After having a fairly decent start to the season, the Dallas Stars are slowly fading into the distance of the Western Conference standings. Losing six of your last seven games will certainly have that effect.
For Stars fans, its beginning to look eerily similar to last season. They just can’t find any consistency and can’t seem to pull out any close games. Their 11 overtime/shootout losses is tops in the NHL and could prove to be their undoing come April. Last year a large part of the struggles could be blamed on injuries but that hasn’t been the case this season. The team has been fairly healthy but have yet to string three straight wins together all year.
Captain Brenden Morrow only has two goals in his last 18 games and James Neal hasn’t been scoring as consistently as he did last year in a breakout season. Now with Mike Ribeiro on injured reserve, the offense doesn’t look like it’s going to ignite anytime soon.
A glaring problem seems to be the different style of play the team has inherited playing for Marc Crawford.
Now granted, Crawford has not done a poor job this year, however, his style is a lot different than that of Dave Tippett. Naturally there will be a transition. Crawford has a history of playing a lot more wide-open while Tippett, on the other hand, stressed strong defensive play and not taking unnecessary chances. The Stars certainly have the offensive ability to pull it off but it is going to take time to come together.
The next few weeks are going to be critical for Dallas and could be make or break when it comes to the playoffs. They will be playing a slew of Western Conference opponents that sit ahead of them in the standings. Right now they sit six points out of a playoff spot and they are going to have to pull a lot closer before the Olympic break. It is going to be hard to make up ground afterwards with a condensed schedule and most teams playing every other night the rest of the way.
This is a team that has enjoyed great success over the past decade and a second straight season out of the playoffs would be unheard of. The talent is there but it simply is not coming together on a consistent basis right now.
Consistency is something all great teams have and it starts with 1 game to build off of. Then before you know it you have won three or four in a row and then your confidence skyrockets. After that you hold yourself to a higher standard because you know you have the ability to win on a regular basis.
Right now the Stars have to start with that one game.