Three months passed by quite fast and we’re suddenly halfway through the 2018-2019 season, and preparing for bye week and the All-Star game. If the first two months were wild for the Stars, this last month went above and beyond, and not exactly because of the team.
But let’s begin where we left off: a home stand on the first week of December. After a 4-1 win against the Oilers, the Stars hosted the San Jose Sharks and took those two points with a 3-1 win. And then came another road trip, and the team can’t break the curse yet.
This four-game roadie was unsuccessful and messed with the team’s points and their spot in the wildcard (not to mention, it shook some things up within the Stars’ organization). The first stop was Las Vegas, where the Golden Knights took the glory with a 4-2 win. Then a quick trip to the west coast with back-to-back games: Anaheim (6-3) and San Jose, who took those two points back with a 3-2 win. The last stop was Colorado, and even though the Stars truly fought for a win and Tyler Seguin broke his scoring drought (with two goals), the Avs got the victory with a final score of 6-4.
The team flew back to Dallas for two games against Conference rivals. A shutout against the Calgary Flames (2-0) gave the boys a much needed confidence push, followed by a 5-2 win against the Chicago Blackhawks. The fire continued on a one-stop road trip in Minnesota, where the Stars went to OT and our own Alexander Radulov brought fire and drama to the game by scoring the OT winner with 10 seconds left.
The Stars flew back to Dallas immediately after to host the New York Islanders. Back-to-back games with traveling involved are not a good idea, but the league doesn’t really care about that. As a result, the Stars lost 3-1 against the Islanders, but another one-stop roadie brought some fire back to the team: a shutout against the Nashville Predators.
However, the fire extinguished right away, and the Stars had a disappointing two games to end the year. To make it worst, they were home games – those losses hurt a bit more. First came Detroit and a 5-1 loss, and then Montreal on New Year’s Eve with an OT ending (3-2).
But hey, new year, new energy, right? The latest home stand was successful, with a 5-4 win against the New Jersey Devils and an OT win against the defending champions, the Washington Capitals.
“Hey, this doesn’t seem that wild. Why did you say this month was wilder than the previous ones?” Well, it all happened on December 28, when Dallas Stars CEO Jim Lites went on a public rant, ripping Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin for their lack of scoring (and completely ignoring that a team is not comprised by two and there are more people involved off the rink. But whatever).
It was a classless move from Lites, and even though Benn and Seguin managed it with respect and essentially brushed it off, it’s a lose-lose situation for both: if they start scoring now (which they have), then Lites “did the right thing” – if they don’t, Lites was right. However, we’re choosing to focus on the team and their performance and not on what Lites had to say. The NHLPA took care of that.
As for the IR, the list got shorter but not not for long. John Klingberg finally returned to the line-up on December 20, against the Blackhawks, and Connor Carrick came back on December 31 to face the Habs. Jason Dickinson left the game against the Wild on December 22 and was subsequently placed on IR. Sadly, Martin Hanzal went back to IR as he’s still dealing with back problems.
Captain Jamie Benn got a bad hit from New Jersey’s Miles Wood on January 2 and was left out of the game against the Capitals as a precautionary move. He will be back to play against the Jets, so all good here.
The Dallas Stars have two more weeks of games before their mandatory “bye week” from January 21st to January 28 (actually, January 30, when they play against the Buffalo Sabres). Their break leads up to the All-Star weekend, where our very own Miro Heiskanen will join the Central Division team (and quite possible Tyler Seguin as well, if fans vote vote vote).
This is when the Stars begin the playoff push that will hopefully lead to a place beyond the wildcard – and if they stay healthy, they have everything to make it to the post-season.
Photo: Seattle Times (AP Photo/LM Otero)