After An Extended Early-Season Road Trip, It’s Clear That Young Miro Heiskanen And The Rest Of Your Dallas Stars Ain’t Exactly Scared Of Away Contests.
Well, Your Dallas Stars have finally completed their first road trip of the season — and what an exhausting and overly scheduled trip it was!
In all, the bois in Victory Green™ played four games in the last seven days. And, for the most part, puck luck was with them and the curse of the road has finally been lifted from their heads as Dallas secured seven hard fought points in some seriously contentious barns over this stretch.
But not all is rosy in Stars land! Injuries are beginning to pile up as the grind of the season begins, meaning coach Jim Montgomery will be tasked with keeping Jamie Benn and company fresh, even as the team’s “relentless” new style of play demands otherwise.
We’re getting exhausted just thinking about it!
Last Week in Your Dallas Stars.
• Victory Green™ @ Toronto Maple Leafs, 2-1.
The first, second and third Star of this game? Anton Khudobin. The Stars’ backup netminder put in one of the best performances in net we’ve seen since, like, forever. His combination of lateral mobility, excellent puck vision, post help and heavy dashes of voodoo stymied the pesky Leafs all night. Dallas received offense from a Jamie Benn deflection seconds after a power play expired and from a pretty tick-tack-toe play between Seguin, Janmark and red hot Devin Shore (eight points in his last six games) that resulted in a score. The Stars surrendered the lone Leaf goal on the penalty kill, but ended the contest going four-for-five in those scenarios, with Brett Ritchie earning three of those penalties. Even though Toronto out-shot the Stars 31-18 and maintained a 60-39 edge in shot attempts, the Stars still got the W here thanks to Khudobin’s heroics. Speaking of nice moves: Current Stars and former Leafs players Roman Polak and Chris Connor were honored with a video tribute during the first period of this one. Classy!
— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) November 2, 2018
• Victory Green™ @ Washington Capitals 4-3 (OT).
A strong opening frame by Dallas propelled the Stars to a two-goal lead in this one, with the opening tally coming from an ultra-rare Jason Spezza breakaway tally and a hard-working forechecking effort from Tyler Pitlick, who slammed home a turnover just nine seconds after Spezza’s goal. Forechecking is a word we like here at Forechecking™, and that was the play du jour for the contest. Overall, Dallas did its best to press the Capitals into curious decision-making with the puck, and did the most with the frequent turnovers. The Caps would come back to tie the game up at three apiece, but had no answer for a strange Jason Dickinson shot that eeked its way passed Brian Holtby for the game winner.
— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) November 4, 2018
• Lobstah Point @ Boston Bruins, 1-2 (OT).
Dallas had no business in pulling any points out of this game. Former Bruin Anton Khudobin got the start in net in this one, and the Kazakhstan native offered up yet another ridiculous effort in turn. The benefactor of several shots off the posts, Dobby stood on his head as the Stars were routinely beat to every loose puck and unable to mount any true offensive zone time. Eventually, Radek Faksa was able to score on the softest goal you’ll ever see shorthanded to give the Stars a 1-0 lead. In overtime, the Stars’ house of cards finally crumbled thanks to two questionable penalties that came right before a final mercy shot from super-pest Brad Marchand. When asked about how the Stars could be expected to be ready to play the next night in a back-to-back after such a tough loss, Khudobin suggested the following: “Say a couple swear words, maybe break a stick against the wall. Go on the plane, watch some TV, come back, say a couple other swear words, whatever. Maybe yell at somebody, and go to sleep.” Hockey players: They’re just like us!
This game shouldn’t be tied pic.twitter.com/deJEvLVOSr
— Sean Shapiro (@seanshapiro) November 6, 2018
• Darkness Music @ Columbus Blue Jackets, 1-4.
Why not, right? Why not play all the hockey, all the time? Here, Dallas MarioKart-ed its way from Boston to Columbus to take on the middling Blue Jackets on the second night of a back to back, and with injuries piling up for the Stars, Monty wasn’t able to swap out players from the night to bring in any fresh legs — well, sans Ben Bishop in net. Kudos to the Stars for coming out with some speed and controlling play for large stretches of the game, though! The squad definitely put in plenty of effort in the loss, and that’s commendable, we think. Columbus still managed to have the bulk of the scoring chances, however, and they were able to beat Bish cleanly for three goals before capping the evening’s festivities with an empty netter. Jamie Benn was the lone scorer for Dallas, notching his seventh goal of the season, with this one coming on the power play.
NHL Hitz PRO Player Of The Week.
Talk about impressive! Miro Heiskanen is definitely showing the hockey world why Jim Nill was right in keeping the Finnish rookie instead of trading him for Erik Karlsson in the offseason. The third overall pick of the 2017 NHL draft is already making his presence felt on the ice, averaging over 22 minutes a night, which is tops among all rookies. The effortless skating 19-year-old has two goals on the season — both game-winners! — while also notching four assists and seeing time on the Stars second power play unit. Coach Jim Montgomery has no issue in putting Miro in tough situations, either. No, the usual rookie sheltering does not apply to a player that many fans already consider to be the second best defens eman on the team. Says his fellow defender John Klingberg: “He’s that good, so he’s supposed to play that many minutes — it’s impressive.” We agree, Klinger!
This Week In Your Dallas Stars.
A little home cooking finally awaits the Stars! Alas, it isn’t paired with much rest. Yes, the hectic schedule continues this week at the American Airlines Center…
• Thursday, 11/8 @ 7:30 p.m. vs. San Jose Sharks (Home): Hey, it’s the long-awaited Karlsson-Heiskanen match-up we’ve all been waiting for! Well, kinda.
• Saturday, 11/10 @ 1 p.m. vs Nashville Predators (Home): Last season’s Western Conference champs come to town for a dreaded Saturday matinee tilt, where the Stars usually struggle. Be very careful of this one.
• Monday, 11/12 @ 7:30 p.m. vs. Columbus Blue Jackets (Home): Long time no see! Dallas looks to enact some form of revenge against the Jackets here.
• Friday, 11/16 @ 7 p.m. vs. Boston Bruins (Home): We expect Khudobin to be back in net in hopes that he repeats his recent magic against his former club. Would be nice for Seguin to use the same excuse to finally get on a goal-scoring streak as well.
Flip it. Stick it. See ya later, bye. — LehtMoJoe