The definition of insanity is trying to do the same thing time and time again while expecting a different result. While the team has shown moments of offensive prowess, the Stars still struggle to manufacture goals.
The defense has carried the team this far, but it is time for the offense to hold up their end of the bargain. Scoring 3 goals is almost mandatory in the NHL with all of the talent and depth across the league and the Stars most nights are lucky to score twice. Something has to change. So, how do the Stars go about scoring goals? Let us examine some of the ways to make it happen.
Changing the point of attack on an odd man rush is a valid idea when it works, but when it doesn’t, everyone will say you made the wrong decision. Too many times the Stars are guilty of passing one too many times which allows the defender to get back and break up a scoring chance. Put the puck on net, accurately, and force the goaltender to make a save. The Stars have excelled in the face-off circle this season. Play to your strengths. The goaltender makes a save, you get an offensive zone face-off and can run a set play to get a high quality scoring chance. Also the possibility exists the goaltender makes a mistake and lets a soft goal in. Being aggressive and selfish early on can allow you to wear down the opposing goaltender, much like the Stars did against Anaheim early in the season, which helps the offense produce. This team has goal scoring talent, it is in need of more admittedly, but the talent needs to realize shooters shoot because scorers score.
Change the Lines, One Last Time
Desperate times means you take desperate measures. A constant feature this season has been Monty’s consistent juggling of lines not just game to game, but shift to shift. It has been a source of much criticism of his coaching style, even by me admittedly. However, relying on other people to get the job done for you, a.k.a. Jim Nill, sometimes you create your own scoring depth. Radulov, Heiskanen, Klingberg, Benn, and Seguin have been the primary goal scorers this season. The problem is often times Monty will pair at least 3 of these 5 together putting them all on the ice at the same time. This works great at home because you get the last change allowing you to dictate match-ups. The reason the Stars struggle on the road is because they lack this advantage. All 5 of these players are elite passers and scorers. So, why not get weird on the road and manufacture some match-ups?
Janmark – Seguin – Spezza
Cogliano – Dicksinson – Radulov
Benn – Faksa – Comeau (Once he is healthy)
Hintz – L’Esperance – Gurianov
This is just an example of what Monty can do to try and generate some better match-ups so the other team can’t just load up their defense against one line. Force the other team to pick their poison. Allow a nice mix of speed and play-making ability across the lines and you may gain an advantage to where you can load up your top 5 scoring threats on the ice when you get some sustained zone time.
The team still needs a top 6 forward. The Stars can keep hoping some guys will begin producing at the level that is needed to take this team to the playoffs and beyond, but eventually, you have to realize it won’t work here and move on.
Jim Nill is on the hot seat and if the Stars miss the playoffs again, especially with a collapse in back to back seasons, he will have to find a new place of employment.
Featured Image: David Pollak, Sportspagedfw.com