The Dallas Stars and their early season injury troubles are starting to slip into the “unbelievable” category. And with starting goaltender Ben Bishop now out with a day-to-day injury, there could be the need and the room for a call up from the AHL.
Have you ever had a bad dream where everything seems to go against you? No matter what you try or how you act, everything ends up falling in opposition. That’s where the Dallas Stars seem to be right now.
On Monday night, the Stars once again fell short of capitalizing on the second night of a back-to-back. They are now 0-3-0 in those contests after dropping a 2-1 decision to the New York Rangers. The game followed a dominant 6-2 win against the Islanders on Sunday afternoon and showed that this Dallas Stars team is still in search of consistency.
For much of the game, though, Dallas either held the lead or found themselves in a closely-contested tie. The Rangers didn’t actually take the game over until 15:28 left in the third period when Filip Chytil sent a screaming wrist shot over the shoulder of Anton Khudobin to claim the lead.
Khudobin, who has been great for the Stars in his last few starts, was called in at the beginning of the third period with the game sitting at 1-1. He was substituted in for starter Ben Bishop, who had supposedly suffered a lower-body injury during the second period and could not return to the ice.
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It was announced after the game that Bishop had a lower-body soft tissue injury and is considered day-to-day.
And that’s where the nightmare continues for Dallas. In a month where they have lost superstar defenseman John Klingberg and forward Devin Shore to injuries, the Stars have also had to deal with playing games without the services of Alexander Radulov, Stephen Johns, Connor Carrick, and Marc Methot.
Just around half of their starting lineup has dealt with some sort of injury through the first three weeks of November. That’s not only improbable for an NHL team, but can also be a nearly impossible feat to champion over.
And yet, the Dallas Stars are finding ways to make it work. They are 5-3-2 in November and have five more contests before the month closes out. But, having to play without a starting goaltender will likely be the most challenging task of all.
Last season, the Stars endured panic and a total meltdown upon the loss of Bishop to injury. On March 5, 2018, Bishop exited a game against the Ottawa Senators, leaving Kari Lehtonen as the no. 1 starter. In his absence, Dallas would post a 3-7-2 record to close out the final full month of the season and remove themselves from the playoff race.
This season, things should not be as catastrophic. The Stars signed Anton Khudobin in the offseason to fill in during these somewhat-expected periods of time. With Bishop’s injury history, it’s a good idea to have a confident and competent backup goaltender to fill in during his absence.
Now, there are a few ways that this particular injury can pan out. With Bishop being considered “day-to-day” upon the initial diagnosis, he may not be out long. Dallas head coach Jim Montgomery said that it’s “nothing serious” in his postgame conference following the loss to the Rangers, but did say that an official diagnosis will come out today.
So, how does this one unfold?
Well, the Dallas Stars will more than likely have to call up a goalie. Regardless of whether Bishop is out two days or 10 days, the Stars will need a backup to call on should anything worse happen. Not to mention that Dallas is currently in the midst of a stretch where they play five games in seven days. With Pittsburgh on Wednesday, Ottawa on Friday, and Colorado on Saturday, it’s an incredibly tough slate to bear with a battered lineup.
Assuming that Bishop isn’t healed and ready to go by tomorrow night when the Stars face the Penguins, who will Dallas call up?
Well, there seems to be only one real option. When scanning the Texas Stars roster, both Landon Bow and Colton Point are currently holding down the fort.
Bow has taken the majority of playing time with 12 games under his belt. In those, the 23-year-old AHL veteran has a 6-3-1 record, .896 save percentage, and 2.81 goals against average. They aren’t the most promising numbers, but Bow is a three-year AHL vet that knows the game well.
The only other option would be Colton Point. After signing his entry-level deal this past summer, Point started the year in the AHL. He hit a rough patch early on in his first season of pro hockey and was sent down to the ECHL for a brief period before being recalled a few days ago. He currently owns a .854 save percentage and 3.96 GAA when playing at the AHL level.
It’s only natural for a rookie to struggle in his first few starts at the pro level while he gets acquainted. But bringing him up to the NHL would be calling for a rough patch should he have to play.
At the moment, it looks like Bow will be the option should the Dallas Stars need to make the call. Pending a final prognosis of Bishop’s injury, the Stars will likely have to bring someone up to fill the backup void while Khudobin slots into the starting role.
Just another day in the NHL, right?