The Dallas Stars have proven that they can bounce back from disappointment and, headed into bye week, want to try to get ahead in the points race- or at least, not fall behind.
Although the Stars failed to pull out a win against the Blue Jackets on Tuesday, the made it clear that they have no intentions of falling down and staying down. Their follow-up game against the Devils could have ended in a very similar fashion, but the Stars demonstrated tenacity, determination, and that ever-illusive mental toughness that wins games and seasons as a whole.
As they move on to take on the Oilers, the Stars without doubt are looking forward to the bye week break that they’ll have next week. However, at this point in the season, we are all conscious of how time is working for or against us. With a 23-16-3 record and within 2 points of the competition in the first wild card spot, the Stars are secure for now, but it may not stay that way all week.
The Ducks and Wild both are only a win away from taking over that spot, with several other teams also within grasping distance. So heading into break, Dallas will want to be confident enough in the outcome of their preceding games that they don’t lose any sleep over what could have been as other teams work to close their own wild card gaps.
So the name of the game today is going to be assurance. How badly do the Stars want to pad their position with points so that their standing is more comfortable than tight? Their play this afternoon will be the deciding factor.
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And there are some moving cogs working in the Stars’ favor. Ben Bishop comes off a solid game and will start in net today, hopeful of a repeat performance. The Stars have really gotten great recent effort all around from players who are just as eager individually as they are corporately to take the Stars as far as they can go this season.
This game will wrap up a six game homestand for the Stars, and the momentum that they’ve built up at home with five out of six wins can work to their favor today as well. Homestands have been the Stars’ stage to shine on this season.
The Oilers have not been lucky at home. They’ll be coming off a homestand tonight with a 1-2-1 record behind them and a five game roadtrip ahead of them. Having only scored one goal across their last three games (they won Thursday against the Ducks 2-1 in a shootout), their firepower is not as strong as it could be.
However, we are all also aware of the Dallas Stars effect- that is, that struggling teams (historically the offense or the goalie, or even both) find their mojo when pitted against the Stars. Still, Dallas has done well in recent games proving that they’re resisting the temptation to play on the level of their opponent, which has been a common downfall of the Stars in the past.
Within the last few weeks, Dallas has worked quite hard to take their play up a few notches and earn their current spot. But things are about to cool down for the Stars for an entire week. Let’s try to ignore the dread of our own week-long misery for one more day and enjoy what will most likely be a high-energy, high-stakes game for the Stars.