Grading the Dallas Stars Over Their Last Four Games

DALLAS, TX - JANUARY 30: Dallas Stars center Tyler Seguin (91) celebrates scoring a goal with his teammates during the game between the Dallas Stars and the Boston Bruins on January 30, 2022 at American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Matthew Pearce/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Over the past week, the Dallas Stars have won three of their last four games. Despite a 23-17-2 record, the Stars are still a borderline playoff team in the Western Conference. Dallas is currently tied for the second Wild Card spot but are nine points behind the fourth-place Blues in the Central Division. Here are the grades for the Dallas Stars over their past four games.

@ Flyers

The Stars played a modest game in Jake Oettinger’s first start since being pulled in back-to-back games. Dallas outplayed a broken Flyers team that came into the game on an 11-game losing streak. Roope Hintz notched his 18th goal of the season to open the scoring. In what was Oettinger’s only hiccup of the game, Ivan Provorov scored with just under eight minutes left in the second. Even then, Provorov’s shot banked off John Klingberg’s skate before entering the net.

Besides that, the game came down to the goalies, and Oettinger and Carter Hart came ready to play. Oettinger was locked in while Hart stood on his head for most of the game. With 3:21 left in the game, the Stars cycled the offensive zone. Joel Kiviranta gave the puck to Hintz behind the net, who centered the puck for Jacob Peterson. Peterson snapped a quick shot that got past Hart and gave the Stars the lead. Joe Pavelski iced the game when he scored an empty-net goal with 1:37 remaining in the game.

Overall the Stars played alright. They outshot the Flyers by a large margin but couldn’t finish some of their dangerous scoring chances. Oettinger played great, stopping 27 of 28 shots. The top line of Hintz, Pavelski, and Jason Robertson all tallied points. It was a good, quiet win for the Stars.

Garde: -A

@ Devils

On Tuesday, the Stars beat the Devils 5-1 to win their fifth-straight game. Dallas played a complete game and thoroughly dominated the Devils. Pavelski scored twice in the first period, as did Peterson. Pavelski scored on Devils goalie Akira Smid fourteen seconds into the game. His second goal was a tip from a Miro Heiskanen shot with 3:12 remaining in the first. The Stars added to their lead in the second when Hintz scored the team’s fourth goal of the game. Jani Hakanpaa capped off the game with an empty-net goal to cement the 5-1 win.

Compared to the game against the Flyers, the Stars were a completely different team. While they struggled a bit against less competitive teams like the Flyers, Red Wings, Sabres, and Canadiens over the past two weeks, this was an absolute blowout. The Devils struggled to get anything going offensively, only mustering one goal against a struggling Braden Holtby. The only justified criticism is the Stars’ penalty kill allowing a power-play goal, as they continue to be bad at killing penalties. The Stars’ power-play didn’t score either, but I feel I am nitpicking at this point.

Grade: A

Vs. Capitals

A heartfelt night turned into disappointment, as the Stars were shut out against the Capitals the same night of Sergei Zubov’s jersey retirement. The clobbering began when Pavelski’s goal inside the first two minutes was overturned. Jason Robertson couldn’t control the puck on the blue line and entered the zone prematurely. The Capitals challenged and won the call, only to take a penalty seconds later. Tom Wilson netted the first goal for the Capitals eight seconds into the power-play.

Holtby just couldn’t get into a rhythm, letting in three goals in the first period. Two of the five goals came on a Capitals power-play. Holtby’s most egregious mistake came when he was faked out of position by Lars Eller in the second period. Eller held his shot and skated towards the corner with no pressure from the Stars. Holtby tried to wait out Eller and close the angles by sliding out of his net. Eller centered the puck to the front, and Connor McMichael easily scored. Holtby would allow one more goal in the second before being pulled for Oettinger.

The Pavelski goal was a promising sign that the Stars were going to honor Zubov with a win. Once that goal was called back, they fell apart. Much like the two-goal meltdown against the Blues earlier this month, Dallas lost their edge after a call didn’t go their way. Nobody played well for the Stars on Friday.

Grade: F

Vs. Bruins

With a day’s rest from the 5-1 loss to the Capitals, the Stars emerged as world-beaters, with a 6-1 win against the Boston Bruins. Considering the Stars lost to an elite team like the Capitals the night before, the dismantling of the Bruins came as a shock. Tyler Seguin scored seven minutes into the game. Then Alexander Radulov made it 2-0 on a breakaway with 4:37 left in the period. Luke Glendening and Jamie Benn scored within a minute of each other during the second period. In the third period, Hintz scored on the power-play, while Seguin scored his second goal of the game with just over a minute left in the game.

Oettinger came up with some big saves against Boston early. He stopped dangerous chances from David Pastrnak and Taylor Hall in both the first and second periods. Oettinger posted his second straight quality start since being pulled from back-to-back games last week. The Stars top line of Hintz, Robertson, and Pavelski only posted a combined two points while six goals were scored. Most of the scoring came from the second and third lines.

Seguin scored twice to tally his 13th and 14th goals of the season. Seguin missed all but three games last year recovering from injury and has commented that he still is trying to get back to 100%. He now has four points in his last five games. The Stars defense locked down a Boston squad that scores about three goals on average. The penalty kill fended off Boston’s only power-play of the game. Dallas’ PK has allowed a power-play goal in all but two of their last 11 games. Overall, the Stars showed up against an elite opponent and converted on most of their chances.

Grade: A

What’s Next?

The Stars will face the Calgary Flames on Tuesday before taking a week off for the All-Star break. With a win against the Flames, they will take over the second Wild Card spot for the Western Conference.

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