Dallas Stars Daily Links: Braden Holtby’s Return To Form Key To Stars’ Early Successes

It’s pretty clear: Without the Holtbeast, the Stars are a different, and worse, team. Plus, the mascot wars will be Twitter-ized, hockey lives on the Texas-Mexico border, and more.

It’s been a messy couple of weeks for Dallas Stars hockey. So it may come as a surprise that – all of five games into the 2021-22 season – they find themselves among the top three teams in the murderous Central Division.

Of course, if you’ve been watching (and we have to ask, because Bally Sports Southwest), you know how much of that measure of success rests upon the goaltending of Braden Holtby.

The Dallas Morning News’ Matthew DeFranks examines the return of the player they called the Holtbeast during his heyday (which included both a Vezina Trophy and a Stanley Cup). He concludes that Holtby, as the team’s “most consistently excellent player,” has fully assumed the mantle as that netminder the Stars will rely on to the exclusion of virtually everyone else:

Without Holtby’s performance in New York, the Stars wouldn’t have even made it to overtime against the Rangers. The same can be said Friday night against the Kings, who finishing with 78 shot attempts, 20 high-danger scoring chances and 3.14 expected goals, according to Natural Stat Trick.

“I don’t think whenever you get that many, that high of quantity, the quality is never really as good,” Holtby said. “But that’s not my thing to worry about. My job is just to stop whatever’s thrown at me.”

And don’t think his teammates – and head coach Rick Bowness – don’t know it:

“It can’t be that much of a surprise with his history,” the Stars’ Tyler Seguin said. “We’re fortunate that Holts wanted to come here. He likes our system, and our D do a great job. We play pretty defensive, and he’s been unbelievable. I’m not going to get tired of talking about him this year.”

Bowness: “His hockey IQ is something we’re all very impressed with, but his compete, his composure. He’s just been spectacular, he really has.”

Matt has more. [SportsDayDFW]

Stars Stuff

In case you haven’t noticed, it can be very, very difficult to find a place to watch a Stars game. The Victory Green Gang wants to help.

And in case you missed it, the NHL decided Jani Hakanpää has been punished enough.

The even better news, especially for the Los Angeles Kings, is that Doughty will almost certainly be just fine, and very soon.

Around The Leagues

In On The #Kill Taker

  • The Nashville Predators won the Central-on-Central duel, but lost Eeli Tolvanen, in a 5-2 win over the Minnesota Wild. [On The Forecheck]
  • And the Chicago Blackhawks are setting records in the wrong ways, as their 6-3 loss to the Detroit Red Wings confirms. [Second City Hockey]/

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