4. The Road And Central Are Still Causing Grief
It’s no secret that the Central division is the toughest division in hockey and perhaps in all of professional sports. No other NHL division has seen each of their teams make it to the postseason twice, let alone even once, since realignment in 2013.
Chicago, Colorado, Dallas, Minnesota, Nashville, St. Louis, and Winnipeg have all been legitimate threats at one point or another, leaving the division to be a gauntlet for whichever team wanted it the most.
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Last year, the Dallas Stars saw the Central once again play a part in their ultimate undoing. Dallas posted a 12-14-0 record against the division in 2017-18, which ultimately helped pin them in sixth place and leave them outside the playoff picture. That followed up a 9-15-5 record from the 2016-17 season and once again showed the Stars’ struggles against Central clubs. And, considering playoff seeding can rely heavily on points against the division, it’s a critical part of any regular season schedule.
The Stars are trying to avoid that same pitfall in the current season. But so far, they have hit a few bumps. Dallas is 1-2-1 in Central division action this year. While that does not seem entirely unreachable, the last time the Stars beat a Central team was Oct. 6 (the second game of the season). November provided a 5-4 overtime loss to Nashville and a humiliating 3-2 loss to the Colorado Avalanche.
In addition, their road play could still use a slight boost going into December. After starting the year on a 0-3-0 note away from the American Airlines Center, the Stars posted a 4-4-2 road mark during the month of November. That’s an impressive improvement, but the road game still needs to be better if Dallas wants to be a playoff team.
Winning at home is fun and can be easier at times; but the road is where the real teams separate themselves from the one-dimensional teams. And with seven road games scheduled in December, it will be up to the Stars to keep their progress building when away from home.
All in all, the Dallas Stars had an intriguing November filled with many twists and turns. Those twists and turns brought a lot of change to the team and their play, but they found a way to fight through it and remain in the race. That strength will only benefit them as time goes on.