Coming into the season, fans knew this was going to be a challenging one. The Dallas Stars have definitely had their share of challenges so far. The first four games of the season were rescheduled due to a COVID-19 outbreak on the roster. Then, the past four games were all postponed due to the winter storm that ripped through Texas.
I’m not sure there’s ever a good time for a break in the season. However, the Stars are in the midst of a five-game losing streak and they’ve lost seven of their last eight games. Thankfully, Dallas was able to get four points due to some of the losses coming in overtime.
It was a little over 11 months ago that Dallas found themselves in a similar situation. From February 27th to March 10th, the Stars lost six games in a row. It was after that March 10th game against the New York Rangers that the 2019-20 season was put on hold.
Now I know this situation is a little different. Even though Dallas is on a losing streak and they had games postponed, it was only four games as opposed to 13 games. Regardless, the fact remains that Dallas has shown they can take these type of circumstances and turn it around for good.
Look at the beginning of the season. After having the first four games postponed, Dallas came roaring out of the gate to win four in a row. The irony in this is that tonight’s opponent is the team Dallas was supposed to play in their season-opener before the COVID-19 postponements.
The Florida Panthers provide the opposition for the next three games. This is a team that is currently sitting in second place in the division with 24 points (11-3-2), only one point behind the Carolina Hurricanes for first place. Dallas can either gain some ground or really hurt themselves over the next couple games.
Dallas Projected Lines
Jamie Benn (14) - Joe Pavelski (16) - Joel Kiviranta (25)
Jason Robertson (21) - Roope Hintz (24) - Denis Gurianov (34)
Andrew Cogliano (11) - Jason Dickinson (18) - Blake Comeau (15)
Justin Dowling (37) - Radek Faksa (12) - Ty Dellandrea (10)
Esa Lindell (23) - John Klingberg (3)
Jamie Oleksiak (2) - Miro Heiskanen (4)
Andrej Sekera (5) - Mark Pysyk (13)
Anton Khudobin (35)
Jake Oettinger (29)
The Florida Panthers
As stated above, the Panthers are playing great hockey. Florida is averaging almost 3.5 goals per game. Led by Patric Hornqvist and his eight goals, the offense is lethal. Jonathan Huberdeau leads the team with 22 points (seven goals, 15 assists). Aleksander Barkov has 18 points (six goals, 12 assists).
Chris Driedger and Sergei Bobrovsky have both played eight games a piece. Driedger is only giving up 2.34 goals per game while boosting a 92.578 save percentage. Meanwhile Bobrovsky has a 3.18 goals against average and a 88.889 save percentage. With this being a three-game series, I would expect to see both goaltenders play.
Florida Projected Lines
Carter Verhaeghe (23) - Aleksander Barkov (16) - Anthony Duclair (91)
Jonathan Huberdeau (11) - Alexander Wennberg (21) - Patric Honrqvist (70)
Frank Vatrano (77) - Eetu Luostarinen (27) - Owen Tippett (74)
Ryan Lomberg (94) - Juho Lammikko (83) - Brett Connolly (10)
MacKenzie Weegar (52) - Aaron Ekblad (5)
Gustav Forsling (42) - Anton Stralman (6)
Keith Yandle (3) - Radko Gudas (7)
Chris Driedger (60)
Sergei Bobrovsky (72)
The game begins at 6 p.m. CST tonight.