The Dallas Stars are clearly ready to pull themselves out of their pre-dug hole, but their current mentality will not take them as far as they want to go.
Last night, we as Dallas Stars fans witnessed (or fell victim to, whichever term you prefer) a crazy scoring war which left us dazed and confused, albeit pleased with the general result.
It was clear that the Stars had become tired of the same old song and dance that had left them in the loss column game after game. Something had to give. And give it did. But not in the holistically honed and perfectly crafted way we were hoping for, either.
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In order to pull themselves out of repeated losses, the Stars reverted to the mindset of simply outscoring their opponents. A game of goal chasing ensued. The Stars netted seven goals over the course of two periods.
Jamie Benn snapped out of his points slump, Cody Eakin atoned for and vindicated himself for his past wrongs against the Rangers, and Patrick Sharp finished one goal shy of a hat trick. The game’s theatrics were as high as its final score.
But in addition to scoring seven, the Stars also conceded 6 over the course of three periods. In a game that saw all four goalies get ice time, it was the furthest thing from a defensive showdown conceivable. Still, the Stars’ philosophy remained centered on the offensive. If you can’t defend your way to a win, you can still certainly score your way to one. And the Stars did.
While we are pleased with the end result (but perhaps not the highs and lows in between), many of us are probably pondering the same thing: is such a win philosophy sustainable? In more than one way, I would contest that it is not.
First of all, the simple reason is that our nerves can’t survive it. Although it was a fast-paced, high action game that was not short on adrenaline, it was taxing- emotionally for viewers and I’m sure physically and mentally for the team. On top of the win, Johnny Oduya still came out with an injury which is yet to be assessed further, and we suffered yet another instance of a confidence collapse and a starting-goalie pull.
Despite the drawbacks, we’ve seen this system work before in seasons past. Back before the tandem system, the Stars were even weaker on the defensive end than they are now, with no real backup to speak of. They got through the 14-15 season simply on their scoring merit and Jamie Benn’s sheer force of will.
While Benn’s willpower may need to take a season off from carrying the team safely to the season finish line, this score-all end-all approach may not be the route this season needs, either. Realistically, it could carry them through to the end of the season. But this was the run that was supposed to plant their flag firmly in playoff soil.
Here after game 46, though, those hopes are tempered with some sense of reality. The Stars need to go on a major winning streak and keep it up if they still want those dreams recognized. Can scoring an upwards of 4 and more goals every night get them there? Perhaps.
But will it carry them through a sustained playoff run? In many cases, playoff games are decided more heavily by the mental toughness of goalies and defensive corps. One-ended teams can make it in the playoffs, sure, but only balanced teams seem to make it out alive and hoisting the cup.
Don’t worry; there’s still good news here, folks. The Dallas Stars seem to have got their scoring mojo back. They just need to realize, and quickly, that it is not all they will need to find if they want to hang on to their high hopes for this offseason.