With a potentially light week coming up, the Dallas Stars will need all hands on deck if they truly want to get back into the mix for a playoff spot.
It seems like it’s been forever since we last had to worry about the Dallas Stars making the playoffs in February. But that’s where we are now.
February 6 is here. The NFL has wrapped up another successful season and the Dallas Stars sit five points out of the final wild card spot in the Western Conference.
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After receiving plenty of help on both Saturday and Sunday, the Stars were unable to help themselves out by securing a win and an important two points over the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday night. With all of the other teams losing around them, Dallas could have plotted themselves in tenth place with a serious shot at sliding into eighth in the next few days.
Instead, the Stars missed out on some crucial opportunities and flopped back to twelfth in the conference. Back to square one yet again.
A vicious cycle has seemed to form around the Stars this season. It’s a two step forward, one step back routine, though most of the year it has seemed to be one step forward and two steps back. They cannot build a win streak or finding any sort of consistency to help them along in their plight.
As a result, they have pinballed between tenth and twelfth for the majority of the season.
But over the past few games, there’s been a noticeable change in the Stars’ play. Throughout a six-game homestand, Dallas began playing a high-quality brand of hockey. They went toe-to-toe with some of the best teams in the league and held their own. The only problem is that they weren’t rewarded for it half the time.
The Stars would make one little mistake, whether it be on defense or in net (considering the offense was firing on all cylinders), and it would end up costing them the two points. They finished the homestand 2-2-2. Those results got them nowhere in the playoff race. Now the Stars sit 21-22-10 with 52 points in 53 games.
With 29 games remaining in the season, it’s red-alert mode for the Stars. Five points seems like an easy gap to close, but that can only happen when some wins are strung together. So far this year, Dallas has proven that they cannot do this.
Over the next six games, Dallas will spend five of them on the road. A lot of them are against teams that are a lot like the Stars: either in a playoff spot or fighting for one.
This week, the Dallas Stars will travel to Toronto to take on the Maple Leafs (24-17-9) on Tuesday and finish up the Canadian road trip when they visit the Ottawa Senators (27-17-6) on Thursday. They close the week out at home against the Carolina Hurricanes (24-20-7) on Saturday before heading back out for a three-game divisional trip to Nashville, Winnipeg, and Minnesota.
Each game presents its own challenge for the Stars, and they will have to figure out how to eliminate their mistakes but bring the same energy. They have not only struggled on the road this season, but have also been relatively unsuccessful against the Eastern Conference.
That’s what makes these next three games so big. If (and it’s a very strong “if”) the Stars can find a way to beat the Leafs, Senators, and Hurricanes for a sweep of the week, they will more than likely find themselves right back in the thick of the race. But that’s only if they get 6-6 points.
Now is the perfect time to do it. During that homestand, they had to deal with some of the best teams in the league. Now, they will face teams that they have a lot of similarities with. It will be up to them to prove that they are ready. If not, they may as well pack the season up while they still can.