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Dallas Stars Daily Links: The Search For More Offense

The Stars’ playoffs fate could be decided by goal differential...so how do they get more of them? Plus, Antonio Stranges gets an ELC, Texas Stars prospect analysis, and more.

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NHL: Edmonton Oilers at Dallas Stars Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

If the Dallas Stars want to go to the Stanley Cup dance, they need to win more games. But they may need to win them with more goals, too.

Right now, they’re locked in a tight race with the Edmonton Oilers for the second Western Conference wild-card spot. With the Stars two points behind and holding two games in hand, you might like their chances. But if goal differential ends up being a tiebreaker, they’ll have to come up with more if they want to counter Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl.

The Stars’ shift to a defense-first mindset under head coach Rick Bowness has been well-documented, but Bones’ views on how to generate offense may not be as well understood. In his latest Stars piece for The Athletic, Saad Yousuf let him explain it in his own words:

Asked to detail his offensive philosophy, Bowness said: “It’s the middle lane drive, it’s the net presence. It’s the drive-and-delay and find the second wave. It’s more offensive zone time. That has to improve. We’re not spending near enough time in the offensive zone, which comes down to one-on-ones and puck protection and making the right decisions with the puck. At home, we’re more patient with the puck. We’re getting on the road, and whether it’s nerves or whatever, we’re just trying to make the play too fast. It’s one-and-done.

“All of the things you preach offensively means getting the defense involved, both on the rush and in the offensive zone. If we go down and we’re not patient with the puck and it’s one-and-done, we don’t have time to do either one of those things. That’s the approach. Hang on to the puck more, be a little patient. You’re only talking one or two seconds. You’re not talking five seconds. Just chill a little bit and take a look instead of forcing it. Just take that one or two seconds and you’ll make better decisions, we’ll spend more time in the offensive zone, we’ll score more goals, we’ll get our (defensemen) more involved.”

He also took a look at how that’s worked out for them this season:

The Stars rank 16th in playing with a lead (954 minutes). That means the Stars have spent 1,779 minutes either tied or trailing this season. The Stars have played with a lead for only 34 percent of the season but have enter the zone by dumping the puck in over half of the time. This not only limits the offensive creation throughout the game when goals are needed to catch up or break the tie, but it also doesn’t allow the Stars to pull away when they have a narrow lead down the stretch. That leaves other teams in striking distance and with the opportunity to empty the net in hopes of late magic. The Stars have allowed an NHL-high eight goals this season when playing against an empty net.

The personnel side also can’t be discounted. The dump-and-chase approach is also taxing on players’ conditioning, so when it’s being done as the offensive approach instead of primarily to protect a lead, it dictates ice time. Skilled players are spending a good portion of their shifts retrieving pucks. This leads to players who are known more as grinders to have bloated usage over skilled players. If the Stars didn’t have capable players, that would be one thing, but as the data via [stats expert Corey] Sznajder’s tracking shows, the Stars have the horses.

There’s more behind the paywall – including insights from the bench bosses of some of the NHL’s highest-scoring teams. [The Athletic DFW]


Stars Stuff

Matthew DeFranks posted yesterday’s practice lines, including some pretty pretty interesting special-teams units.

The other big news is that you don’t have to worry about whether the Stars have been keeping their eyes on white-hot OHL prospect Antonio Stranges.

You think the London Knights are proud of their guy?

Around The Leagues

#Murder Was The Case

Speaking of the Avs, this is an interesting stat that I’m just going to leave here.

If at this point anyone is shocked that politics are part of an international sport, well, it may be best to step outside for a while and, you know, talk to people.

Meanwhile, the Ottawa Senators will play the Ukrainian national anthem before every home game for the remainder of the season.

Why can’t there be a USA-Canada game every month from now on? Well, here’s a start.

Greetings From Scenic Cedar Park

The Texas Stars got it done against the Rockford IceHogs on Sunday.

Good things are happening for individual players, too, as Stephen Meserve documents in his latest article for TheAHL.com.

Finally

I’m not sure, but I think this could possibly make someone’s day. Enjoy.