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The Stars Arrive in Columbus Seeking A Needed Win

Contrary to what the first four games of the year showed fans, we realized the Dallas Stars will not be going undefeated this season. After losing both games against the Carolina Hurricanes over the weekend, I’m not sure if we know any more than we did after the first four games.

Dallas’ offense was nearly unstoppable against the Nashville Predators and the Detroit Red Wings. It was non-existent in the first game against Carolina and finally showed some life in the second game.

Since the season is so young, we still aren’t sure if that’s because of Carolina’s defense or a product of being on the road. Sometimes teams play differently on the road as opposed to playing at home. We’re not sure what the reason is, but we may soon find out.

Special Teams

Something else we discovered over the weekend is that Dallas is not going to score a power-play goal in every game this year. After scoring in five straight games, they were held off the score sheet on Sunday while on the power play.

One of the reasons for that was the defense of the Hurricanes. Carolina made it very hard for Dallas to enter the zone while on the power play. They stacked the defense and made it very difficult for the Stars to get set up on the power play.

One thing Dallas did was try to bring the puck into the zone individually or by making a cross-ice pass at the blue line. Carolina was ready for both of these. Hopefully Dallas head coach Rick Bowness and his coaching staff will figure out a way to correct this going forward. Now that doesn’t mean they’re going back to scoring on the power play every game, but let’s at least hope they clean it up. The quick passes and inability to get in the zone clean caused issues as Carolina capitalized on it with a shorthanded goal as well.

Dallas Lines

Jamie Benn (14) – Roope Hintz (24) – Denis Gurianov (34)
Justin Dowling (37) – Joe Pavelski (16) – Alexander Radulov (47)
Andrew Cogliano (11) – Radek Faksa (12) – Blake Comeau (15)
Nicholas Caamano (17) – Jason Dickinson (18) – Ty Dellandrea (10)

Esa Lindell (23) – John Klingberg (3)
Jamie Oleksiak (2) – Miro Heiskanen (4)
Joel Hanley (44) – Mark Pysyk (13)

Anton Khudobin (35)
Jake Oettinger (29)

Analyzing the Enemy

The Columbus Blue Jackets shook up the hockey world in January as they traded Pierre-Luc Dubois to the Winnipeg Jets in exchange for Jack Roslovic and Patrik Laine, two players the Stars are very familiar with. The Blue Jackets were active in the offseason as they made multiple trades within a four-day span in October.

Laine has yet to make his debut for the Blue Jackets, but rumblings are that he will play sometime this week. He’s currently listed as day-to-day with an upper-body injury. He did skate on Monday morning, despite no team practice. Laine is an offensive threat and will assist the Blue Jackets whenever he gets on the ice. In his one game played this season, he had a pair of goals and an assist.

Columbus has played 10 games and are 4-3-3 so far but they are near the bottom of the league in goals per game. Laine gives an instant boost to that offense whenever he gets on the ice.

That’s not to say the Blue Jackets aren’t talented without him. Max Domi, Riley Nash, and Mikko Koivu are just a few of the names Stars fans will recognize tonight.

Columbus Lines

Nick Foligno (71) – Max Domi (16) – Oliver Bjorkstrand
Boone Jenner (38) – Jack Roslovic (96) – Liam Foudy (19)
Eric Robinson (50) – Alexandre Texier (42) – Cam Atkinson (13)
Mikhail Grigorenko (25) – Mikko Koivu (9) – Riley Nash (20)

Zachary Werenski (8) – Seth Jones (3)
Vladislav Gavrikov (44) – David Savard (58)
Michael Del Zotto (15) – Dean Kukan

Elvis Merzļikins (90)
Joonas Korpisalo (70)