Somehow, the Dallas Stars have managed to avoid the slump to this point. It’s unfortunate that it had to come now, at a time where points are just as tight but seemingly more volatile as we get closer to the end of the season.
The good news is they could lose the top position in the pacific division, not necessarily a playoff spot. The bad news is there isn’t much difference between the two at this point. Extend this slump for 2-3 more games and the could go from first in the Pacific to below the playoff threshold looking in.
The good news is they are showing signs of escaping this slump and if they do it now they could escape unscathed. The Stars strength has been their depth at the forward position. Couple that with solid goaltending and you have a team good enough to lead their division halfway through the season. But the injuries they are taking are all up front and it’s all but crushed that depth at this point. Rumor has it that Benn could be out for a while, but Wandell and Petersen could be back in the next couple weeks. Barch and Burish are being evaluated and could return soon or later depending on how bad their fractures around the eye are. If the fractures threaten the integrity of the eye, then they could be out for a while, but if we are lucky and they don’t then they could be back pretty quick.
The good news is that the d-corp is pretty healthy and if Daley can get back on the track he was on before the slump started and Robi and Grossman can get back to their top notch play then we could see our backend dig us out of a hole.
The game in Philly was tough. They played well and thanks to another shorthanded goal they saw a hole they failed to dig out of, again.
This is where they are missing the likes of Jamie Benn who was a staple in both the powerplay and the penalty kill. You don’t realize how quietly great the kid is on all segments of the game until he’s injured.
The next test will be against a beatable Phoenix team and then followed that up by Chicago and Columbus; two more games that they could win if they play the right way.
This is the perfect chance for them to break their bad habits and put some more space between themselves and the rest of the conference. Phoenix is a huge game between two divisional foes. Look for the Stars to play with heart.