By Martin Iheke
Consistency continues to be a problem for your Dallas Stars this season. They have not found the right formula in stringing together wins on a consistent basis that all good teams do. Right now, this is not a good hockey team.
When you are currently 9-10-5 and tied for last place in your division, you are not a good hockey team. When you are 0-6-3 against your division, you are not a good hockey team. For whatever reason, something is not right with this team. I do not know if it is a chemistry issue or something else, but the Stars are not living up to the expectations that they had before the season started. We knew early on that the defense would be an issue as they are now giving up the most goals in the league at 84. When you are breaking in young defenseman with limited experience combined with veterans like Trevor Daley, Alex Goligoski and Jordie Benn not playing as well as they did at the end of last season, this was going to be problematic.
The backup goalie position continues to be a problem as well, as Anders Lindback has been a huge disappointment. He has yet to win a game this season. His save percentage is .861 and goals-against average is 4.63. That is awful and you cannot expect to win any games with that type of play in net. It also explains why the Stars have yet to win on the second night of a back to back this season. They are 0-4-0 after losing at the Colorado Avalanche, 5-2, last Saturday night. After the game, Stars head coach Lindy Ruff was not up to making any excuses.
“I don’t buy that on back-to-back games our energy was low, I’m tired of that one,” Ruff said according to dallasnews.com. “Our effort wasn’t good enough. We got outworked, and I’m not buying any back-to-back crap. We just didn’t get enough out of a lot of guys, and it cost us.”
It is not just this one game though. We have seen this time and time again this season and there does not seem to be an answer on how to fix it.
The night before, the Stars hosted the Minnesota Wild and led 4-3 late in the 3rd period coming back from a 3-0 deficit. It looked like the Stars were going to pull out an improbable victory until the Wild scored to tie the game and win it in overtime with the final score of 5-4. The inability to win a faceoff in your own zone late in the third period that led to the tying goal is one of the many issues that continue to plague this team. Doing the little things in a hockey game are keys to winning and the Stars are not doing enough of it.
“We have to find our game,” Stars forward Jason Spezza said according to dallasnews.com. “We have to find that aggressiveness and consistency. We don’t do it long enough and we don’t do it good enough,” as he continued.
The good news right now is there are 58 games remaining in the season and that is plenty of time to get this ship turned around. Five points out of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference is not unreachable at this point, but with the way they have played it certainly feels like it. They are going to have to dig a little deeper in games to win. Nothing is easy in the NHL and the Stars should know that. They will resume play at the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday night then play at the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday night before returning home to play the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday night.
12/2 @Maple Leafs 6:30 pm
12/4 @Red Wings 6:30 pm
12/6 vs Canadiens 6:00 pm