Dallas Stars Road Trip Went Well Despite Final Results

NEWARK, NJ - DECEMBER 15: Jamie Benn
NEWARK, NJ - DECEMBER 15: Jamie Benn /

The Dallas Stars spent the past week traveling around the Northeast. Though their record was just slightly above average, the team played relatively well. Their next task is translating their energy to the upcoming homestand.

Four games in six days is tough for any hockey team, but it’s even tougher when you are on the road. But the Dallas Stars found a way to grin and bear just that.

The Stars returned to Dallas late Saturday night after a gritty but untimely 2-1 overtime loss to the Philadelphia Flyers. It was only the second OT loss of the season for Dallas and pushed them to a record of 18-14-2 with 38 points.

That 38 points has them sitting in the second wild card spot in the Western Conference playoff race. It’s not the best place to be, but it’s not a bad place either. After all, the fact that Dallas would make the playoffs if the regular season ended today is pretty reassuring. But things are tight in the playoff race and there are still over 40 games left in the season, so don’t get too comfortable.

Dallas helped themselves back into the playoff standings after posting a decent record on their recent Eastern road trip. Over the six day span, the Stars visited the New York Rangers, New York Islanders, New Jersey Devils, and Philadelphia Flyers. It was not an easy trip by any means, but Dallas managed to pull off a 2-1-1 record.

Dallas Stars
Dallas Stars /

Dallas Stars

There were plenty of positives and negatives shown during the trip. For one, the Stars started out on a red-hot note. They severely outplayed both the Rangers on Monday and Islanders on Wednesday and picked up two well-deserved wins.

The Stars downed the Rangers 2-1 in a shootout after NY backup Ondrej Pavelec played perhaps one of the best games of his career. Two nights later, they traveled to Brooklyn and outdid a good Islanders team in a one-sided 5-2 finish.

The Dallas Stars were playing some of their best hockey of the season up to Friday night. But then the wheels came off the bus just a little bit.

Dallas lost their first game of the trip on Friday in a 5-2 final to the New Jersey Devils. The Stars took an inordinate amount of penalties (six, to be exact) and the game winning goal was scored on the power play.

Then they traveled to Philadelphia for the second game of a back-to-back and the final stop of their Northeast tour. The penalties were even more abundant at the Wells Fargo Center, as the Stars took seven total minors in the game. Ben Bishop played well in his first start of the trip, stopping 28 of 30 shots. But he was unable to stop two power play goals from going in after the Dallas PK got hemmed in their own zone.

But besides the penalties and lack of discipline, the Stars brought plenty of energy and effort to each game. There was no game where they were heavily outplayed during the trip, which is good news. Though they may have been a tad sloppy in certain areas of each game, their energy level was good. So if you are looking for a positive, there it is.

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This trip ended up being a good one for the Dallas Stars, though that may not be your initial thought. Yes, they technically lost two of their four games and left three of eight points on the table, but that’s not the point.

The point is that the Stars picked up five points against some of the best teams in the Eastern Conference. All but one of the teams Dallas faced are in a playoff spot, especially the Devils who currently lead the Metropolitan Division.

Dallas took on some tough competition, proved that they can hang with some of the best teams, and vaulted themselves back into a playoff spot in the process. Some tiny mistakes cost them extra points, but those can be learned from and hammered out. A regular season is a learning process, after all.

All in all, the Dallas Stars played a decent road trip and built up some confidence. That confidence will now need to translate into a long homestand. The Stars have been really good at home this year, posting a 10-4-0 record. But they will face off against some of the best teams in the league over the next three weeks on home ice.

Next: Holiday Homestand Gives Stars A Chance To Catch Fire

The road trip went well, but there is still a lot of work to be done. Are the 2017-18 Dallas Stars up to the challenge?