Glad tidings came early for Dallas Stars fans as their 2020-2021 schedule was revealed.
The new Central Division will feature old and new rivals from the east and west fusing into a division. 56 games fill the slate of teams the Stars will love to hate. Get ready for lots of hockey in rapid succession.
The Stars join a division with the Detroit Red Wings, Columbus Blue Jackets, Carolina Hurricanes, Florida Panthers, Chicago Blackhawks, Tampa Bay Lightning, and Nashville Predators.
These will be the only teams the Stars will play unless they make it to the Stanley Cup Semi-Final.
There are no conferences this season which also includes the Conference Final converting to the Stanley Cup Semi-Final (Round 3). There will be no cross-divisional play as the Canada division can’t leave the country due to travel restrictions. That puts the playoffs in a weird position.
The top 4 teams in each division make the playoffs with no wildcards. In the 1st Round or Division Semi-Final, each #1 plays #4 and #2 hosts #3. The winner of each series moves on to Round 2 (Division Final). 1 team will remain from each division in the final 4 or Stanley Cup Semi-Final. It’s currently unclear what the 2 Round 3 matchups will be in terms of division matchups.
For the Stars, each opponent comes in pairs to reduce travel with each mini-series being 2 games.
They start the season on January 14, on the road against the Panthers, followed by another game in Sunrise the following night. For the most part, they will have 4 home games followed by 4 away games to reduce the hockey miles.
The big matchup comes in the form of an unprecedented 8 Stanley Cup Final rematch against the Lightning. Unfortunately, the Lightning will be without elite forward Nikita Kucherov for the entire regular season after having hip surgery. Kucherov is a worthy adversary who recorded 8 points in the Stanley Cup Final against the Stars. These matchups will be real barnburners as it doesn’t seem like 6 games were enough to settle the score between the two teams.
Old division rivals in the Predators and Blackhawks will be joining the Stars in the west/east division mixer. 8 games against a team in a short time frame is quite a lot so all of these teams may become rivals after things are said and done.
The Stars will have a limited quantity of 5,000 fans in attendance while other teams will not have fans at all. Even with a limited quantity, get ready for a raucous crowd during the home opener against the Predators on January 22nd.
It’s crunch time on the season starter and the Stars play 20 days from Christmas Day. They need to get used to their division rivals because they will be seeing lots of them.
Get ready for a playoff-like atmosphere at the American Airlines Center.
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