Through the first three games of the 2021 season, the Dallas Stars have shown there are a few ways to win hockey games: a statement win on opening night, a fluid win in game two, and a grind it out overtime win in game three. If the Stars are showing a winning DNA early in the season, it is a welcome sight for a club and fanbase with designs on an additional two wins late in the summer.
When the puck drops tonight against the Red Wings, it will only be the Stars’ fourth game of this young season. However, while some might want to tap the brakes a bit, the Stars are also showing glimpses of who they are as a club. The power play is humming along at a historic pace (nine goals in three games), goaltender Anton Khudobin has surrendered just three goals, and a team that is largely a carryover from their Finals appearance seems to be primed to show the league that run was anything but a fluke.
If the Stars are to win their fourth straight game to start the season, it appears they will have to continue winning without the services of Jamie Benn and Blake Comeau. Benn was injured on opening night against the Nashville Predators, but did take part in the morning skate via reports from local media at the AAC this morning. Blake Comeau also skated with the group in the morning after clearing COVID-19 protocols, but he likely needs a couple of more skates before he gets back into the lineup.
One new development from the morning skate is that Roope Hintz took part as well after missing Tuesday’s tilt thanks to a lower-body injury, and should be a game-time decision for tonight. However, this was the same status assigned to Jamie Benn on Tuesday as well. We won’t know for sure what Hintz’s status is until warmups.
Oettinger’s First NHL Start
Jake Oettinger has been handed the keys to the starter’s crease for the Stars for the first time in his career. The 22 year-old Lakeville, Minnesota native was the Stars’ second first round pick in the 2017 NHL draft. After a career at Boston University and three years with the Texas Stars, the netminder will see his first full 60 minute NHL action.
It should be noted this technically will not be his first NHL appearance. Oettinger made appearances in the playoffs over the summer. However, his first start will be a memorable moment for a player who has long been looked at as the future of the Dallas Stars crease. The franchise will see how their investment in him is playing out, which should be exciting for executives and fans alike.
Lines and Storylines to Follow
The Stars will be wearing their totally awesome blackout jerseys for the first time this season. This will be the first of ten games the sweater will be worn in 2021.
It will be interesting to see how these jerseys look in person and on TV. It is fair to say that Twitter has been kind to the blackout jersey and the merchandise the Stars are patterning off of the uniform is very sharp. After years of Victory Green uniforms and the occasional white jersey game, it will be pretty cool to see something different on the ice at the AAC.
I, for one, couldn’t be more excited for the visual aspects of this tilt tonight.
So which players for the Stars will be wearing the new uniform tonight? Take a look at the lines below, and keep in mind Roope Hintz is still a question mark.
Based on practice yesterday, if Hintz doesn't play, lines could look like this tonight:— Owen Newkirk (@OwenNewkirk) January 28, 2021
Dickinson - Dowling - Gurianov
Kero - Pavelski - Radulov
Cogliano - Faksa - Dellandrea
Caamano - Gardner - L'Esperance
Lindell - Klingberg
Oleksiak - Heiskanen
Sekera - Pysyk
Puck drop is at 7:30 CST and as always Stars fans can catch the game on 1310/96.7 The Ticket on Radio and FS-SW on the TV side.