Quality of Opponents
The Dallas Stars got off to a subpar start and find themselves last in the Central. However, they have played significantly fewer games than their opponents due to positive Covid-19 tests right before the season started. They played in their first contest of the season on January 22, nine days after the season started. They were off to a perfect four-win start.
Dallas won two contests against the Nashville Predators and then the Detroit Red Wings for another four points. However, Nashville and Detroit are two of the four teams who are not in the playoff picture in the Central. So, their wins have come against weaker teams. At this point in the season, they have only won one contest against a team within the playoff picture. In games against top-four teams, they have a 1-5-4 record.
Perhaps this is due to the absence of players. The Stars’ number one center, Tyler Seguin, suffered an injury to his hip during the Stanley Cup Playoffs and has not appeared since. Also, winger, Alexander Radulov, was placed on the injured reserve because of a lower-body injury in the first week of February.
Additionally, their starting goaltender, Ben Bishop, had knee surgery in the offseason and will not be available until mid-March or April. The absences of these players may prevent them from competing with top-tier teams.
The Stars have not played as many games as other teams in their division. They started their season late and had another long pause in February. The lack of consistency in their schedule may hurt them because of a weird routine. With that said they have a superior point percentage than many of their opponents.
The Columbus Blue Jackets, Nashville Predators, and Detroit Red Wings all have point percentages lower than .500. Dallas has a point percentage of .500 exactly so they have played better than these three teams in this sample size.
Poor Play Beyond Regulation
The Dallas Stars simply have not been able to win following regulation. They are 1-2 in games ending in overtime and winless in the shootout. All these losses add up to their poor record this season.
They have only won twenty percent of games that went beyond three periods. Perhaps if their roster was completely healthy, they would be able to walk away with more points.
Performance in the 2020 Playoffs
There is the so-called championship hangover that often affects many teams that go the distance. The Stars fell just short of Lord Stanley in August and seemed wore down at its conclusion. It is possible that even their healthy players are not at full strength.
It must also be noted that Dallas has one of the older rosters in hockey. Perhaps going for the Cup last year took such a toll on them that it has hindered their ability to perform this year.
Can They Rebound And Make The Playoffs?
Dallas’ playoff hopes are dependent on how long it takes for teams like the Florida Panthers and Chicago Blackhawks to come back down to earth. These two teams are overperforming and management has pressed all the right buttons resulting in success.
For instance, the Blackhawks showed confidence in a rookie goaltender, Kevin Lankinen. Lankinen is now in the Calder and Vezina conversation rightfully so. Laankinen and the Blackhawks can win on any given night. So not only do the Stars have to improve their play, other teams have to cool off allowing Dallas to make up lost ground.
Can the Stars get back to the playoffs or will they miss out? Leave your thoughts in the comments section down below.