The Eastern Conference has not been very kind to the Dallas Stars this season, but with four of their seven remaining games against teams from the East, the Stars will have to reverse that trend.
The Stars sport a subpar 12-14-2 record against Eastern Conference teams this season. In those 28 games, the Stars have been outscored 80-77. Of their four remaining games against the opposing conference, three games will be on the road and two will be against teams they lost to earlier this season.
With a dismal record in inter-conference matches and a 16-17-4 record on the road, the Stars will need to overcome what ailed them earlier this season. The good news is that they will not be facing the East’s best teams. The Tampa Bay Lighting clinched a playoff spot and the Columbus Blue Jackets are in the Wild Card hunt, but the Florida Panthers and Carolina Hurricanes are on the outside looking in.
The Stars will have to endure two sets of back-to-backs in which three games will be against Eastern opponents. The good news for the Stars is that there will be minimal travel for those games. The first set is at the Panthers and the Lightning, and the second set includes two home games. The limited travel will help the Stars with one of their biggest troubles in back-to-back games this season — energy. Staying in sunny and beautiful Florida for two games will not wear them down as much as their other back-to-backs have this season. The Stars have a chance to heal and rest a little more than usual in both sets, so they can play their brand of hockey in all four games without the worry of a lethargic drop-off.
Dallas suffered a season-high six-game losing streak in January at the hands of Eastern Conference opponents. They can counter that memory by looking at their three-game winning streak in November that seemed to unify and ignite the team. Also, the Stars are riding the highs of a three-game winning streak right now, and they recently defeated one of the best teams in the league, the St. Louis Blues, twice. Secondary scoring has picked up late while Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin continue to produce, and Kari Lehtonen is coming off stellar performances in net, including a 5-0 shutout at the Washington Capitals Tuesday night.
Everything seems to be coming together at the right time to give the Stars a chance to survive their current road trip and upcoming Eastern Conference opponents. Now, they just have to take advantage of the momentum and opportunity at hand.