Stars Display Big O in Big D
At the beginning of the year, almost no one figured the Dallas Stars as a contender, and there were plenty of reasons to doubt them. They’re in that tough Central Division with the Stanley Cup defending Chicago Blackhawks and the always-tough St. Louis Blues, we said. And they have no defense. Well, the Stars are still in the Central and still have no defense. But look at ‘em go!
Those Scoring Stars
In a league where everyone is complaining about lack of scoring, the Dallas Stars are zipping along at a franchise-record pace, winning games almost solely on offense. The Stars are the winningest team in the league because they score. They lead the league in goals per game and are in the top five in power-play percentage. On defense, the Stars are way down the league lists In goals allowed and penalty killing. That type of defense costs them from time to time. Like on Tuesday, when they blew a 3-0 lead to Calgary and lost 4-3. But just the week before, the Stars rallied from a 3-0 deficit to beat the Minnesota Wild in overtime, 4-3. Touche!
Win or lose, the Stars are guaranteed to excite. And it is an unlikely group that is contributing to that excitement. Sure, the Stars traded to pick up Patrick Sharp from the Blackhawks, and the 33-year-old veteran winger contributed 9 goals and 12 assists through the first 26 games.
But the other guys who’ve boosted the Stars’ hopes even more, are players who have worn the green for two or more years, including last year’s squad that failed to make the playoffs. Winger Jamie Benn, a Stars fifth-round draft choice in 2007, leads the team in scoring, with 18 goals and 17 assists though 26 games. Center Tyler Seguin, who came over from Boston in 2013, also had 35 points through Thursday. And what does defenseman John Kingberg do? He picks up points, 27 to be exact. All are on pace for record seasons. Meanwhile, Kari Lehtonen has been respectable in in goal, with a 2.37 goals allowed average, much better than his career mark of 2.69.
Whether all of this offense translates to a season that goes deep into the playoffs is uncertain. But the Stars have yet to lose two straight, while rolling up a couple of five-game winning streaks. Either way, the excitement should continue in Dallas.
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