When it was announced that the Dallas Stars were moving from the Pacific to Central Division, Dallas fans were notably excited. No more would they have to deal with long travel, late-night start times, and some of the best teams in the league like the Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks. Granted, facing the Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks would be a challenge, but the move would be a good thing, right?
So far, it doesn’t appear so. Last night, the Stars got routed by the St. Louis Blues 6-1, chasing Kari Lehtonen in the process. With the loss, Dallas drops to 1-4-2 against their new division, grabbing four of a possible 14 points (28 percent) while allowing oppositions to get 12 points in the standings. In those seven games, the Stars have been outscored 13-24. By comparison, Dallas is 10-6 against the rest of the league, grabbing 20 of a possible 32 points (62 percent), while allowing opponents to also get 12 points (in more than twice as many games) and outscoring their opponents 49-46.
Divisional games are often referred to as “four-point games” due to the potential point swing. While Dallas has been solid against the non Central division opponents, their playoff hopes will live and die by their Central division results. It is certainly possible to make the playoffs with a poor division record, but the odds are certainly against any team that doesn’t compete well in division. With 22 more games against the Central, and a possible 44 points up for grabs, Dallas must figure out how to come away with points against their new division rivals if they want to get back to the playoffs.
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