After an excellent effort on Thursday night, the Stars find themselves in a good situation with a great opportunity. The Dallas Stars got a dominating win Thursday against the Florida Panthers on the road, by playing good from start to finish on route to a 4-1 win. It was not just a win, but a great effort as the Stars looked better in some area that have been troubling early in the season. They finally outshot their opponents for the first time this season, by a final of 29-28. It is not much but it means that Kari Lehtonen was not having to face a huge barrage of shots to keep them in the game. He has been a constant top performer each game this season, but even in their wins he has been relied upon even more then you would hope for. It is good to know he can do it if needed, but you do not want your goalie having to play like Superman every night. Also the Stars went 4 for 4 on the PK against the Panthers, a great improvement over their 60% PK percentage up to Thursday. Expecting them to be perfect every night is a lot, but playing better on the powerplay will go a long way towards getting more wins like Thursday.
Now the Stars have an amazing opportunity in front of them. Coming back home for 6 straight home games and without the schedule being really busy. 4 games to end out the month, then the first two of November at home as well. The Stars start this stretch with a 5-1 start to the season and being in first place in the division. They have only played two home games to start the season, but picked up a pair of wins. There are a possible 12 points during this home stretch and if the Stars can gain 9 or 10 of those points then it could be a huge, I mean HUGE, start to the season to be up that much over last season. Winning games early and winning at home can build worlds of confidence and only get you off on the right foot. Sure you would like to win them all perfectly and without any flaws, but being able to win period games no matter how can be extremely powerful for a team with a lot of young talent.
It kicks off tonight, as Dallas hosts the Nashville Predators (3-0-3) for the first of four meetings this season. Stars will see a team that I anticipate they can beat. Look for the trio of Wandell, Benn, and Ott that had so much success the other night start the game off as the 3rd line with Wandell playing center and Benn on the left wing for tonight. Fistric and Sutherby will be scratches again as coach Crawford wants to reward the good play of Thursday night and give Woywitka and Barch more playing time. Check back tomorrow morning (or late hours tonight) for my thoughts on the game.