Dallas Stars Finish Winless Road Trip, Face Nightmarish Path Ahead

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 20: John Carlson
WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 20: John Carlson /

Why it’s happening can be blamed on a few different things. But there’s no denying it: the Dallas Stars dropped an egg on their recent road trip. And now their playoff hopes look bleaker than ever.

On Feb. 16, the Dallas Stars knocked off the St. Louis Blues at home in a critical divisional showdown. The Stars escaped with the two points and, after months of chasing, finally claimed sole control of third place in the Central Division.

Seems like that was ages ago, right?

Since that day (which in all reality was only a little over a month ago), the Stars have absolutely tanked. They own a record of 4-8-4 and are stuck in a brutal cycle of coming up short in every game.

Their most recent skid came with their longest road trip of the season. Through the six-game swing, Dallas posted a horrific 0-4-2 mark. They closed out the trip with a disappointing 4-2 loss to the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday and a 4-3 loss to the Washington Capitals on Tuesday.

And while the Stars played well in both games and finally began showing signs of life, they came up short. No points when they needed four.

The road trip had a bit of an unfamiliar and brutal tinge to it. As the Stars opened the six-game slide, it looked as though they were in good shape. There were two games against opponents outside of the playoff picture and Dallas had a solid recent history against two of the other opponents. After winning their final home game on Mar. 9 against Anaheim, they looked prepared to keep their grasp firm on a postseason spot.

But throughout the course of the trip, we saw three different versions of the Dallas Stars. They were:

1)  A Stars team that fell asleep and fell behind early on, tried to rally back, but lost

2) A Stars team that burst out of the gate, held a narrow lead, but choked it away at the end and lost

3) A Stars team that played well for the entire game, but gave up one soft goal that made all the difference and lost

If you watched all six games, you can probably pinpoint which of the Stars teams above showed up in the contests. The common thread between all three teams? Losing.

It started with two regulation losses, transitioned to two overtime losses, and finished with two more regulation losses.

There were a few things that went wrong for the Stars during their time away from home. Throughout the trip, they could never get everything clicking. Some nights the offense was stagnant while the defense and goaltending held on as long as they could (like in the 3-1 loss to Pittsburgh). On other nights, the offense and special teams showed up while the defense and goaltending couldn’t stop the opponent (like in the 6-5 overtime loss to Toronto).

In addition, Dallas looked as though they had simply checked out on their 2017-18 season. They looked mentally lost, physically unprepared, and had little to no chemistry.

And here we are. The Dallas Stars took a nosedive on their road trip and seem to have put their playoff hopes on life support. They have gone from third in the division to two points out of the playoff picture with a game out of hand in less than a month.

The Stars had some bright spots in their play throughout the road trip, but it was mostly dark and lifeless. Dallas is out of gas and seems unable to get over this losing funk that they are stuck in.

The final eight games of the season now ask a lot out of Dallas, and there’s no certainty that they will answer the bell.

Next: If Stars Make The Playoffs, They Can Do Anything

But as of right now, things look bad. The Dallas Stars aren’t playing to their usual level and are suffering as a result. The playoff chase is running away and leaving them behind. This road trip could very well be considered the breaking point in the Stars’ 2017-18 campaign.

Only time will tell.