2. Would The Stars Reach The 100-Point Mark?
It may not seem like a noteworthy marker to hit (especially in the midst of the playoff hunt and the overarching focus being on the “x”), but reaching 100 points would have been a substantial achievement for the Dallas Stars.
And when you consider all that this team has endured since Oct. 3 when the season began, hitting triple digits would be nothing short of significant.
You can point to the 1-7-1 start to the year and how many were predicting an early offseason for the Stars in mid-October. You can point to the firing of Jim Montgomery and hiring of Rick Bowness shortly after Dallas rolled through a hot streak for the record books in the month of November. You can point to the flair of the Winter Classic and all of the excitement that it created within the franchise. You can also look to an up-and-down January, a dominant February, and the six-game losing streak the Stars entered the pause on.
Needless to say, it’s been a rollercoaster. And with every good rollercoaster comes ups, downs, twists, and turns. That’s what makes it worth the price of admission.
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By the time the season was halted, the Stars sat at 37-24-8 with 82 points through 69 games. The mark was good enough for third place in the Central Division standings, though the Winnipeg Jets and Nashville Predators were close behind in the wild card hunt. The St. Louis Blues sat atop the Western Conference at 94 points, with the Colorado Avalanche trailing them at 92 points.
So, the question remains: would the Dallas Stars have reached the 100-point plateau for just the second time since the 2007-08 season (with the other instance being their 109-point campaign in 2015-16)?
With 13 games to go and 26 points left on the table in the regular season slate, this question could have been answered a number of ways.
Firstly, the Stars would have needed to find their way out of an 0-4-2 skid. From the motivation expressed by the players and Bowness, it seemed as though they were ready and determined to break it on March 12 against the Florida Panthers. If they had, it could have kickstarted them turning a corner.
Only five of the Stars’ final 13 games were against opponents currently in the playoff picture. They were also a combined 13-5-2 against those teams through the first 69 games of the year.
When you lay it out like that, it seems entirely plausible that the Stars could have hit a 9-4-0 or 8-3-2 mark in the final three weeks of the campaign. But with the winless streak looming, there were reasons to be cautious.
On top of that, the playoff race had tightened around them. They were just three weeks removed from being tied with the St. Louis Blues for the top spot in the West, but a losing streak at this time of the year can quickly ruin those plans.
But had the Stars won a handful of games on the way out and clinched a playoff spot, it would have helped leave another drought on the side of the road. That one involved qualifying for the postseason in back-to-back years, something the Stars had not done since the 2007-08 season.
100 points? Two consecutive years of playoffs?
More unanswered queries in need of resolutions at the moment.