This season has been defined by injuries for the Dallas Stars, but they’re still in good shape for the playoffs right now.
The Dallas Stars currently sit in a wild card spot, where they’ve spent most of the past few weeks while missing some major players to injury.
The most glaring injury for the Stars this season has been the one to John Klingberg. He’ll be out at least six weeks by the time he comes back, and it’s been rough for the Stars without him on the power play.
Their power play started the season great, but it started to struggle as the season went on, and it’s been almost useless since Klingberg went out.
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Miro Heiskanen has stepped up with Klingberg injured, and the Stars have the help of Taylor Fedun and Joel Hanley right now with Connor Carrick, Marc Methot, and Stephen Johns still missing as well. The pairing of Heiskanen and Esa Lindell has done well, and they’ve eaten up some important minutes for the team.
Martin Hanzal and Alexander Radulov both missed significant time as well this season, but they’re back in the line-up and looking alright. The forwards haven’t been hit as hard as the defense, though Valeri Nichushkin and Brett Ritchie also had to sit out for stretches, both because of injury and lackluster play.
Ben Bishop went down for a week during a crucial stretch of the season, but Anton Khudobin has been an impressive addition this season. Khudobin handled Bishop’s absence better than could be expected and it finally feels like the Stars are solid at goaltending.
When Klingberg went down in addition to the other injuries, the thought for the team was to just stay alive through the worst of it. If they could come out of the Klingberg injury and still be in the conversation at least, they’d have a good chance at making a solid push in the second half of the season.
With everyone pitching in during these injuries, the Stars aren’t just barely staying afloat. They’re thriving right now. Despite some rough patches, they’ve kept racking up points.
They went on a four-game win streak last week, their longest of the season. Not only is that their longest so far this season, but it’s also longer than any streak they had during the rough 2016-17 year.
While teams like the Blackhawks, Blues, and Kings are falling out of the wild card race early, the Stars are holding steady. That’s crucial for this team to do through this stretch. The Stars could have easily dropped like a rock with these injuries, but they haven’t.
This week, the Stars have a pair of Pacific Division games that could certainly have an effect on the wild card standings by the end of the year. Both San Jose and Anaheim are at 37 points in 32 games, while the Stars are at 35 points in 30 games. If the Stars can grab 4 points before heading to Denver, it could definitely be a difference maker in April if the Sharks and Ducks are still fighting for wild card spots.
The Stars are far from a lock for the playoffs, but they’re where they need to be despite injuries, and that’s good news.