The Dallas Stars are having an identity crisis this season. When they’re at home, they have high energy, score more goals and win more games than they lose, including their recent eight-game winning streak at the American Airlines Center. However, when they were on the road, they struggled with every aspect of the game. If the Stars are going to make it through to the knockout stages, they’ll need to find a way to get it done against Dallas.
The road stats of the stars are very poor
It’s no secret why the stars haven’t had success on the road. They currently have a 4-8-1 record and have lost their last three matches, scoring only five goals in total in those matches. While scoring has been a common problem for this team for years, their ability to score on the road is even more alarming. In 13 road games this season, Dallas has been trailing 45-28, including a staggering 20-7 difference in the second half. At home, they overturned the scenario, taking the lead over the opponent with a score of 41-28. So what’s the problem?
“There’s always been a big commitment in all three areas of the ice,” Joe Pavelski says. “You can’t take everything for granted. It was a tough tournament. There are good teams out there and you will see a lot of them nightly. It’s just the big time commitment every night in certain areas. Poke your nose in it, take one shot to do one play, give it deep. The little things make it harder for teams to go 200 feet.”
While it sounds simple, Pavelski describes their problems on the road perfectly. The struggles don’t just come from their ability to attack, defend or score, but they stem from their lack of energy and consistent play across all three areas of the game. For whatever reason, they don’t often deliver the same teamfights in top lane. If you need more proof of that, take their 0-5-1 record when the opponent scores first.
While scoring first in the NHL is an important key to success, it’s not automatic for any team. However, Dallas has failed to recover after conceding the first goal in all six attempts this season. That means that regardless of what players may say, they simply let that first punch knock them down.
Dealing with adversity is something the Stars have struggled with throughout the season. When you’re on the road, adversity is magnified with family crowds roaring and everything seems to go 100 miles per hour. However, this is a team that has built a reputation for its ability to deal with adversity. In the 2020 Stanley Cup final, Dallas handled it better than any team in the league. Despite constant injuries, illnesses, bad luck, and game-changing matches, they always seem to find a way to pull it off. It’s a team built for long-term success.
Unfortunately, this season has been the complete opposite. Every time they had a chance to fight back after the first punch, they seemed to dodge instead, letting the opponent take over from below them. What was once a feeling of trust from their fans is now beset by suspicion, which is clearly on the minds of the players.
The stars see the light at the end of the tunnel
Good news in all of this? There have been signs of improvement so far. Despite not having won mentally in professional sports, the Stars have shown growth in their road matches over the last week or so. In Vegas, they took a two-goal lead in the third half before a Golden Knights team determined to find their way back, while in San Jose they played perhaps their best game of the whole season despite being unable to find it. see the net.
“It was the best road game we’ve played all year, and the feeling on the bench and the feeling in the room, we felt so good about the game, we just didn’t score.” Stars head coach Rick Bowness said. “That’s how we have to play.”
So what’s the solution? Is it as simple as getting more depth points? Will the return of Roope Hintz cured solve their problems? Do they need to score better on the road? do Jamie Benn Need to assert your dominance again? The list of questions can keep repeating. The first step in this process is finding a way to play with more energy and grit on a consistent basis. From there, the rest often have a way to solve it on their own.
Sam Nestler is a Dallas Stars contributor to ‘The Hockey Writers’. Growing up in New Jersey, Sam has been playing hockey since he was 7 years old. Developing a love of writing in college, Sam uses his hockey knowledge to create analyzes and articles on every aspect of the game. Sam also hosts his own podcast on Spotify, the “Slapshot Sammy” podcast, which breaks down the action on the NHL and NCAA. Watch podcasts here, and read his latest article!
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