With the season coming to an end, and a loss to the Boston Bruins on Friday night, the Dallas Stars playoff chances diminished right in front of their eyes. They had a chance to get closer to the wild card spot but could not finish the job. The Stars had a two-goal lead in the second period before Bruins scored three quick goals. Most fans, who were keeping their hopes alive, realized that their team wasn’t making it after this loss. The Stars did not play well on the road and it showed as they ended the trip with a six-game losing streak and record of 0-4-2.
Dallas Stars Playoff Chances Quickly Fading Away
In the NHL when a team is trying to fight for a playoff spot, OT losses means nothing if the team cannot also add some wins. The Stars may have gathered a point, but at this point in the highly competitive and tight playoff race, one point takeaways will not cut it. The Stars are behind the eight-ball and need to pick up wins. If they have gotten a six-game winning streak instead of a six-game losing streak, the Stars might be looking at the playoffs and not missing out. But they aren’t playing as a team and it showing in their games. They aren’t helping out Kari Lehtonen when he needs the help. The defence isn’t helping Lehtonen out in important games.
Lehtonen explained to The Athletic after a 2-0 loss to the Nashville Predators. “It’s always disappointing when you’re not able to get points,” Lehtonen said. “They’re a good team and we’re hanging in there and we just didn’t get it done today… we have not (been) able to keep rolling our game. We seem to find it here and there, (but) not often enough.”
Stars coach Ken Hitchcock also explained that goaltending is the most important part of the game. If the goaltender doesn’t get support from the team in from him, they will not win games. “The goalie was the best player, he gave us a chance,” Hitchcock told The Athletic. “End of story.”
The Stars just are not showing everyone that they are ready to play with teams that are playoff ready. It is time to play the rest of the season for the fans and re-group over the summer. It is time to re-think the season that was, and analyze the ups and downs. For instance, the inconsistency to string a couple of wins during the most crucial time of the season when they desperately needed the points. It is time for management to assess what changes the team needs, and improve the squad for next year. Some players will be kept and others will be replaced. Analyzing young talent, and seeing what they have for next year is important.
This season is also Ken Hitchock’s first year back as head coach. Looking at his record, the first season back with them was not good. However, he has improved parts of the Stars game and deserves a second season to show what’s he capable of. Hitchcock helped both Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin become better two-way hockey players. Two of the top players for the Stars have played their hearts out all year, but now, they look defeated. They want to win and bring a championship to the city that has not won one since 1999. They are both wanting to make this team better. Seguin and Benn will lead the team again next year, and chase down that playoff spot. With more help and improved defense, they may be able to close those crucial games.
The season is coming to an end for the Dallas Stars. They are not making the playoffs. They are going to play the rest of the season with their heads held high and hoping that next year will be better for the team. There will be changes next year. It’s time to put the 2017-2018 season behind the Stars and look forward to the 2018-2019 season.