A tale of two teams. Where have we heard that before? Oh, you are new here to Dallas Stars hockey eh? Have a seat. We like to have fun here. (Sometimes. Other times we are mental.) Actually, let’s be honest. This Stars franchise makes us all mental. See how I am now having a conversation with myself? Either way, the Stars have faced some of the top teams in the league over their five-game winning streak, and Tuesday night’s 4-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes was no different.
On a night where head coach Rick Bowness celebrated his astounding 2,500th NHL game the Dallas Stars’ black ace Roope Hintz, nearly stole the entire show pocketing his first NHL hat-trick. The first of the three goals came within the first 75 seconds of play putting him alongside captain Jamie Benn for a unique stat. Hintz would go on to score in the second and third period respectively to round out the hatty.
Coach Bones would draw the ire of fans as the news came out that Brayden Holtby would be in net for his 500th NHL game instead of the red-hot Jake Oettinger. Stars fans, including myself to a degree, have had a microscope on Bones. Eagerly waiting for the head coach to make a move so we could jump on Twitter and throw our hissy fits. Arms and legs flailing. This was the move that set the fire, and thankfully for our sake, Stars fans could not have been more wrong as Holtby would go on to play one of the most impressive games in the NHL this season.
Holtby put on a stellar display on Tuesday night, capping it off with one of the most insane sequences you will see by man between the pipes.
The Stars are playing their best hockey after a brutally shaky start going as far as being the last team in the NHL with a regulation win. Stars fans are being treated to the type of hockey that we expected to see going into this season and while it is refreshing, there are still concerns.
Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin, and Alexander Radulov have become nearly invisible at times thanks to the solid play out of the aforementioned Hintz, along with Jason Robertson, and Miro Heiskanen. If you are a stats freak then you will know that Joe Pavelski, who is on his last year of a 3-year contract, leads to the team in points. While that isn’t a bad thing by any means, the production out of the former trio of the Stars top-line has been on a steady decline. Radulov is also in a contract year like Pavs but has only produced 9 points in 20 games (1G-8A). That single goal for Rads was in a shootout. Not ideal.
Seguin and Benn occupy $19.3 million dollars over the next three years. Not ideal.
Three. More. Years. At that amount, the productivity has to be noticeable on the ice and on the stat sheet. It has not this season and has not in quite some time. While I am high on this team during this winning streak, there is still much work to do. The trade deadline is always looming and it leaves one to think what this Stars front office has up their sleeve. For now, Stars fans can take a slight shred of solace into Thursday night when they face the Columbus Blue Jackets at home in the American Airlines Center. It seems as if the closed-door players-only meeting has worked for now and this team is buying into whatever system the coaching staff has instilled in them. It’s a fun time to be a Stars fan but let’s have a chat in two weeks and see where we all stand. Mental mayhem.