The wait is over. The preseason has come to a close, in dramatic fashion, for the Dallas Stars. The team erased a two-goal deficit in the third period to win the game in overtime. Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin, and Joe Pavelski made up the goal scorers and that line looked elite.
The goals surrendered were concerning, but good teams find ways to win, Dallas did that. With the season imminent, Stars fans have reasons for optimism and perhaps one reason for concern.
Jamie Benn Back In Form
If the game against Colorado is any indication, Jamie Benn is back. The Captain assisted on a beautiful no look pass to Tyler Seguin to get the Stars on the board. Benn also scored the game-tying goal to force overtime as he went top shelf on an absolute snipe. Fans know Jamie is at his best when he is physical and engaging with the other team. Throughout the preseason, Benn has been just that for the Stars. At a point in the second period, Jamie directed a shot on net that came from Esa Lindell. The shot was going well wide by Benn redirected it right on the net, forcing the puck on net and a save from Grubauer.
After what was a disappointing season for the Captain, by his standards, Benn will be looking for a bounce-back season. He certainly seems ready for the season to begin. If Jamie finds his goal-scoring form and ability to elevate the puck, he is in store for a special season. His production will be key for the Stars if they want to achieve their season goals. At a point in the second period, Jamie directed a shot on net that came from Esa Lindell. The shot was going well wide by Benn redirected it right on net, forcing the puck on net and a save from Grubauer. It was truly vintage Jamie Benn.
Joe Pavelski Fits
The first game Stars fans witnessed in Tulsa with Joe Pavelski on the ice was not pretty. Nothing about the game in Tulsa though was really for the Stars. It has not taken Pavs long however to show flashes of what he can bring to the Stars offensively. Monty has noted how Pavelski has begun to pick up the system. Once Joe has fully grasped and fits into the system, the Stars could have found their 3rd 30 goal scorer.
The veteran forward has averaged over 34 goals the past 6 seasons, with his lowest production being 22 goals in 2017. The Stars offense will be elite if they only get 22 goals out of Pavs. Dallas will potentially have 4 20 goal scorers this season with the potential for more and Pavelski is a big reason why. Pavelski nearly tipped in another goal on a shot from Klingberg, but Grubauer made a nice save. Opportunities like that inspire hope that Dallas will get some easy goals off shots from the point.
Outside of injuries, the one thing that could doom the Stars this season is a lack of discipline. Dallas is a team that is active with their sticks. Unfortunately, the team also takes numerous high sticking penalties that are just unnecessary. The Stars have to keep their sticks glued to the ice to avoid such penalties. Dallas has been plagued by penalties all preseason. The referees are constantly looking to call penalties against the Stars because they know the teams tendencies to commit infractions. It can and will cost them valuable points in the regular season.
Radulov is the most notorious member of the Stars to take penalties. Arguably, his reputation is the reason for the zebras calling these fouls, but regardless, he has to be more aware. It is difficult to tell a player like Radulov to change his style because his relentlessness is what makes him great. Finding the balance between being relentless and being smart is the line Rads and the Stars have to find. Staying out of the box will be key to success for Dallas.
Dallas closed the preseason in dramatic fashion and good feelings heading into opening night. Overcoming a two-goal deficit and controlling the overtime period, helped wash away some of the struggles for the Stars.
Pavelski and Benn both look poised to have All-Star caliber seasons. If Dallas can stay out of the penalty box, there is good reason to believe the Stars will be in the mix to hoist the Cup in June. Its a long season, but hopefully it will be a fun ride for Dallas.
Featured image: Tyler Dellow, TheAthletic.com