The Dallas Stars were one of the teams with the most optimism coming into the 2017-18 NHL season. In their home opener the Stars dominated the expansion Vegas Golden Knights for two periods, before newly acquired goaltender Ben Bishop was knocked out of the game into concussion protocol. The Stars who had been thwarted time and time again by Vegas goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury led by just one goal when Kari Lehtnonen entered the Stars net. The momentum sifted and James Neal found the net twice, as Dallas fell in their home opener 2-1, a game they should not have lost.
The next night Dallas traveled to St. Louis for the Blues home opener. The Stars looked to spoil the Blues first game on home ice, as well as allow Ken Hitchcock to get revenge against his former team. Defensive lapses early on led to a quick 3-0 deficit and the Stars were unable to recover in the 4-2 loss.
Despite the poor start to the season, which seems to look like nothing has changed from a year ago, those panicking early need to relax. The start is nothing short of disheartening, but a deeper look shows this small sample size should be an anomaly and better things are on the horizon in this young NHL season.
Through two games the Stars led the league in shots on goal, averaging 43 per game. While in both games it could be argued they ran into hot goaltenders, they didn’t help themselves missing some quality chances, as well as putting some opportunities straight at the goalies. As the sample size increases Dallas should regress closer to the mean and the high-powered offense on paper should come to fruition on the ice.
The fact Dallas went through so many offseason changes in terms of personnel and the coaching staff means they had a bit of a disadvantage when it came to knowing the systems and having chemistry early on. Once again, as time progresses they should start to gel more allowing the players to have the chemistry of teams that hardly changed the roster this offseason.
As of right now the Stars have some excuses, but another poor performance at home Tuesday against Detroit could really ramp of the pressure of the divisional road game Thursday in Nashville. While fans should relax about the early results, in a division as competitive as the Central, every matchup is vital and even early in the season the Stars can’t afford to drop those points.