It’s no secret that the Dallas Stars are dealing with a ridiculous number of injuries right now, but they’re still staying competitive.
Despite the injuries, the Stars are in a playoff spot right now, and they’re right in the middle of the pack with most of the Central Division.
It’s still a little too early in the season to be watching for exact playoff positioning for most teams, but the Stars just need to stay in the mix, and they’re doing that. The Stars aren’t about to virtually lock up a playoff spot like the Predators have, but teams can absolutely knock themselves out of the running early, and the Stars aren’t doing that.
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The Stars went toe-to-toe with the best team in the league yesterday and still came away with a point, despite missing Klingberg, Alexander Radulov, and so many defenseman that they were playing the 12th guy on the depth chart in his first NHL game after calling him up the morning of a matinee game.
The Stars never trailed through all of regulation and almost won. It would’ve obviously been better to win, but to take the Predators to overtime with this roster is still an accomplishment. Outside of Esa Lindell, yesterday’s defensive line-up has played a combined total of 119 NHL games, and they still managed to do a decent job.
Now, the Stars need to look forward to the rest of their schedule without Klingberg and do their best to stay competitive. Radulov will hopefully be back soon, which is a huge boost for the team, and maybe some of the other defensemen will return in the near future.
Roman Polak was sick, so he should be back for the next game, or later this week at worst. Marc Methot and Connor Carrick don’t have timetables yet, but could potentially be back soon. Stephen Johns is up in the air still. If two of them could be back in this week, it’d be a good step towards helping the defensive line-up moving forward.
If the Stars get a few injured players back and can play well enough to keep earning points on pace with the rest of the Central, they’re in great position once Klingberg and Hanzal rejoin the team in December.
The Stars don’t need to be solidly in a playoff spot by then, though it wouldn’t hurt, as long as they’re not already out of the running. At that point, the addition of Klingberg back to the line-up should set them up for a solid push for their first playoff appearance since 2015-16.