Dallas Stars Playoff Race Continues

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Dallas Stars Playoff Race
DALLAS, TX - FEBRUARY 05: Dallas Stars center Martin Hanzal (10) celebrates a goal with his teammates during the game between the Dallas Stars and the New York Rangers on February 5, 2018 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. Dallas defeats New York 2-1. (Photo by Matthew Pearce/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
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The Dallas Stars have come hot out of the All-Star break posting a 3-1-0 record with a total of 12 goals for and six goals against. In their quest to make the playoffs, they currently sit in ninth place in the National Hockey League, and fourth in the Central Division. They currently hold the first Wild Card slot in the Western Conference with 66 points – just one behind the St. Louis Blues. However, the race to the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs is tight and the Stars cannot risk slipping up.

2018 Dallas Stars Playoff Race

The Stars are currently 12 games above a record of .500 at 31-19-4. They are on pace to finish the regular season with 99 points and hopefully a playoff spot locked, but nothing is ever certain, especially in the high caliber Central Division with foes such as the Winnipeg Jets, St. Louis Blues, and the Minnesota Wild.

There are 28 games remaining in their regular season, allowing for several things to happen. Either the Stars continue to stay hot and climb the leaderboards, play mediocre and don’t budge, or slip and fall down the standings. Now, it is solely up to the Stars to determine how things play out. Whether or not they go up, stay, or fall, one thing is for certain right now – the Stars are deadly. Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin, and Alexander Radulov have proven to be one of the hottest lines in the NHL, and both goaltenders, Ben Bishop and Kari Lehtonen, have found their groove in between the pipes.

Benn has 49 points thus far (21 goals, 28 assists), Seguin has 48 (26 goals, 22 assists), and Radulov tops both of them with 51 points (21 goals, 30 assists). Defenseman John Klingberg has been hot as well and has been making a case for the Norris Trophy this season with six goals and 44 assists (50 points). With help from guys such as Mattias Janmark (15 G, 14 A), Radek Faksa (12 G, 12 A), Devin Shore (7 G, 17 A), and Jason Spezza (7 G, 17 A), it makes things even sweeter for the Stars.

In the beginning of the season, the biggest concern for the Stars was how much contribution the rest of the team would give aside from Benn, Seguin, and Radulov. But now, in February, it seems that the concern no longer remains. All four Dallas lines have played their part and have done their share. The defense, despite some shuffling has managed and has done well in protecting the net front/cutting down how many shots Bishop and Lehtonen face.

Stars Fighting Tooth and Nail for Playoff Berth

The Stars may be in a good position right now, but it is not guaranteed to last. Every team in the league is fighting for a chance at Lord Stanley’s Cup. After missing the playoffs last year, the Stars are determined to erase that from their memory and make a return to the postseason. If the Stars wish to go on a long playoff run, they need to not only stay healthy, but need to keep playing tough. Every game from here on out is a battle, and those two points on the line each night are vital.

The next five games for the Stars are crucial. They will be facing the Chicago Blackhawks, then the Pittsburgh Penguins the next night. After a day off they will take on the Vancouver Canucks followed by the Blues and San Jose Sharks. All of those teams are fierce competitors and will give Dallas challenges. While the goal is to win all five games, a more reasonable goal would be to get seven points in that stretch. The Blues will be a tough opponent to face because they are right above the Stars in the standings and won’t budge.

These next 28 games are crucial for Dallas. The postseason is just within sight and so is a playoff berth. All aspects of the Stars play need to be precise- offense, defense, goaltending and special teams. The Stars travel to the United Center on Thursday to take on the Blackhawks and will have a quick turnaround on Friday night when they return home to battle the Pens.

 

 

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