Dallas Stars Searching For Consistency Through First Quarter Of Season

DALLAS, TX - NOVEMBER 16: Jim Montgomery of the Dallas Stars gives instructions to his players on the bench against the Boston Bruins at the American Airlines Center on November 16, 2018 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images)
DALLAS, TX - NOVEMBER 16: Jim Montgomery of the Dallas Stars gives instructions to his players on the bench against the Boston Bruins at the American Airlines Center on November 16, 2018 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images) /

The Dallas Stars are a little over a quarter of the way into their 2018-19 season. And so far, there have been some ups and downs, but no real breakout in either direction. With that being said, the search for consistency rages on.

A lot can be said about the 2018-19 Dallas Stars through 23 games this season. And for much of it, you can find both a positive and negative parallel.

For instance, through the first 23 games of the season, the Stars own a record of 12-9-2. While that’s good, it’s just a little bit over the .500 mark. They also currently sit in the second wild card spot. While it’s a playoff spot, they are close to being on the outside as well.

On the ice, the depth scoring has been a pleasant surprise this year; but, the top line of Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin, and Alexander Radulov hasn’t played as consistent and dominant as they have in the past. The penalty kill looks solid so far, posting an 80.9 percent success rate and sitting 14th in the NHL; on the other hand, the power play is lacking with a 18.5 percent success rate which pins them at 19th in the league.

And finally, the Dallas Stars have seen some good things from young players and emergency call-ups that are filling in for superstar players; but, the Stars are being held back from really reaching the next level early on because of a mass number of injuries.

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Back and forth the pendulum has swung for this newly-formed and newly-coached 2018-19 squad. And, now that they have navigated their way through 23 games and sit around the quarter mark of the year, there’s a lot to take in and digest about the journey so far.

Take Friday night’s game against the Ottawa Senators as an example. The Dallas Stars exploded on offense, putting up an incredible 54 shots and scoring six goals against an ailing Ottawa defense that couldn’t buy a stop. The Stars had firepower and moxie and they used it to their advantage in an impressive 6-4 win.

But just two nights before, Dallas dropped an ugly 5-1 decision to the Pittsburgh Penguins. The loss included the Stars falling into a 3-0 hole through the first few minutes of the game and only putting up 19 shots through the entire 60 minutes.

In this past week alone, the Stars won 6-2 and 6-4 while also losing 2-1 and 5-1. That seems rather inconsistent, doesn’t it?

And that’s the key message for the team through the first quarter of the 2018-19 campaign: searching for consistency.

It’s been a season of fluctuations for the Dallas Stars. They started the year on a hot 3-1-0 note, but quickly fell behind to 3-4-0 in a span of five days. Their road record began on a rough 0-3-0 mark, but they recovered and now sit at 4-6-1. Their power play started hot but has since gone cold. Meanwhile, the penalty kill started slow but is performing well over the past few weeks. And yes, they have gone from top three in the division, to outside the playoff picture, and back to just narrowly on the inside.

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  • And it’s not just for the team as a whole; some Stars players have been just as wishy-washy. After scoring three goals in his first three games, Tyler Seguin has only scored four over the past 20 contests. Jason Dickinson went pointless in his first five games but has tallied nine in the past 15 games. Valeri Nichushkin has been really good in his defensive game, but has yet to put up the numbers the Stars were expecting from him through 18 starts.

    Back and forth, back and forth. Now that they are a little over one quarter of the way into the season, the only problem with the Stars is that they simply cannot keep going in one way or the other. Instead, they are stuck in a tennis match.

    That’s where the need for consistency comes in.

    The Dallas Stars are 23 games deep in their 2018-19 season. This season has come with a new coaching staff, new schemes, and a new “process” to follow and adhere to. That has come with a fair share of positives and negatives, but it seems as though the pros are finally starting to outweigh the cons in a visible way.

    The team is doing a lot of good things right now. They are finding ways to pick up points even in the absence of star players like John Klingberg, Stephen Johns, and Ben Bishop. Their defense is still a top-ten unit in the NHL even with over half of their starters currently missing from the lineup. The offense is putting up great numbers using depth scorers and the top line is starting to come back around.

    Everything is clicking, but it’s just not clicking on a nightly basis just yet. And sometimes, that can take awhile. It takes time to adapt to offseason change and really get the gears turning consistently in the right direction. But once they do, it can be difficult for any opposition to stop.

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    The Dallas Stars are in the midst of one of their most challenging early-season treks of the Jim Nill era. They have been tested on various fronts, but so far have persevered and come out on top of most of it. Jim Montgomery‘s “Process” continues to radiate throughout the team and throughout the league. All it’s going to take to get it rolling is some consistency.

    Montgomery has talked about getting the team’s work ethic to an exact level every night. The team has talked about the untapped potential that they have yet to access. Everyone seems excited for the future and ready to make the proper changes to make that future as bright as possible.

    And through the first quarter of a new era, that’s about all you can ask for. 59 games remain between the Dallas Stars and the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs. They definitely have the tools and the scheme to get in. All it will take is a little less of the teeter-totter effect and a little more consistency.

    Next. Why This Year Could Be A Special One For The Stars. dark

    We’ll see how they start things off tonight in Colorado.