Coming into this season, expectations were high for the Dallas Stars. But after nine games (yes, it’s only nine games), it’s safe to say that their overall play has been disappointing.
The Stars currently have a 3-4-2 record and they’re heading into tonight’s game against the Blues having lost three in a row.
Despite this rough stretch, they believe they’ve had some encouraging performances.
“We’ve lost three in a row, but I think our last two games are close to where we need to be,” head coach Lindy Ruff said, per NHL.com. “[Tuesday] night (they lost 3-2 in OT to Columbus) might have been the best game we’ve played overall. Still, systematically, we beat ourselves at the end. We didn’t do that last year. We were a good team when we had the lead.”
Of course this start wasn’t completely unpredictable. Dallas has been hit harder than any other team when it comes to injuries in 2016-17.
Winger Ales Hemsky will be out for multiple months, Patrick Sharp has been out with a concussion, Cody Eakin has yet to play this season because of knee surgery, Mattias Janmark hasn’t suited up either, Jiri Hudler‘s missed some time and even Jason Spezza missed a couple of games.
Combine all the injuries with the fact that Jamie Benn is off to a slow start (five points in nine games) and you quickly realize why the Stars aren’t excelling.
“We are still trying to find ourselves. It’s no secret what the injuries have done to us,” said Stars GM Jim Nill. “It’s inserted a lot of different players into different positions and different situations. The young guys are figuring things out. Usually, as a young guy you come in and play low minutes to get used to the league. We’ve had to thrust guys right in there, and they’ve done a pretty good job.”
One of the youngsters Nill is likely talking about is Devin Shore. The rookie came into this season having played just three NHL games, but he’s quickly become a key piece. Shore is currently second on the team in points behind only Tyler Seguin.
The schedule won’t be doing them any favors either, as they get two home games to close out this week (against the Blues and Blackhawks) before taking off for a five-game road trip that will see them go to Chicago, Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver.