A breath of fresh air. That is the feeling around the Dallas Stars after posting back to back wins for the first time this season. While the competition is not elite, wins are still wins after the dreadful start to the season for the team.
Confidence is going to be key for the Stars to save their season. The big names began to turn things around October 21st against the Senators. Regardless of their quality of play, some key players have emerged to ease their burden. Ultimately, their contributions will be what defines Dallas’s season.
Denis Gurianov, Finally!
Welcome back to Denis Gurianov. After being unfairly sent back down, the young forward has impressed. October 19th in Philly, Gurianov had his best game of the season. He has yet to find the back of the net, but he is getting pucks on net. His shot on goal led to an Esa Lindell tip in giving the Stars their second power-play goal of the season. Gurianov has addressed the knock on him by being active on both ends of the ice.
Hopefully, his play will continue and the coach will believe in letting the player grow. Gurianov has a lethal speed that makes the Stars dangerous when they exit their zone properly. The elephant in the room for Denis is that he has yet to score a goal. Much like many of the other Dallas forwards, the post has not been kind. If Gurianov continues his strong play, the goals will come. The organization and coach have to be patient and let the young player grow, something they let Roope Hintz have last year. Fingers crossed that the young forward has turned the corner.
Roope Hintz, Obviously
Speaking of Roope, the Finn is the leading goal scorer for the Stars thus far with 6 tallies so far. Roope had a breakout year last season which made this season a tough act to follow. Tough for normal players, but obviously not for Roope who is well on his way to being a superstar in this league. His skating and speed make it easy for the Stars to generate odd-man rushes and set up high scoring opportunities. Dallas has struggled with exits, but when they find Roope, it is money. He is on pace for 60 goals according to Sean Shaprio’s math, it could happen, probably not though.
An underrated part of Roope’s game this season has been his confidence and physicality. Hintz has not shied away from checking opposing players and being aggressive in forcing turnovers. If Roope can continue his goal-scoring prowess and add some defensive skill to his arsenal, he is poised to be a truly special two-way forward. Hintz has many people he can look to in the locker room to aid in his growth, Tyler Seguin being the obvious example. Another player who could be aiding in Hintz’s physicality: fan-favorite Corey Perry.
Corey Perry, You knew it was coming
Welcome to Dallas, Texas Corey Perry. Since his season debut, Corey Perry has added something to the Dallas Stars that was missing. Grit, Grind, greasy, pick the g-word you prefer and that is what Perry has given the Stars. Monty has noticed and praised the veteran forward for his start to the season. 3 points in 3 games is a good way to begin the game, including the dagger to give Dallas a 2 goal lead on October 19th against Philly.
The veteran forward still has much work to do to earn the good graces of the Dallas faithful. But, it is undeniable he brings something to this team they have not had in a few years. He has given the Stars the extra toughness they have been missing this season and last season. It is about having that one guy who makes the other team think about it. Not due to an offensive threat, although Perry does bring that too, he is an irritator. Ryan Reaves, Antoine Roussel, Tom Wilson also fit into this same category. Dallas needed Corey Perry and he is in line to be their best signing of the off-season.
At the end of 1 game, Dallas finds itself with some momentum after a rough start. Dallas started their homestand strong with a win against Ottawa and will need to follow it up with a strong performance on October 24th against the Ducks.
Dallas will need all the confidence the team can get heading into their tilt with Pittsburgh. Benn, Seguin, Radulov, Klingberg, and Pavelski have begun to improve, but still, work to be done to meet their lofty standards.
Perry, Gurianov, and Hintz will need to continue their excellent play. The beginning of the season will become an afterthought if the trio can succeed.
Featured Image: Jeffrey T. Barnes, AP