The Dallas Stars defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 5-2 this afternoon, their 10th win of the season.
With that, Dallas became the first team to hit the 10-win mark, moved atop the Western Conference and drew within one point of Pittsburgh for the overall league lead.
Not bad for a team with the NHL’s fourth-lowest payroll that filed for bankruptcy in September, hey?
The Stars are now officially the surprise story of this young season. Toronto’s hot start has been stunning as well, but the Leafs didn’t lose their leading scorer (Brad Richards) in the offseason.
(In fact, the Leafs tried to acquire him.)
So there’s little question Dallas is the NHL’s biggest surprise. But within the Dallas room, it’s tough to pick who has surprised the most. It could be G Kari Lehtonen, with his league-best 10-1-0 record. It could be Sheldon Souray, fifth amongst all defensemen in scoring. It could be LW Jamie Benn, who has never scored more than 56 points in a season but is on pace for 89 this year. It could be head coach Glen Gulutzan, who two years ago was coaching the ECHL’s Las Vegas Wranglers.
Whatever the case, it’s safe to say that few saw this coming.
The Stars are going to be a really interesting team to watch this week. Today’s contest in Carolina was the first of a four-game roadie that continues to Washington (fifth in the NHL), Pittsburgh (first in the NHL) and Detroit (4-2-1 at the Joe thus far). Without looking past the Caps game, everybody had the Nov. 11 date in Pittsburgh circled because it was a potential return date for Sidney Crosby.
Imagine if it’s Crosby’s return and a battle of the NHL’s top-two teams?