The Dallas Stars finished their week with a 2-1 victory, Sunday, against the Ottawa Senators. The win marked their first consecutive victories (with the win Friday against the Devils) since February 15. Yet, the Stars enter a difficult week without some of their biggest contributors.
Patrick Sharp, Jordie Benn and John Klingberg are all listed as day-to-day with the vague and slightly undisclosed lower-body injuries. Sharp suffered the injury Monday against the Red Wings. He played only 11 minutes the next game/day against Nashville before exiting the game. Head Coach Lindy Ruff time-tabled his return at 5-7 days. Jordie Benn sustained his injury in the Predators game. His injury time is set for 1-2 weeks. John Klingberg played the first minute in the first shift of the Devils game before he headed to the locker room for further evaluations and did not return. His injury is less significant than the other two and is set at 1-2 games. Additionally, Patrick Eaves is still out with an undisclosed illness.
These are untimely injuries. In their next scheduled week of games, the Stars play the Canadiens, Blackhawks and Blues. The next week gets just as tougher with the Kings, Lightning and Islanders coming to the AAC.
With 15 games left, the Stars are still in position to win the Western Conference. Dallas is tied at 87 points (40-20-7) with the Blackhawks, just two points ahead of the Blues for the Clarence S. Campbell Bowl and number one seed in the playoffs.
Obviously, having a healthy roster is vital to their success. Klingberg and Sharp give the Stars one of the best power-play units in the league. Jordie Benn is a regular on the penalty-kill and one of the true defensive d-men on this team.
But this is why Jim Nill and the front office didn’t trade top prospects. Brett Ritchie was called up to make his first appearances as a Dallas Star this year against the New Jersey Devils. His impact was immediately felt with his contribution to the top line of Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin. Jamie Oleksiak fills in for Jordie. His big body (6’7” about 250 pounds) adds a different dynamic for the team.
The league will not make excuses or feel sorry for you. The Stars still seem off from their early-season dominance and time will tell (shortly) how they hold up with the rest of the conference.
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