A few things have distinguished the current season for the Dallas Stars from last season. One is their performance in overtime. Daryl Reaugh had some thoughts on part of this:
Wanna know why the Stars have cranked an absolutely astonishing 180 in games decided past 60 min. this season v last?— Daryl Reaugh (@Razor5Hole) March 25, 2022
(Clue: It ain’t “health”)
Last yr .852
This yr .974
Last yr .577
This yr .762
Deployed 4 different goalies too!
13-3 v 6-14#saviors
I’d be tempted to look at puck control and finishing talent, but goaltending is certainly part of it.
Another area where the Stars have cleaned things up significantly is in the teams performance in games against teams at the bottom of the standings. I know - Ottawa, Montreal, even these Vancouver Canucks, who used a three power play goal night to beat the Stars back in early November. But Dallas has taken care of business lately, especially in games that they “should win”.
And this is a sneaky important match with playoff implications for both teams.
Playoff odds leverage index from @domluszczyszyn.#Canucks’ playoff odds are currently at 12% and the swing between a regulation win or loss in Dallas tonight is 10%.— Thomas Drance (@ThomasDrance) March 26, 2022
The Stars qualifying odds jump 87% to 91% with a regulation win. Could drop below 80% with a regulation loss. pic.twitter.com/8cbokwNwD7
There have been Miro Heiskanen sightings on the ice, but he isn’t back in the lineup. The Stars haven’t particularly thrived during his absence, but John Klingberg has stepped up his game as have the goaltenders. More importantly, the team has found ways to win.
Next week, the Stars head out on a four game west coast swing - four games in seven days. All games where the Stars should be favored against teams on the outside looking in. A win tonight against the Cunucks puts the team solidly in the last wild card position, with an opportunity to take aim further up the division.
Dallas Stars Lineup
Jason Robertson (21) - Roope Hintz (24) - Joe Pavelski (16)
Vladislav Namestnikov (92) - Tyler Seguin (91) - Denis Gurianov (34)
Jacob Peterson (40) - Jamie Benn (14) - Alexander Radulov (47)
Michael Raffl (18) - Radek Faksa (12) - Luke Glendening (11)
Esa Lindell (23)- John Klingberg (3)
Ryan Suter (20) - Jani Hakanpaa (2)
Thomas Harley (55) - Joel Hanley (44)
Jake Oettinger (29)
Scott Wedgewood (41)
Harley and Peterson find themselves back in the lineup, with Oettinger back in net.
Vancouver Canucks Lineup
Tanner Pearson (70) - J.T. Miller (9) - Conor Garland (8)
Elias Pettersson (40) - Bo Horvat (53) - Brock Boeser (6)
Vasily Podkolzin (92) - Juho Lammikko (91) - Alex Chiasson (39)
Nicolas Petan (7) - Brad Richardson (13) - William Lockwood (58)
Oliver Ekman-Larsson (23) - Tyler Myers (57)
Quinn Hughes (43) - Luke Schenn (2)
Travis Dermott (24) - Brad Hunt (77)
Thatcher Demko (35)
Jaroslav Halak (41)
Jason Dickinson is on injured reserve, and Justin Dowling is back in the AHL, so the only ex-Star in the lineup is Chiasson.
Keys to the Game
Zone Time. The Stars possession game was non-existent on Thursday against the Carolina Hurricanes. Dallas needs to establish their forecheck and take some pressure off of Oettinger.
Special Teams. In their first matchup, Vancouver’s power play proved to be the difference. The Stars need to stay out of the box, and on the other side, figure out a way to gain the zone on the power play.
No Letdown. One game homestands aren’t ideal, and Vancouver has a winning road record. There isn’t any chance to settle in to the usual daily routines, so treat it like a road game with unusually supportive fans.