the scoring fire hose? The Stars need him to play at this level, so the past two games are a great sign.
Joe Pavelski came back from injured reserve to post two assists in last night’s victory. He’s another player to keep an eye on over the next several weeks. If the Stars can get even slightly above league-average offense during the final push, they will be very hard to stop, and this is exactly what the front office was hoping for when they signed Pavelski.
The thing no one is talking about all that much is the Stars’ winning percentage under interim head coach Rick Bowness. It’s significant. Pretty, pretty significant.
That’s a .667 winning percentage with Bowness in charge. No team in the Western Conference has performed that well in the same span. https://t.co/seQemyDHfc— Sean Shapiro (@seanshapiro) February 16, 2020
The Senators’ Sorrows
At least they’re doing better than the Detroit Red Wings. That’s about all that’s going right for the Sens these days. (Although, as the third-worst team in the NHL, they are solidly in the running for the Alexis Lafrenière Sweepstakes.)
And yet, attention must be paid, as Arthur Miller might have said, if he were a Stars fans. The Senators have their very own incipient defensive star in Thomas Chabot. In fact, the 23-year-old’s 31 points in 57 games season-to-date compare favorably with Miro Heiskanen’s 29 points in 56 games. Is a battle of the left-handers on the card tonight?
Brady Tkachuk is fourth on the Sens roster in points scored with 17 goals and 15 assists. He also leads the entire team in PIMs with a whopping 69 minutes spent in the box. You know he’s going to make trouble at some point, in one way or another, because it’s Tkachuk law, or something.
Forward Anthony Duclair has 21 goals and 13 assists in 56 games so far this season. But he’s been held pointless in the Senators’ last five games – all but one of which they lost. (The Sens picked up a 3-2 win against one of Duclair’s former teams, the Arizona Coyotes, on Thursday night.) Keeping him off the score sheet will make a win that much easier.
Stars fans may also want to watch for Nick Paul. The former Dallas prospect was one of the key assets in the 2014 trade for Jason Spezza. He’s collected only seven goals so far this season, but two of them were game-winners. Forearmed!
Like the Stars, the Senators are playing the second half of a back-to-back. They lost a 4-2 decision last night to that other Ontario squad, the Toronto Maple Leafs. Fatigue will play a role for both teams – will the game swing to the one who manages it best?
The Stars’ practice line-up from yesterday morning in Montréal:
Roope Hintz - Tyler Seguin - Corey Perry
Jamie Benn - Jason Dickinson - Denis Gurianov
Andrew Cogliano - Radek Faksa - Blake Comeau
Mattias Janmark - Joe Pavelski - Jason Robertson
Esa Lindell - John Klingberg
Miro Heiskanen - Stephen Johns
Jamie Oleksiak - Andrej Sekera
Anton Khudobin will get the start in net after Ben Bishop played last night.
The home roster:
Brady Tkachuk - Jean-Gabriel Pageau - Connor Brown
Vladislav Namestnikov - Chris Tierney - Drake Batherson
Nick Paul - Artem Anisimov - Anthony Duclair
Tyler Ennis - Colin White - Scott Sabourin
Thomas Chabot - Dylan DeMelo
Mike Reilly - Nikita Zaitsev
Ron Hainsey - Cody Goloubef
Puck drop: 5 p.m. CST (Canadian Tire Centre, Ottawa, ON)
TV: TVAS, FS-SW
Radio: KTCK 1310 AM / 96.7 FM The Ticket
Online: FOX Sports Go app / theticket.com