The road continues to haunt the Dallas Stars. That will be a serious problem in the month of March.
Only 18 games remain in the Dallas Stars’ 2016-17 regular season, and for some, the end cannot get here quick enough.
That’s because this year has just not been the Stars’ year. It’s been a far cry from what people expected at the beginning of the season, and that has led many to sit and wonder where it all went wrong.
Their play has been inconsistent, their lineup has been inconsistent, and the results have been harshly inconsistent. Instead of sitting atop the Western Conference as they were one year ago, the Stars sit with a record of 25-29-10 with 60 points.
That’s good enough for eleventh place in the West and has them eight points out of the final wild card spot with games out of hand and four other teams in the race. In other words, the odds are not in their favor.
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And with only 18 games remaining, it doesn’t look like those odds are going to change any time soon.
On Thursday night, the Dallas Stars suffered a monumental collapse at home against the New York Islanders. It was the final game of a five-game homestand, and the Stars were trying to go out on a high note while also potentially narrowing their playoff gap to five points.
Throughout the first 30 minutes of the game, it looked as though they would have no problem in doing so. Through slick passing and unbelievable evasive maneuvers (*cough* Radek Faksa *cough*), the Stars jumped out to an early 3-1 lead and made it look easy.
The only problem is that they made the collapse look even easier. After giving up one goal in the second period, Dallas proceeded to give up three more in the third period to give the Islanders a commanding 5-3 lead. Jamie Benn scored shorthanded towards the end of the game, but it still wasn’t enough as the Stars coughed up another valuable two points.
Now they are heading far away from the AAC. Though it is only a brief two-game trip, it is a sign of what’s to come for the Dallas Stars. 12 of their next 15 games will be on the road. With the way the Stars have played away from home this season, they may as well surrender now.
The Stars are 7-18-4 on the road this year, including 0-6-0 in their last six trips.
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This is a sharp contrast to their road record in the recent past. Last season, the Stars went 22-12-7 away from home. Two years ago, they finished the year 24-15-2. In other words, they typically thrive in other buildings. This year, that has not happened, and it’s one of the many things that are killing the Stars and their playoff hopes.
Dallas now heads out on the road with two games to face before heading back home. The first stop is tonight in Florida to take on the Panthers, while the second is in D.C. on Monday against the Capitals (who have not lost at home in 2017 yet).
With the Panthers still very much involved in the playoff hunt and the Capitals dominating their home slate, it might be wise to not expect much from the Stars on this trip. Especially when keeping in mind what happened on Thursday night.
Things have just about reached a tipping point for the Dallas Stars, and this road trip could quickly do them in. With their playoff hopes taking blow after blow, it’s only a matter of time before they are out of the picture. Considering their struggles on the road this season, they could be out of the picture in the next 60 hours or so. Stay tuned.