Personal Streaks Collide as Toronto Faces Dallas

Expect Mitch Marner vs. Jason Robertson talk, but Dallas needs depth contributions to be fully competitive.

When the Dallas Stars host the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday night, there is no way to escape the primary story line. Mitch Marner comes in carrying a 19 game point streak, with a total of seven goals and seventeen assists over the length of the streak.

Jason Robertson’s 18 game point streak is perhaps more impressive, with twenty-one goals and thirteen assists. Marner’s streak is the longest in the history of an original six franchise, whereas Robertson’s is the longest for the Stars franchise since it moved to Dallas.

It’s hard to separate Robertson’s streak from the extended high level play of his entire line. In the last Stars game, in addition to Robertson extending his point streak, linemates Joe Pavelski and Roope Hintz put up three assists and three goals respectively.

Once again, the Dallas top line was instrumental in pulling a point out of a game where the team was down multiple goals mid-way through the final period.

Below that top line, however, the Stars find themselves searching for a productive second line. Sure, the third line of Jamie Benn, Wyatt Johnston and Ty Dellandrea has stepped up their production as of late, but Dallas is still looking for a right wing that will fit in with Mason Marchment and Tyler Seguin (at least one that doesn’t dismantle the third line).

After a strong start, the pairing of Marchment and Seguin has fallen off. That start coincides with their time with Dellandrea - and the only other forward that the pair has been on ice with for any amount of time that has a positive xG% is Benn.

Right now, the third wheel is Radek Faksa, but his numbers with the pair are comparable with those of Denis Gurianov (mid-forties xG%), which is at least better than the numbers with Joel Kiviranta and Matej Blumel.

There is a big enough hole - a hole that hockey media outside of Dallas is starting to notice.

Personally, I’d like to see Riley Damiani or a handful of others from within the Stars system get an opportunity - or, if and when the third line cools down, maybe Johnston moved up with the pair (with Gurianov getting time with Benn and Dellandrea).

Something to keep an eye on as the season progresses.

Dallas Stars Lineup

Jason Robertson (21) – Roope Hintz (24) – Joe Pavelski (16)
Mason Marchment (27) – Tyler Seguin (91) – Radek Faksa (12)
Jamie Benn (14) – Wyatt Johnston (53) – Ty Dellandrea (10)
Joel Kiviranta (25) – Luke Glendening (11) - Denis Gurianov (34)

Miro Heiskanen (4) – Colin Miller (6)
Ryan Suter (20) – Nils Lundkvist (5)
Esa Lindell (23) – Jani Hakanpaa (2)

Jake Oettinger (29)

After several games in the press box, Lundkvist rejoins the defense.

Toronto Maple Leafs Lineup

Michael Bunting (58) - Auston Matthews (34) - William Nylander (88)
Nicholas Robertson (89) - John Tavares (91) - Mitchell Marner (16)
Alexander Kerfoot (15) - David Kampf (64) - Pierre Engvall (47)
Zach Aston-Reese (12) - Pontus Holmberg (29) - Semyon Der-Arguchintsev (85)

Mark Giordano (55) - Justin Holl (3)
Rasmus Sandin (38) - Timothy Liljegren (37)
Victor Mete (98) - Conor Timmins (25)

Matt Murray (30)

There is a lot of top end talent here, but the depth doesn’t match what Dallas can put on the ice.

Keys to the Game

Goaltending. Jake Oettinger has been fairly average since returning to the lineup. It’s bound to happen during a long season, but he has shown that he can be better. Toronto’s netminding has been better than expected, but neither Murray or Ilya Samsonov are top tier.

Bounce Back. The Stars played a low energy game against the Minnesota Wild, at least until Hintz scored his second goal. Dallas lost to Toronto earlier this year in overtime. This should be a high skilled, back and forth affair and the Stars need to have their skating legs ready.

The Streaks. Marner vs. Robertson this isn’t. Play Dallas Stars hockey and leave the hype to the media.