Although last night wasn’t the best altogether effort on the road, key Dallas Stars are continuing to take games into their own hands and lead by example to keep their team invested for the full sixty minutes.
Dallas struck out in the shootout last night in Florida, which is never the outcome one hopes for in a road game when one’s team is trying to find its stride and get finally ahead.
They didn’t have their ideal outcome the game before in Carolina, either. But in the midst of constructive criticisms and room for improvement, there is one thing that the Stars have been getting right lately, and that’s leadership.
It starts with Jamie Benn, of course, and his pair of goals to pull the Stars back from a disheartening deficit in the first and second periods. But of course, we’ve never doubted Benn’s ability and willingness to carry the team on his back when needed.
However, it seems like that attitude has been bleeding over onto other Stars this season and making a noticeable difference. Alexander Radulov had the primary assists on both Benn’s goals, extending his point streak to nine games and justifying his go-to guy role on Dallas’s top two lines. Almost every time you blink this season, Radulov is acting as the dynamo the Stars have needed offensively.
Defensively, John Klingberg dusted himself off and got back up from a rough personal game against the Canes. He was the Stars’ ice-time leader in Florida and gave a solid performance as a follow up to one that was not. Kari Lehtonen also proved that he could leave it all out on the ice and, despite the loss to the Panthers, was reliable and kept his cool in-net through some high pressure situations.
Of course, there are also players who have been laying the groundwork for success all season. Remi Elie bounced back from being a scratch against Carolina to making his ice-time count against the Panthers by netting the Stars’ first goal.
And then you have players like Greg Pateryn, who have been quietly doing what was needed when it was needed without much show or flash. But putting in solid play night after night, even when the outcome hasn’t swung the Stars’ way, is another kind of leadership skill.
And it looks like key Dallas Stars really are getting the hang of this ‘lead by example’ thing. Hitchcock praised his team after the loss to Florida, lamenting that they really had deserved the two points. You don’t hear that every day.
But Jamie Benn and those who have followed suit to lead by example for a full sixty minutes can cite their efforts as instrumental in achieving that kind of admirable performance, even in the face of a loss.