Time flies when you have fun and go through ups and downs (some very low downs), right? That’s the feeling now that we are two months deep into the 2018-2019 regular season. Last month was a tough one with some really bad losses on the road and a couple of injuries within the team. This second month also had some big losses and, sadly, more additions to the injured reserve.
After losing in OT to the Boston Bruins on November 5, the Stars faced the Columbus Blue Jackets and failed to take those two points, with a 4-1 loss. The boys flew back home for three games, starting with the San Jose Sharks. The Sharks are one of those teams everyone is playing close attention to this season thanks to the Erik Karlsson trade. Let us not forget that San Jose now has two of the best defensemen in the league: Brent Burns and Erik Karlsson. Even so, the Dallas took those points with a 4-3 win.
Then came the Nashville Predators, probably the biggest division threat. The Stars were not intimidated by that and gave a good fight – metaphorically and literally – and pushed the game to OT… with the Preds scoring the winning goal (5-4). After losing against the Blue Jackets for the second time (2-1), the Boston Bruins came to visit and the Stars took those two points back (1-0 OT).
And then, another road trip, and with it came a lot of worry from Stars’ fans because, as we have mentioned many times before, our beloved team doesn’t have the best record on the road. But we still hope for the best every time they get on that plane.
First stop: New York. Back-to-back games against the New York Islanders and the New York Rangers, with a big win against the Islanders (6-2, thank you very much) and a loss against the Rangers (2-1). The team then flew to Pittsburgh and brought back zero points and heartache with a 5-1 loss. They made up for that one, though: they came back home for one game against the Senators and won 6-4.
But immediately after that it was time to go on the road again: Colorado, Edmonton, Calgary, and Vancouver. It didn’t begin as we would have liked, with a 3-2 loss against the Colorado Avalanche and a 1-0 OT loss against the Edmonton Oilers, but the Stars broke the back-to-back curse of-sorts with an OT win against the Calgary Flames (4-3). With a 2-1 win against the Canucks, the Stars came out of this roadie 2-1-1. Just yesterday (December 3), the Oilers and Ken Hitchcock came to visit but we not-so-politely took those points with a 4-1 win (with some good fights here and there, as it should).
Meanwhile, the injured reserve welcomed new members and reactivated others. Alexander Radulov came back on November 12 to play against the Blue Jackets and scored the only goal. John Klingberg is out for at least four weeks (in theory, he should be back soon but it was a broken hand so… yeah, it will be more than four weeks) after being injured on November 8 during the game against the San Jose Sharks.
Ben Bishop was out for almost two weeks after sustaining a lower body injury during the game against the New York Rangers. Landon Bow was recalled from the Texas Stars as backup, with Monty relying heavily on Anton Khudobin, starting him game, after game, after game. Khudobin was pulled halfway through the second period during the matchup against the Pittsburgh Penguins, with Bow making his NHL debut. Bishop was reactivated from IR and came back on December 1st to say “hello” to the Vancouver Canucks.
As previously mentioned, Radulov came back on Nov. 12 and on that same game Devin Shore was injured and left the game early. He was reactivated from IR on November 23, in time to face the Senators. Connor Carrick, Marc Methot, and Stephen Johns are still out indefinitely but Martin Hanzal’s return it getting closer and closer.
If last month was a ride due to some really bad losses and some really good wins, this second month was a wild ride due to all the injuries – but the kids are doing alright, for the most part. Klingberg’s presence is truly missed, and the team is still trying to adapt to his absence when it comes to the penalty kill and power play units (which have not been the best, if we’re completely honest). Among the positive points is that Tyler Seguin’s goal drought came to an end on Nov. 8 against San Jose, so there’s that.
Our current scoring leaders are Tyler Seguin with 26 points (8 goals, 18 assists), Jamie Benn with 24 (12 goals, 12 assists), and Alexander Radulov with 22 (9 goals, 13 assists). The Dallas Stars currently hold a wild card spot on the Western Conference, standing at #5 with 33 points, right behind the Calgary Flames.
If we can get rid of the injury bug (and other bugs), the Stars can hold that spot for longer or even climb higher on the list (please do). Until then, we hope our injured boys heal soon and we have all the gang back on the ice.
Now please enjoy this video, because if you mess with one, you mess with the rest.
It’s simple: you don’t touch Spezza. Nor Hintz. #GoStarspic.twitter.com/urtUGWcmVB
— Stars Nation (@StarsNationDAL) December 4, 2018