If a win is a win, then a hot start to a season is a hot start to the season and a very welcomed thing. The Dallas Stars have not taken their time in getting into the swing of things in the standings, as the Stars have captured eight out of 10 possible points. The 4-1 record is a nice start to the season after so many around the team and around the league were unsure what this team could do this season. While it is of course an 82 game season and you can’t predict it by any short stretch, what the Stars have done up to this point has to be raising optimism with fans.
After an impressive season-opener at home against the Chicago Blackhawks, things looked good. But of course that was one game, and the first of the year at that. After a weak effort in game 2 in Chicago, the Stars have won every game since and I think most would agree they have gotten a little better each game. While it is obvious that Kari Lehtonen has carried this team so far and he was by far the Stars best player in 3 or 4 of the games so, the team is slowly forming a little around him. Glen Gulutzan is trying to teach a new system and style to some of these players, and change alone will cause a time of difficulty and learning. So a period of adjustment and transitioning is expected, especially for a team that is changing a lot already. But somehow among all of it, the Stars have started to come together.
The puck movement over the last two games has looked better and like what we hoped to see from the short glimpses we saw in the preseason. The penalty kill has been superb all season so far and is miles above what it was most of the last few seaons. Even the powerplay that struggled so much in the first three games has slowly started to turn a little bit. While there is still plenty of work to be done, things are really looking up. A 4-1 start to the season would have been perfect for me, but a 4-1 start with how they REALLY looked in a few of these games? Now I just feel like the team has stolen away points. And something we learned the hard way last season: every single point counts, and no matter how you earn them they still count come April.
Hopefully the Stars continue the upward climb tonight in Columbus. The team is 100% healthy as far as everyone knows, has had a couple of days over the last week to rest and continue to learn, and will be playing a low team that will be even weaker with one of their star players out. They still are not world-beaters, not yet at least. But continued play like they showed for the most of the last two games will start to earn them recognition and more importantly more points. And right now I think the Stars just want the points more then anything.