Fallen Star Could Damage Dallas
The Central Division contending Dallas Stars face the end of their regular season without one of the big weapons in their league-leading offensive attack. Center Tyler Seguin went out of Thursday's 4-3 win over Tampa Bay with a torn Achilles tendon. He underwent surgery on Friday, and the team announced that he will be out for three or four weeks. How the Stars play without him and how effective he is upon his return may reveal a lot about their effectiveness in the postseason.
Still Have Some Punch
Seguin has 33 goals and 73 points in 72 games. His 26 even-strength goals lead the NHL. He was beginning to show signs of coming out of a slump, with three points in the Stars previous three games. The Stars are currently battling the St. Louis Blues and Chicago Blackhawks at the top of the Central division. They got some welcome news with the return of top defenseman John Klingberg, who had missed six games with a lower body injury. And they still have their offensive attack leader in winger Jamie Benn, who had 36 goals and 44 assists going into Tuesday's big game in Chicago.
The Stars appeared to do well without Seguin in a 3-0 home win vs. the Islanders on Saturday. Cody Eakin stepped up with his 15th goal in the second period, and Patrick Eaves with his eighth on a third-period breakaway. Eakin will probably be seeing considerably more ice time in Seguin's absence.
The Stars have nine games left as they battle neck-and-neck with St. Louis for the Central crown. In the best-case scenario, Dallas will go on to clinch the division and start the playoffs with Seguin and a better playoff draw. In the worst case, St. Louis inches out the Central, the Stars face a tougher team in the first round of the playoffs, and Seguin never quite gets up to speed. It will be interesting to see how they play it out, and well worth observing the rest of the regular season for signs of weakness. But I see them weathering the storm in the short term and challenging for the Western Conference title in the long.
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