Dallas Stars Have Pieces To Succeed, But Continue OT Slump

The Dallas Stars could arguably have the best overtime setup of any NHL team on paper. But when put into a game setting, the Stars continue to crumble. Why is that and can it be fixed?

Nine regular season games, nine losses. A possible of 18 points cut in half to only nine. This perfectly describes the Dallas Stars’ current overtime woes.

It’s becoming difficult to watch. As the third period winds down and the score is knotted in a typical Stars game, I catch myself gripping at my stomach because I know exactly what is coming next. I’m sure I am not the only one dealing with this.

The Stars have now lost nine straight games in overtime, spanning back to last season. If you include the Stanley Cup Playoffs, it’s 11 straight. This season, Dallas is 0-5 when going to the extra frame. That’s outrageous.

For this season, it all started with a questionable game-winner from the Los Angeles Kings during the second week of the season. Then it was against the Columbus Blues Jackets. Following these two were losses to the Chicago Blackhawks, Vancouver Canucks, and just last night to the New Jersey Devils.

The most cringeworthy fact nestled in each of these losses is that the Dallas Stars have either earned the win in the first 60 minutes or were on the brink of winning early in overtime before the game reached its untimely end.

So here they are. Losers of their last two games (both in overtime) and first five OT chances of the season. What is up and can it be fixed?

The Stars continue to fall flat on their face past 60 minutes and it’s a recurring issue.

It could be that the Stars have yet to grasp the concept of sudden death. For example, in last night’s game, the Devils won because of a simple mistake made by the Stars. The 3-on-3 setting offers a lot of open ice to be used, and the Dallas Stars continue to avoid acknowledging that fact. In the first shift of OT, the trio of Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin, and John Klingberg tested their luck.

After about 35 seconds of controlling play and moving the puck in the offensive zone, Benn and Seguin found themselves too deep in the zone and it sprang a 2-on-1 for New Jersey. You know what happened immediately after.

Against Vancouver, the loss can be chopped up to losing a face-off in the defensive zone. In Chicago, Patrick Eaves had a golden opportunity on the power play with a yawning net, but was denied by Scott Darling just seconds before the Hawks ended the game on the other end. Columbus was a slap shot through traffic. Finally, Los Angeles was on a questionable goal.

Each loss can be blamed on a different area of the Stars’ game. But that cannot continue to hold them back. Nine losses is about eight too many, especially when the Stars are barely holding onto a playoff spot at the moment.

What are some ways to fix it? Well that’s just it. There’s no specific formula to fix all of these different deficiencies besides just stepping their game up in the extra frame and playing smarter.

Another good idea might be for Lindy Ruff to mix up the 3-on-3 lines. Maybe sit Klingberg and replace him with Johnny Oduya or Dan Hamhuis so you have a defensive-minded presence on the blue line. Maybe bump Jamie Benn to the second line and give Antoine Roussel or Patrick Eaves a chance. After all, they have proven that they have an uncharacteristically large amount of chemistry with Seguin on the second even-strength line.

There are a few different ways Dallas can go about improving on their overtime woes. Whichever decisions they end up making need to be the rights ones and need to be made soon. Otherwise, it will be more of the same: pocketing one point and leaving the other on the table.

That’s definitely not a recipe for success.

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