When the season is finally over, the 2020-21 Dallas Stars are going to wonder what might have been. The finalist from a year ago will not have a shot to chase down the Stanley Cup this season. Dallas was officially eliminated from playoff contention when the Nashville Predators defeated the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday night to clinch the final spot in the Central Division. This was a spot the Stars had been fighting for all season. And while the Stars had games in hand on the Predators, they just ran out of runway. Though there are a lot of factors to why the Stars did not make the playoffs, the biggest is their poor overtime record in the regular season.
2020-21 Dallas Stars Did Not Get The Job Done In The Extra Frame
Entering the season, the Stars were favoured as one of the teams to get back to the playoffs. Their season did not start on time due to COVID-19, but it did not take long for the Stars to find their game. Matter of fact, Dallas started off the season very well. Their offence was electric and goaltending was rock solid. For a while there it appeared the Stars were on track to make the playoffs. Unfortunately for them, injuries to players like Ben Bishop, Alexander Radulov, Tyler Seguin and others hurt the Stars chances to make the playoffs.While Seguin did come back, it was not enough to propel the Stars past the finish line.
And no team will use injuries or the condensed schedule as an excuse. However, one can clearly see it in the team’s play especially down the stretch. However, thanks again to the play of Anton Khudobin, Jamie Benn, Joe Pavelski, Roope Hintz and others the Stars were in every game. In fact, without those players in the lineup, there is no way the Stars were even in the conversation for the final spot entering the final few games of the regular season. When the lights shined the brightest, the Stars and their top players could not get it done.
What determines a team making or missing the playoffs is their wins in regulation. However, in the case of the Dallas Stars, it was their overtime record. The Stars played in 19 extra session games. They have a record of 5-14, including 2-6 in the shootout. That is not good especially during a season when it was divisional play only and every game and point matters. Even if Dallas had ended up tied with the Predators for the fourth spot, Dallas still would have missed the playoffs. Out of the 14 losses in the extra sessions, five of those losses were to Nashville. That is the difference in why the Stars did not make the playoffs.
If Dallas is able to squeak out a game or two against the Predators in overtime or the shootout, or even in regulation things might be different for the Stars. Unfortunately, Dallas has only themselves to blame. And instead of looking to the playoffs, the Stars will be going home for a much-needed rest.
One-Goal Game Loss Record
Keeping with the Stars record for a minute, their overtime record can be correlated to their one-goal game loss record. One-goal games were the nemesis of the Stars this season. The Stars have a record of 7-6-12 in one-goal games this season. The team has no issues winning games when they are blowing out the other team. They have shown they can do it all the time. But the Stars just cannot find the offence when it matters in those one-goal games. And therefore are unable to close out those tight games against a team like Nashville. Just imagine if the losses in the extra session column of 12 was lower, the Stars are in the playoffs.
But as previously mentioned with every game meaning so much and the four-point swings every night, the Stars needed to eke out a few more of these games to secure a playoff berth this season. Unfortunately, in the end, it will be the 2020-21 Dallas Stars poor overtime record that cost them a shot at the playoffs and getting back to the Stanley Cup Final.
In the end, the 2020-21 Dallas Stars can only look at themselves in the mirror and think about the what-ifs. Yes, the Stars played a lot of hockey since August of 2020. Missing key players no doubt hurt them, but they still were in it until the end. However, the Stars did not get the job done in overtime or the shootout. That ultimately cost them a shot at playoff hockey.
Embed from Getty Images