The odd arithmetic of playoff qualification has laid itself out pretty clearly for the Stars after their last three games.
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0 2, Dallas picked up four of six possible points despite winning just one game. That’s the twist in the parity driven NHL, where you can pick up points even while losing.
But at the heart of that run is math that is a little more logical. The Stars earned those points in defeat by producing a brand of hockey that was significantly improved from what they had been playing.
In those three games against Washington, Minnesota and Buffalo, the Stars averaged 36.3 shots on goal and gave up an average of 27.3. Jamie Benn jersey cheap, Tyler Seguin jersey cheap and Jason Spezza jersey cheap jersey cheap scored three points apiece. And while the special teams haven’t exactly been fixed, they were outscored only 4 3 in that span, a step in the right direction.
“I think we’ve worked as hard as we can possibly work these last three games, and we finally got some breaks to go our way,” coach Lindy Ruff said. “You’ve got to win games, and you’ve got to produce. We’re sitting there close, but when we come out of the break, we’ve got to win.”
The Stars are 20 20 10 after 50 games, and as they exit the All Star break Tuesday with a home game against Toronto, they have a real opportunity to make a run at the playoffs. The pace for the second wild card playoff spot in the Western Conference is about 88 points. That means Dallas needs somewhere near 38 points in the final 32 games or a point pace of about .593.
That’s a realistic goal if the team plays like it has been.
“Yeah, for sure,” captain Jamie Benn jersey cheap said when asked if the gap was manageable. “We wish we were in a playoff spot right now, but we can make up three points. We just have to take advantage of our next three home games here.”
Dallas finishes out a six game homestand this week before it attempts to tackle its road demons. It can face the journey one step at a time, knowing that a few proper paces have already been put in place. Veteran winger Patrick Sharp jersey cheap appears to be back to full health after suffering from concussions earlier in the season. He had two goals Thursday in a 4 3 win over Buffalo. Patrick Eaves jersey cheap jersey cheap has two goals and an assist in the last three games. Radek Faksa is returning after missing two games with a lower body injury.
There is a possibility for this team to play its best hockey.
“I don’t think we have quite hit our stride the way we know that we are capable of,” Sharp said. “I think the last three or four or five games we have played really well, and hopefully that’s a sign of things to come.”
While the season statistics that have the Stars among the worst teams in special teams and goaltending don’t offer much hope, the more recent numbers do show that the defending Central Division champions could start playing a little more like last season.
“Win them all . try to win them all,” Ruff said of his plan. “We got four out of our last six points, but I think we could have won all three of them.”
And just being in position to make that declaration says a lot about how this team is getting better.