The Dallas Stars are having a roller coaster start to the 2016-2017 season.
On one hand, they handled good teams such as the Predators or the Ducks and even split games with the Blues. But stringing wins consecutively is the problem.
The Stars at 12-12-6 have 30 points and sit just about middle of the pack in the Western Conference. They had another methodical week of games winning two and losing three. During that week, the Stars once again had Jekyll and Hyde performances. They thoroughly outplayed the Predators and the Ducks at home clobbering them 5-2 and 6-2, respectively. However the Stars lost to the Flames, Flyers and Blackhawks giving up nine goals while scoring only four.
Putting together good performances consecutively has been a problem so far this season. The Stars haven’t won more than two games consecutively this season. On the other hand, the Stars have lost three-straight three different times this season.
So what’s the problem? One of the most frustrating aspects with this team is that the issues seem to change on a game by game basis. It can be defensive issues, lack of scoring, goaltending, taking too many penalties or not capitalizing on the power-play. Once one problem is corrected another one persists.
One consistency is the difference in play on the road against play at home. At home, the Stars are 8-4-2 with the seventh best save percentage in the conference. Their goals against average is under three and the penalty-kill is towards the top of the conference.
Flip that over to road games, and the numbers change drastically. They sit at the bottom in goals against, save percentage and penalty-kill while scoring at a much lower clip.
Luckily for the Stars six out of the seven remaining games of 2016 are at home. That also means Antti Niemi will be in goal a lot more. In eight starts at home Niemi has 6 wins with a stellar 1.99 goals against average, compared to his 5.07 average on the road.
The opportunity is there for the Stars to close out December on a positive note and that starts with a good performance against the New York Rangers tonight. Here’s a look at their upcoming games.
Upcoming Schedule – All Times Central
12/15 vs Rangers 7:30 p.m.
12/17 vs Flyers 7:30 p.m.
12/20 vs Blues 7:30 p.m.
12/23 vs Kings 7:30 p.m.