The Dallas Stars have been doing a lot of things right this season, but with 20 games in the books their 11-7-2 record puts them six points short of a postseason berth. That gap will need to be closed by improving their performance at home.
The Stars have been an underwhelming 3-2-2 at the American Airlines Center and the fact that they haven’t netted even one power-play goal at home in 24 chances is a big part of that. They are the only team in the NHL without a power-play goal at home.
“I’m not going to sugarcoat this,” coach Lindy Ruff told the Dallas Morning News. “Overall, we need to be better on special teams as a whole. We’ll continue to work at it.”
This isn’t an entirely new situation for Dallas, but it is a uniquely odd one. In 2011-12, Dallas went 28 home games without scoring a power-play goal and ended up with just 17 in 124 opportunities, but the difference was that the Stars were just a bad power-play team overall that campaign. This time around, they have been doing fine on the road.
Dallas swept its recent three-game trip and will host the New York Rangers tonight. It’s an opportunity for the Stars to bring this season-opening slump to an end and pick up another two points to aide them in the tough Western Conference.
Roughly three months after acquiring Dougie Hamilton, the Calgary Flames have brought his brother on board too.
Freddie Hamilton was pried away from the Colorado Avalanche for the cost a 2016 conditional seventh-round draft pick, per the Avalanche’s website. The Flames announced that he will report to AHL Stockton.
Freddie, who is the older of the two at 23, is a center that excelled offensively in the OHL and has chipped in at the AHL level. However, he has just one point in 29 contests with Colorado and the San Jose Sharks.
This is obviously not a big trade, but perhaps Freddie will eventually become a solid member of the Flames’ supporting cast. If nothing else, it didn’t cost Calgary much to reunite the brothers. The duo previously played together with the Niagara IceDogs.
With the start of the regular season just around the corner, it looks like Robby Fabbri will not only make his NHL debut on Thursday, but also get meaningful minutes.
During Sunday’s practice the 19-year-old forward played alongside Jori Lehtera and Jaden Schwartz. Nothing is set in stone, but that combination did gel.
“I think we want to look at what the combinations look like now rather than do it at the start of the season,” Blues coach Ken Hitchcock told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “We’re looking at a hard match line and we’re also looking at taking advantage of speed and skill off the rush.
“I really liked what I saw today. I really liked Lehtera’s line, they looked very dynamic off the rush.”
The top line of Alexander Steen, Paul Stastny, and Vladimir Tarasenko seems like a good bet to play together for the time being. Jori Lehtera and Jaden Schwartz will stick together on the second line while Dmitrij Jaskin and David Backes can expect to be regular partners on the third unit. The X-factors will be Fabbri and Troy Brouwer as Hitchcock has left the door open to alternating between the two of them on the second and third line depending on the opponent.
Fabbri was taken with the 21st overall pick in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft and is looking to make the leap after a brief stint in the AHL last season. At the OHL level, he’s been a dominate force with the Guelph Storm, scoring 25 goals and 51 points in 30 games in 2014-15.