This post is part of Stars Day on PHT…
The Dallas Stars had a great regular season in 2015-16, winning the Central Division with 109 points, the second most points in the entire league. They dispatched the Minnesota Wild in six games, then went the distance with the St. Louis Blues before falling in Game 7 of the second round.
The Stars are also led by young stars like Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin and John Klingberg, so getting too old is no concern yet. Dallas may not be the biggest or toughest team, the kind that grinds its opposition into submission, but then, neither are the Pittsburgh Penguins and they found a way.
But here’s why this is even a question. The Dallas Stars finished 19th in goals against last season (2.78), and recent history shows how that’s a problem.
Goals against of past seven Stanley Cup champs
2015-16 Penguins (6th, 2.43)
2014-15 Blackhawks (2nd, 2.27)
2013-14 Kings (1st, 2.05)
2012-13 Blackhawks (1st, 2.02)
2011-12 Kings (2nd, 2.07)
2010-11 Bruins (2nd, 2.30)
2009-10 Blackhawks (6th, 2.48)
The Penguins had to learn that lesson, according to their victorious head coach.
“As I’ve said to them all along, I know our team is going to score goals,” said Mike Sullivan. “In order to win championships, you got to keep it out of your net. You have to become a team that is stingy defensively. Everybody has to buy in to that idea for us to get to where we want to go. To their credit, they did, down to a man.”
Of course, Matt Murray was a big part of the Penguins’ postseason success. The rookie goalie went 15-6 in the playoffs with a .923 save percentage.
The Stars, suffice to say, did not get that kind of goaltending from Kari Lehtonen or Antti Niemi, and that’s why goaltending continues to be the biggest question mark in Dallas.
So let’s vote:
(Click here if the poll doesn’t show up.)