Dallas Stars: Losing Streak Signaling Dark Times Ahead
The Dallas Stars went from playoff contenders to a chance at a top five draft pick in a matter of a week or so. This losing streak may as well have them mathematically eliminated.
10 days. That’s how long it’s been since the Dallas Stars last tasted sweet victory. And no, there has not been any league-wide event that has caused a shutdown for a scheduled number of days. The Stars have had plenty of opportunities to win over the past 240 hours. They just haven’t.
Yes, I’m talking about the team that hosted a game seven in the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs exactly seven months ago tomorrow. It’s crazy how quickly things change.
But that’s how it is. The Stars are now eight points out of the final playoff spot in the West and are just about out of daylight. There are still 27 games in the season, but the Stars would need to go on a highly improbable run while receiving a little bit of help along the way to salvage their hopes.
Yet just six days ago, they were a mere four points out and were still very much in the talk. What happened?
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Well, a four game losing streak happened. The Stars rattled off losses to the Winnipeg Jets, Chicago Blackhawks, Toronto Maple Leafs, and Ottawa Senators in a span of seven days. The disappointing part was that Dallas realistically had a chance in all four games and played well. Just tiny errors and a lot of bad luck converted to gaining 0/8 points.
This losing streak puts a large dent in a Dallas Stars season that seems like nothing more than a scary nightmare. At least that’s what Stars fans would hope for.
But as we’ve seen in the past, losing streaks are not fun, believe it or not. They not only take away a team’s confidence, but also largely contribute to killing playoff runs.
Back in the 2014-15 season when the Stars were expected to do great things just as they were this year, they flopped. They finished the season 41-31-10 with 92 points, which held them to seven points out of the final playoff spot in the West.
As the offseason settled in, people in Dallas tried to pinpoint one exact instance where it all went wrong for their hockey club. Sure the defense was subpar at best and they played the majority of the season with only one goaltender who turned in one of the worst seasons of his career, but surely there was something else.
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Many blamed it on Tyler Seguin‘s knee injury that benched him for 11 games and took an effective offensive force out of the lineup in February during a critical point in the season. That actually turned out to be part of it.
The primary reason the Stars fell short in 2014-15 was due to a few mistimed losing streaks. They kicked the year off with a shootout loss to the Chicago Blackhawks after playing a quality game, and it all seemed to go slowly and steadily downhill from there.
At the end of October 2014, the Stars kicked off what would turn into a six-game losing streak (0-4-2) that would heavily contribute to them getting behind in the standings early in the year and forcing them to try and dig back to the surface.
Then the Seguin injury came along on Feb. 13, 2015. Seguin would miss 10 games, and the Stars would miss him dearly. Dallas endured a skid that was identical to the one at the beginning of the year (0-4-2). That skid would bury the Stars for good as they were never able to surmount it and get back in the standings, though they fought hard in a valiant push during the month of March.
But two losing streaks really scarred the Stars. There was also a four game losing streak (0-2-2) and a few three-game streaks mixed in, but the two bulky ones took the biggest shots at Dallas.
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The ugly start at the beginning of the year was a large topic of discussion during the Stars’ exit interview day following their season finale (when Jamie Benn won the Art Ross Trophy, just in case you needed a pick-me-up). The players and coaching staff extensively preached about finding consistency and getting out to a fast start.
They did just that in 2015-16, starting the season on a 12-3-0 run and not suffering back-to-back losses until early Jan. 2016. That team ended up winning the Central Division and claiming the top spot in the Western Conference. Remember the good ole days?
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But the fact of the matter is that this current losing streak may as well be considered the final nail in the Stars’ coffin. While they haven’t suffered any six-game skids just yet (stay tuned), their inconsistency this year has really put them in a bind. Don’t forget that the six-game streak that killed the Stars two seasons ago happened around the same time that this one is.
As painful as it may be to think about, now may be a good time to pack it up and look forward to next season. The Dallas Stars are in no means a bad team right now. They just had some mismanagement and misfortune lead them astray this year. On paper, this is a quality group. They just need to to execute. And come next October, they could be lethal yet again. It all depends on how the offseason goes. If we know one thing about Jim Nill, it’s that he loves the offseason.
But this losing streak has locked Dallas up and practically thrown away the key. At this point, it may not even be worth it to try and get out. Just re-rack and keep their heads high.
That’s the problem with losing streaks. There’s absolutely nothing good about them, at least up front. But down the road, they can prove to be the perfect wake-up call. Let’s hope that this one is.