It’s not turning out as a December to remember for the Dallas Stars.
Three wins in six games is right at .500 which is harmful in the long run for division title aspirations. Plenty of games are ahead this month, with lots of opportunities to right the ship at home. They’ll spend Christmas at home but won’t be home for the Holidays as two of three remaining away games sandwich the Christmas break.
Colorado is ahead for the division lead in points, but the Stars have the points percentage advantage. 2023 is soon coming to a close on a great Stars year. Once the calendar hits 2024, then it’s crunch time for the season. Ending December strong is vital to this season’s success.
Two road losses in Florida did not help the cause, losing 4-0 to the Lightning and 5-4 to the Panthers. The shootout win in Washington saved the trip from being a total disaster. The Golden Knights are the bane of the Stars’ existence, but the season series is finally over. An 0-1-2 record against the team that Won the Stanley Cup and ended their season last year didn’t develop the revenge trait needed to prove a point. Two statement wins against the Lightning with eight goals, and the Red Wings scoring six against them show that a bad night won’t be commonplace.
Leaders of the Way
It’s no shock that the top line is putting up the biggest numbers. Hintz, Pavelski, and Robertson are all averaging one point shy of their usual point-per-game pace. The biggest impact so far is the depth led by Matt Duchene. Duchene is 4th on the team with 21 points, proving himself a worthy acquisition. Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin are also proving themselves by being right behind him with 20 and 19 points, respectively. The offense is providing respectable numbers that are consistent every night.
Rest of December
Only one Eastern Conference team remains on the 2023 schedule, and they’re up next. The Stars will host the struggling Ottawa Senators then whisk off to St. Louis the next day. Plenty of division games are coming up, including two at home to close out the year against the Blackhawks. They’ll play on the road on the 23rd and 27th, presumably coming home for Christmas in between. Teams are usually forbidden from travel or “team activities” on Christmas Eve, Day, and Boxing Day. The travel schedule is difficult with swings in Dallas>St. Louis>Dallas over this next week. Another swing with the two consecutive road games before and after Christmas includes Dallas>Nashville>Dallas>St. Louis>Dallas.
The Stars are showing spurts of good hockey despite their 3-3 record this month. Things could change for better or worse but must occur for the better for division title hopes. According to a popular Canadian betting site, the Stars have odds of 12-1 to win the Stanley Cup at this point in the season. Only one point and one game separate the Stars and Avalanche, so the Stars need to close out a strong year. Hockey in 2023 is coming to an end shortly, and 2024 could be the Stars’ year.
Photo: Dallas Stars X