Smoking, blistering, red hot does not even come close to describing the roll the Dallas Stars are on right now. It is amazing and surreal. 30th place in the league for a while and counted down and out by many, the Stars have more than righted the ship and served notice to the entire NHL that their season has just begun!
Dallas, with 4 games in hand on Anaheim, sits 2nd in the Pacific Division and 5th in the West with 59 points. No longer is the 4th seed unattainable (7 points back of Chicago), and I will take it one step further and say that even winning the division is not out of the question. Unlikely? For sure! But most certainly a possibility with their current resurgence. The fact is this ... a Stars team decimated by injuries, Sean Avery, the sophomore slump, and a superstar goalie who had sprung a massive leak ... has weathered each of those storms and is back to playing Dallas Stars hockey. The same type of hockey that forced Detroit to six games in the Western Conference Finals a year ago.
Again, going back to November 26 (32 games), this team has a record of 20-9-3. Since December 16 (23 games), 15-5-3. 9-2-2 with 2 shutouts in the last 13 ... and 7-1 in the last 8. How about at home? In 16 home games since November 30, the Stars have compiled a record of 13-2-1. That is phenomenal! Especially considering that 8 of their next 10 games are at the AAC, and 16 of their final 30 (and really 19 of 34 if you include the last 4).
I was in the AAC Friday night when seemingly every shot went in! Normally a goalie that makes 29 saves in a game has been somewhat stellar and usually gets the win. Unfortunately for young Valiquette, he topped off those saves by allowing all TEN goals. Its been rumored that Stars' forward Joel Lundqvist told his twin brother, and Rangers' goalie Henrik Lundqvist, that he was lucky he was not in net or the Stars would have scored 20!!! We simply could not believe our eyes. Never have I seen a team completely give up like NY did ... and I most certainly have never seen shot after shot after shot go in like they were. I don't think either team scored that many goals in warm-ups. Surreal and simply amazing! Sufficed to say not a single Stars player was a minus and they all contributed nicely. Marty still had to make 20 saves and some of them were great scoring opportunities. The 2 goals he let in were weak, fluky goals (though smart on Zheredev's part), and it appears that issue has been addressed and fixed. Ten total goals ... six in the 3rd ... three in 70 seconds ... two more in 67 seconds ... and five in 6 minutes and 20 seconds. Weird, wild, and crazy stuff! A brief list of the point-getters:
Neal 2-0-2 (+2)
Brunnstrom 1-2-3 (+2)
Sydor 1-1-2 (+3)
Modano 0-2-2 (+2)
Niskanen 0-3-3 (+3)
Richards 1-0-1 (+2)
Sutherby 1-0-1 (+2)
TEAM 10-15-25 (+25)
Most likely a record I'll never see broken while in attendance! I especially love how Colton Orr finally went after Ott ... but not until after the 8th goal ... knowing that Otter could not fight ... and took the worst of it! Good stuff ... fun times!
Dallas followed up that thrashing with a solid defensive effort tonight against the Predators. This game was exactly what the Colorado game should have looked like. They didn't play their best (I'm sure they are exhausted) but they got the job done. Nashville's lone goal came from a horrible turnover that basically led to a 3-on-1. Marty was excellent with 25 saves and a near shutout, and the Stars put 4 more goals in the opposing team's net. Sutherby shorthanded (team's 2nd of the year), Parrish at even strength (1st game back after several out with the flu), Richards on the power play (also had an assist), and Otter sealed the deal with an empty-netter. Lehtinen had 2 assists, and Ribeiro and Neal also continued their point streaks.
Dallas is indeed on quite a run. Far more enjoyable for all involved ... which is to be expected when real Dallas Stars' hockey is being played. But by no means is this a time to relax. A 5-game losing streak would send the streaking Stars right back down to the bottom. They can rest in June!
30 out of 37 games left (6-1-0)
+12 points = 59
Total points given away = 2
Currently 5th seed (7 points out of 4th and 20 out of 1st)
Max of 4 games in hand
Trade Deadline Activity:
Sean Avery put on waivers ... he is likely headed to the New York Rangers and that will free up some more cash towards the salary cap. Oh, and get rid of a terminal cancer.