Dallas Stars Daily Links: The Evolution of the Stars’ Penalty Kill

The Stars have come a long way since posting a historically bad penalty kill in 2016-17. Plus, Ben Bishop is the best, the Stanley Cup playoff race continues to heat up, and more.

During the 2016-17 season, the Dallas Stars’ penalty kill was — at the time — the worst in the NHL history since 1994. Two years later, they have done a complete turnaround, currently sitting with the fifth best PK unit in the NHL.

A large part of that success while short-handed has to do with some stellar goaltending from Ben Bishop and Anton Khudobin. But it’s also thanks to new assistant coach Rick Bowness, who runs the Stars’ defense and penalty kill:

“Penalty killing, the structure of where it was 10-15 years ago, was totally different than what it is today,” Bowness said. “There’s different schemes in the neutral zone, different schemes forecheck and there’s different schemes in the defensive zone so a lot of it is based on what power plays are doing and what particular plays they’re trying to run and the skill level of those particular power plays.”

One of the keys to scoring in today’s NHL is puck possession, which becomes even easier to maintain when a team is on the power play. That means that it’s important for penalty killers like Andrew Cogliano to put pressure on the opposing team while trying to force them to cough up the puck:

“Every good penalty kill I’ve been on, it’s always been having good pressure up the ice and pressuring over the blue line in our end,” Cogliano said. “Obviously things change in zone but those are two things you want to achieve right at the start.”

You can read more from Saad Yousuf here.

About Last Night...

All hail Ben Bishop! Long live the king!

Seriously, this is just impressive:

Of course, don’t let Bishop’s big night overshadow Roope Hintz, who had his first multi-goal game of his career:

Here’s what head coach Jim Montgomery had to say about Hintz and the rest of the team in their 2-0 win over the Buffalo Sabres:

Central Census

It wasn’t a good night to be a fan of a Central Division team. Unless you’re a Dallas Stars fan, of course — then it was perfect:

  • In a battle between two of the top teams in the West, the Winnipeg Jets ultimately fell 5-4 to the San Jose Sharks. [Fear the Fin]
  • Elsewhere, the St. Louis Blues lost 3-1 to the Arizona Coyotes, who have now passed the Minnesota Wild for a Wild Card spot. [NHL]
  • Finally, the Nashville Predators failed to (temporarily) overtake the Jets for first in the division, losing 3-2 to the Anaheim Ducks./

It’s too little too late, but the Chicago Blackhawks haven’t given up on the playoffs quite yet:

Why hello there, St. Louis. Would you be interested in maybe moving back down to a Wild Card spot in the near future?

Around the League

I reject all of these suggestions due to not including the Stars:

Big news for Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin, who scored his 1,000th point last night:

The verdict is in — Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Morgan Rielly did not use a homophobic slur in Monday’s game against the Tampa Bay Lightning:

Finally, should the NHL change its draft lottery rules (again)? NHL GMs are split on the issue: