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Stars Treading Water heading into matchup against Arizona

For the last decade, the Dallas Stars have had issues when playing fast, north/south opponents. That was on full display against the Vancouver Canucks, especially early in Monday nights game.

Jake Oettinger faced a barrage of shots, many coming off of uncharacteristic loose play on the part of the Stars. Oettinger gave up five goals on the night, but none that are obviously ones that he would want back.

Thatcher Demko was both spectacular and rusty, which, given that this was his first game of 2023, could be expected. In the end, the Stars played well enough to take the game to overtime, but not well enough to get a win.

Given the quality of opponents that Dallas has faced since the Boston Bruins game, that just isn’t good enough.

Dallas Stars Lineup

Jason Robertson (21) – Roope Hintz (24) – Joe Pavelski (16)
Jamie Benn (14) – Wyatt Johnston (53) – Evgeni Dadonov (63)
Mason Marchment (27) – Tyler Seguin (91) – Ty Dellandrea (10)
Fredrik Olofsson (42) – Radek Faksa (12) – Fredrik Karlstrom (51)

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

Jake Oettinger (29)
Scott Wedgewood (41)
Matt Murray (32)

The Stars have turned into a three line team over the course of the season. Faksa and the Freddies played under 10 minutes against Vancouver, and although they weren’t terrible, the line was the only one that wasn’t significantly positive in expected goal percentage.

Oettinger was at morning skate, however the team did recall Murray from the Texas Stars, so there could be some lingering issues with Wedgewood. At the same time, Luke Glendening was moved to injured reserve, retroactive to February 17.

Dadonov meshed well with Johnston and Benn, and reuniting Dellandrea with Seguin and Marchment certainly had its moments. At some point, you have to think the top line will have a breakout game that opens up the scoring floodgates.

Arizona Coyotes Lineup

Clayton Keller (9) – Barrett Hayton (29) – Nick Schmaltz (8)
Matias Maccelli (63) – Jack McBain (22) – Lawson Crouse (67)
Nick Ritchie (12) – Travis Boyd (72) – Christian Fischer (36)
Liam O’Brien (38) – Laurent Dauphin (45) – Zack Kassian (44)

Patrik Nemeth (2) – J. J. Moser (90)
Shayne Gostisbehere (14) – Juuso Valimaki (4)
Troy Stecher (51) – Victor Soderstrom (77)

Karel Vejmelka (70)
Connor Ingram (39)

As much talk as there has been about the Coyotes being sellers at the trade deadline, to date, the team has stayed pat. They used their cap flexibility to take on the Shea Weber contract, picking up a draft pick in the process. Additionally, Jakob Chychrun and Nick Bjugstad are being held out in anticipation of a trade.

Gostisbehere has also been mentioned as a possible trade chip, but again, the team has yet to hit the market. As such, the lineup is much like the lineup that has been iced throughout the season, with the exception of Chychrun and Bjugstad.

The Coyotes beat the Chicago Blackhawks at home on Tuesday night, so this is game two of a back to back with travel. Sometimes these are called “scheduled loses”, but the Stars have recently been unwilling or unable to accept wins.

Even if team management is looking to the future, the Coyote’s media staff is still playing to win.

Keys to the Game

Skate/Transition. Dallas is rested, Arizona is not. Dallas is a playoff team, Arizona is not. If the Stars use their transition game, and involve their defenders in the offense, this should be a win.

Start. The Stars have been flat coming out of the gates lately. Get on the board early (and don’t pull a Chicago fade).

Focus. With the trade deadline in view, the NHL season is entering the final push to the playoffs. Dallas is set up to grab a high seed, but all of that could disappear if the team continues to run in place.

Talking Points