The Dallas Stars have quickly gone from a big surprise and starting to get some recognition, to now just being another team in the middle of all the mess in the West. They still sit on top of the Pacific as of this afternoon, but their lead has disappeared and they now are tied with the Sharks. Going 1-5-1 over their last seven games will do that. Now three points separate them and the 8th spot in the conference and only five points are between them and the Kings who sit last in the division.
The game tonight is not just a game against a team fighting to get in the playoffs, it is possibly the most needed win so far this season. The team has been in free-fall mode for the last two weeks, and it is getting scary. Both sides of the Stars special teams have gone from being great in December and most of January to just playing like crap. The powerplay has returned to their beginning of the season form, going 1-for-22 over the those seven games, while the PK has gone 14-for-22 on the kill in the last six games. They have at times played good even strength hockey over this stretch, but so many games in this league come down to one or two crucial kills or powerplay goals. And when you are getting neither, then don’t expect to win games. The only bright spot during this stretch has once again been Brad Richards. The guy has 5 goals and 9 assists in his last 12 games and just continues to a couple of times a night create offense, even when the team is having a bad night. Now if the Stars can get some bodies healthy and get the 2nd and 3rd lines going again, then they could at least outscore everyone.
And oh yeah, tonight is also the return of former Star Marty Turco. Whoops almost forgot that one. I’m kidding. This will be big within the AAC tonight. Turco was the goalie for the Stars for almost a decade and was one of the leaders of the team. This will be his first start against the Stars since signing with the Chicago Blackhawks in the offseason. The former champs (my 2nd favorite team if you have forgotten) are having a rollercoaster year. Injuries to big names early, inconsistency now. They come in on the outside of the top 8 right now, but only a few points away from the last couple of spots. Good thing for the Stars may be that Chicago is struggling too. They come in only winning two of their last 6 and being 1-for-15 recently on their PP. But you know they will be charged up to come in to Dallas and try to show their strength, not to mention Turco will be fired up to face his former mates and fans. For a Blackhawks preview, check out Blackhawkup.com
Tonight is also the Stars Money on the Board night. The drive has been going decent. Click here for the details and join in if you want! We will still take pledges on the game until the puck drops and after that you can still donate without any stipulations on the game.