Dallas Stars Strong Season Start Gives Hope for the Future

Dallas Stars Season

The second week of the NHL season is underway and teams are starting to make statements early on. The Dallas Stars, to most people’s surprise, are on that list. The Stars have been off most analysts’ and fan’s radars for quite some time, even after their Stanley Cup Final appearance in 2020. And despite only playing a couple of games, the strong Dallas Stars season start is making them catch some attention around the league.

Dallas Stars Season Start Has Success All Over It

Starting With a Bang

The Stars faced the Nashville Predators, once in Nashville and once in Dallas, to start the season. These division rivals are always known to put on a good game, but the Stars absolutely dominated the Predators. Not only did they beat them 4-1 on their own home opener, but the Stars also came to Dallas and beat them 5-1 in front of their own fans. What’s more impressive than scoring nine goals in two games? Scoring nine goals on Nashville goaltender, Juuse Saros, who was one of the best goaltenders in the league last season.

But the success doesn’t stop there. They hosted the Winnipeg Jets at home, who is now coached by the Stars’ former head coach, Rick Bowness. However, he was not in attendance due to contracting an illness. Not only was this a big game, due to the Jets being in their division, but playing your old coach would put a chip on anyone’s shoulder. And if Bowness’ former players were nervous, it didn’t show in the 4-1 win over the Jets.

Pilling Up Wins Within The System

It is no secret that scoring was an issue last season in Dallas. More so, the scoring depth was the real issue, because quite frankly, there was none. And although it is still very early in the season, that is looking like a thing of the past. In just three games, the Stars have had goals from nine different players. Not only that but a goal from every line and multiple defencemen. The formerly known “most boring hockey team to watch” has also scored in all nine periods of hockey they have played. Additionally, Roope Hintz and Mason Marchment have already had multi-goal games. In the three games played, the Stars outscored their opponents 13-3.

As it stands, the Stars currently lead the league with a +10 goal differential. Which, if we take a look at last season, Dallas was the only team to make the playoffs with a negative goal differential. The personal success for the team doesn’t end there. With the third win of the season, Pete DeBoer is the first coach in franchise history to start a season at 3-0-0. So, sure, the season is fresh, but there are lots to celebrate in the Dallas clubhouse.

Stellar Goaltending

Last season may be gone, but the memory of Jake Oettinger‘s seven-game series against the Calgary Flames is not. He faced an average of 40 shots on goal per game, saving 64 of 67 shots in Game 7. He is recognized by most of the league for being the only reason why the Stars had a chance in that series. Unfortunately, he did not have the offensive support and they did not move on to the next round.

However, it is very apparent that he started right where he left off. In three games played, he has faced 86 shots on goal, only allowing three goals. One per game. He has a save percentage of .965%. But it’s not just his elite ability to stop pucks. He has a certain demeanour about him that most goaltenders don’t acquire until well into their career, let alone at 23 years old. DeBoer stated in a post-game press conference that Oettinger, makes “key saves in key moments.” His ability to be solid consistently, as well as bail his team out in big moments is going to make a difference farther into the season it gets.

Looking Like a New Team

As stated previously, the Stars finished last season with a negative differential. Scoring was not their priority, as designed by Bowness’ system. However, that is not the case with DeBoer as the head coach. His system is designed to create more offence by being heavy on the defence and having the puck to create chances that way. He also preaches getting the defencemen to join in on creating offence. This is most exciting for those who support Miro Heiskanen and know that he has an offensive side of his game he hasn’t been able to tap into. And three games in, he’s already tallied two goals and an assist.

Hintz was asked in a post-game press conference about the difference in the decisions at the blue line compared to last season. He stated, “we don’t dump it in now every time, almost. Last we dumped it a lot, so I think it’s going to create more offence for us when we handle the pucks and make some plays.” As the season progresses, players seem to be expressing their appreciation for the new style of hockey that has been successful thus far. The Stars take on the Toronto Maple Leafs on the road next.

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