Without question, the Dallas Stars are playing better hockey now than at the start of the season but after picking up points in twelve straight games, the Stars are now winless in their last four games and unfortunately, this isn’t a new trend for the team.
Through the quarter mark of the season, the Stars have blown 5 late period leads that have resulted in losses. On top of the five thrown away games, the team has already had 6 other loses where they have tallied 0 or 1 goal. When the Stars show up, they are difficult for anyone to contend with, but the problem is what happens when they don’t.
The Stars currently rank in the bottom seven in the entire league in Power Play Scoring, Goals/Game and Goals Against/Game, staggeringly below the league averages in all categories. Rankings compared to a team’s record is one thing, but short and sweet; The Stars are too talented to be not producing offensively. If you watched any Stars Hockey in November, then you are fully aware of what they can do when they are on their game, but it feels like a bigger ask to show up this season that last.
Whether it’s an underdog mindset or situational mentality when they are backed into a corner, Dallas actually looks more like a complete team when things aren’t exactly set up in their favor.
Dating back to last season, they have had over a dozen comeback wins in the third period. The problem isn’t the skillset on the roster or the coaching staff, but it almost seems that they are trying to not lose rather than trying to win.
When the Stars had their month-long points streak, they were patient with what they were given and always looked to make the extra pass. Players seemed to happier, communicating more and “enjoying the chase”. When they start losing games is when they are doing the exact opposite. They dump the puck and chase, force shots and passes that aren’t there, drop their heads on the bench and seem to skate faster to make up for lack of time, but rarely does rushing offensive setups ever work out in anyone’s favor but the defense’s.
The tactics don’t fall on Head Coach Jim Montgomery and it is hard to overlook his frustration in the losses. His game plans always seem to have justification behind them, but the execution by the players isn’t always there. It is the same thing that always comes back to haunt the Stars. Low scoring games where Dobby or Bishop are playing well and carrying the load, but on one sequence they let one by, and the defensive mindset that has been set up can’t switch back to offense quick enough.
With three coaching changes in the last five years, you start to wonder what all is going on upstairs for a lot of the guys on the roster that have been in Dallas for that entire duration. Whether if it is a mental mindset or overall effort, the Stars can’t afford to be a rollercoaster team all season long.
You have to lean on what got you there, but that cannot be goaltending forever. You have to go produce on your own.
Time is now, Dallas.
Featured Image: ABC News