The Dallas Stars have made it to the second half of the 2021 season with a .500 record. That should get every fan’s attention, and not because it rhymes, sort of. After making it to the Stanley Cup Final a few scant months ago, is the Victory Green Gang already out of the running for the playoffs?
The good news, sort of, is that the Stars have four games in hand due to their early struggles with COVID-19 protocols. The bad news is that they’re far back of the Discover Central Division’s leaders and are in a three-way race for the final playoff spot, with the Chicago Blackhawks and Columbus Blue Jackets both ahead of them.
Is there a realistic path to the postseason? Stars senior staff writer Mike Heika says yes – but it involves putting pucks into that squarish twine-y thing:
Statistically speaking, Dallas is plus-5 in goal differential. Chicago is minus-11, Columbus is minus-17 and Nashville is minus-26. The Stars should have a better record. Statistically speaking, Dallas is 6th in goals against average at 2.41. Chicago is 25th (3.25), Columbus is 22nd (3.13) and Nashville is 21st (3.12). The Stars are better in net.
Scoring goals is a different matter, as the Blackhawks are 17th at 2.91, the Stars are 20th at 2.72 and the Blue Jackets 24th at 2.63, but goal-scoring sure seems like an area where the Stars can make up ground if they just get back to normal.
There’s always hope that Jamie Benn and Denis Gurianov will get back to their usual scoring levels. But the chronic game-time-decision status of Roope Hintz and Alexander Radulov, and Tyler Seguin’s complete absence to date, have taken their toll:
“The fact that we have lost points in these shootouts and overtimes; it goes back to the people that we are missing,” Bowness said. “We could be four or five points, easily, better than what we are. But we are where we are, and the guys have worked very, very hard. We have never questioned their work effort, and after 28 games there have been maybe five or six bad periods. That’s pretty good that we can sit here and say that, and that speaks a lot about the work habits of the team and our team play.
“The disappointment is that there is four or five points out there that we know we could’ve had, had we been able to finish.”
There’s more at Mike’s place. [Dallas Stars]
It’s Stars vs. Bolts tonight, and you know the drill.
The Dallas Morning News’ Matthew DeFranks usually has some interesting stats at his fingertips, and this one is...attention-getting. (He’s taking mailbag questions, too.)
Primary assists per 60 minutes at 5v5 (200+ minutes).— Matthew DeFranks (@MDeFranks) March 23, 2021
1. Nathan MacKinnon: 1.86
2. Jason Robertson: 1.81
3. Connor McDavid: 1.58
Remember Mystery Pucks? (Warning: may entail remembering what it’s like to physically attend a Stars game.) Well, the Dallas Stars Foundation has good news!
Around The Leagues
- Alex Nedeljkovic earned the shutout and the Carolina Hurricanes broke their losing streak, defeating the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-0. [Canes Country]
First Elias Pettersson, now Bo Horvat...the Vancouver Canucks are in some injury trouble.
But will the new rules make it harder or easier to tank?...
Meanwhile, the Scotia North Division hit an unfortunate milestone yesterday.
OK, so this may – may – give the Texas Stars’ Harry Potter Nights a run for their money.
The Colorado Avalanche left the ice in Arizona last night to learn that a mass shooting had taken place back home. Bench boss Jared Bednar offered a response.
"I didn’t find out about it until I came off the ice after the game [...] we got news that there was a shooting, another needless event that is just sad and tragic. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families and the community of Boulder and everyone affected by that." pic.twitter.com/OfLKP0Fv1v— Colorado Avalanche (@Avalanche) March 23, 2021
Greetings From Scenic Cedar Park
After the Riley Damiani injury, Stephen Meserve is having none of this.
Goals: 2— 100 Degree Hockey (@100degreehockey) March 22, 2021
Upper body injuries inflicted on leading scorers: 1 https://t.co/LHmh8NGYlp
Texas Stars Twitter is back and loving life. Enjoy.