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Dallas Stars Daily Links: How The Stars Rediscovered Themselves

“They are who we thought they were” - playoffs contenders with work to do, writes Saad Yousuf. Plus, the Habs’ new front-office structure, the dramatic reading that took hockey Twitter by storm, and more.

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NHL: Dallas Stars at Arizona Coyotes Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Thought experiment: Was the world upside down when the Dallas Stars began their season, or is it upside down now? From goaltending to special teams, they’re starting to fire on all cylinders at a most opportune time. But can it last?

The Athletic’s Saad Yousuf examined how the Stars’ expectations-versus-reality game has played out and reversed upon itself during the month of November. His conclusion: “They are who we thought they were,” a legitimate Stanley Cup playoffs contender that has work to do:

Prior to the season, perhaps those out of the loop felt the Stars weren’t real playoff contenders. Perhaps the people who bleed victory green felt the team was on the cusp of a Stanley Cup but the reality was always somewhere down the middle. The objective expectation for the Stars this preseason was to be a playoff team and then hope to play their best hockey at the right time and make a run in the playoffs. That’s still where things stand today....

People don’t always like to hear it when a team is spiraling but another difference between the first 12 games and the last seven is that the puck is just going in the net. The Stars weren’t always playing bad hockey during the struggling stretch but they lacked the ability to finish. Some of those issues were within their control, such as overpassing, and have been corrected. Others were just plain bad luck that were bound to be evened out eventually.

Roope Hintz – who at the beginning of this month was the unluckiest man in the NHL – is the living avatar of how regression to the mean has finally worked in the team’s favor:

Through the first 12 games of the season, Hintz led the team in total individual shots on goal per 60 minutes with 9.72. More importantly, Hintz’s 1.12 total individual expected goals per 60 minutes (ixG/60) was second on the team, behind only Robertson’s 1.27. Those data points match up with who Hintz has come to be known as a highly talented and productive player. However, all of that netted in one goal for Hintz in 12 games. And even with Robertson leading the team with his ixG/60 figure, he only had one goal to show for it, albeit in six fewer games given the games he missed.

In the past seven games, Hintz has scored six goals and Robertson has scored four goals. Have they suddenly elevated their game? Not quite. Hintz has elevated his ixG/60 to 1.43, still good for second on the team, and Robertson’s ixG/60 has actually slightly dipped to fourth-best on the team at 1.17. It’s just that those expected goals are now finally meeting expectations more often.

There’s more behind the paywall. [The Athletic DFW]


Stars Stuff

It’s game day, and the Carolina Hurricanes are in town. Here are yesterday’s practice lines, as shared by The Dallas Morning News’ Matthew DeFranks.

Miro Heiskanen: the best, or the most bestest? Razor and Heika invited Saad Yousuf to discuss the real burning issue of our day.

Around The League

#Death Notes

Karel Vejmelka earned the shutout and former Star Antoine Roussel scored the only goal as the Arizona Coyotes defeated the Winnipeg Jets, 1-0.

The Montreal Canadiens are “solving” their Francophone problem by restructuring their front office, in which Jeff Gorton will report to a new GM to be named later.

It’s been nearly four years since his last suspension, but Brad Marchand’s reputation still precedes him.

Meanwhile, as Brendan Lemieux faces possible supplementary discipline for biting Brady Tkachuk, the internet is on fire over Gilbert Gottfried’s dramatic stylings.

Young Lemieux’s dental transgression has already made history, in a sick, weird way.

Greetings From Scenic Cedar Park – And Beautiful Boise

The Texas Stars came up short in two road losses to the Manitoba Moose over the weekend. Asher Rohm recaps Saturday’s 4-1 decision...

...as well as Sunday’s 5-3 loss.

Meanwhile, Idaho Steelheads breakout star Yauheni Aksiantsiuk is on his way to Austin Metro.

Finally

The only kind of fan poll that matters. Cast your vote!