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It felt like the perfect start to the season. Of course there was the anticipation of seeing the Dallas Stars new faces on the ice. A new elite goaltender, Ben Bishop, took his place in net and a star scorer, Alexander Radulov, joined Benn and Seguin at the top line.
The opening presentation even carried an inordinate amount of weight. A touching tribute for Dave Strader and the victims of the Las Vegas shooting was followed by a crowd packed traditional Dallas Stars national anthem.
As for the actual event on the ice? Well it looked like more of the same from last year’s dismissal season.
Poor goaltending, defensive lapses and inability to put the puck in the net resulted in the Stars dropping their first two games of the season. That included a home-opener loss against a brand new team in the NHL, the Las Vegas Golden Knights, and the team that fired Ken Hitchcok last season, the St. Louis Blues.
But it is still very early and the Stars have some bright spots. After two games the Stars lead the league in shots on goal and dominated puck possession in both games. Alexander Radulov’s impact has already been felt and Ben Bishop was solid before having to leave with an injury on opening night. With lesser goaltending on the other side of the net we maybe talking about a completely different start of the season. Yet, the record shows the doughnut hole in the win column and the Stars will have to figure out a way to prove that they are in fact as good as the price they paid during the offseason.
Friday’s Game 1 against the new Las Vegas Golden Knights started promising. Tyler Seguin broke through the Knights Marc Andre Fleury in the second period. But that would be all the Stars would that game. Fleury saved 45 shots and showed why the Knights selected him first in the expansion draft.
Meanwhile Stars’ newly acquired goaltender Ben Bishop was having a similar impressive game. He stopped all 19 shots that came his way. However, the last shot caused a cut just above his eye and he had left in the third period. In came Kari Lehtonen. Former Star James Neal got two past Lehtonen late in the third and the Stars dropped the opener 2-1.
Things did not get easier for Lehtonen and the Stars on Saturday in St. Louis. The Blues scored three goals in the first period that put the Stars in a hole they could not get out of. Blues’ goaltender Jake Allen had a similar performance to Fleury’s. He stopped 38 shots and did not allow a goal until the third period. Two late goals made this game closer than it appeared as the Stars lose to Hitchcock’s former team, 4-2.
Upcoming Schedule – All Times Central
10/10 vs Red Wings 7:30 p.m.
10/12 @ Predators 7:00 p.m.
10/14 vs Avalache 7:30 p.m.