Three Major Factors in Stars’ Win Against Sabres

DALLAS, TX - JANUARY 18: Dallas Stars center Riley Damiani (13) skates up the ice during the game between the Dallas Stars and the Montreal Canadiens on January 18, 2022 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas,Texas. (Photo by Matthew Pearce/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The Dallas Stars completed multiple comebacks en route to a 5-4 win against the Sabres. This win needs to spark a surmountable point streak for a Stars team that is beginning to get desperate. The Stars broke a three-game losing streak that culminated in a debilitating 5-3 loss to the Montreal Canadiens, one of the worst teams in the NHL. With their win on Thursday, the conversation goes from trying to highlight the team’s recent failure to rebounding back into a contender. Here are three major factors in the Stars’ win against the Sabres.

The Powerplay Explodes

The Stars’ powerplay has been a rollercoaster this year. They can go from elite to inept during 5-on-4 play. Against the Sabres, the Stars powerplay went four-for-five, netting both the game-tying and game-winning goals. A far cry from Tuesday’s 5-3 loss to the Sabres, where the Stars went one-for-seven on the powerplay. Arguably, if the Stars scored two more times on the powerplay on Tuesday, the game would have been tired. Notably, the Stars hit the post numerous times throughout the game.

The Stars’ powerplay is in the top five in powerplay percentage and powerplay goals this season. When the Stars have a man advantage, Jason Robertson, Roope Hintz, Joe Pavelski, and Tyler Seguin are elite scoring threats. Those four have scored a combined 19 of the 30 powerplay goals for the season. Hintz, Robertson, and Seguin all scored powerplay goals last night, with Pavelski assisting on two of them.

The results over the last two games show how vital the powerplay is to the Stars’ offense. They score about 27 percent of their powerplay chances, which puts them among other elite teams like the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Colorado Avalanche. If the regulars on the powerplay unit can stay healthy, the Stars will continue to have a fantastic powerplay.

Jason Robertson

Robertson returned to action after missing two games with a lower-body injury. On Thursday, Robertson played an essential role on Dallas’ offense. He notched two powerplay goals, including the game-winning goal, and assisted Hintz’s powerplay goal in the second period. Robertson tied for the team leads in shots and minutes on the powerplay. He continues to prove that he will be a cornerstone for the Stars’ future. He now has 35 points in 29 games, 15 of them goals.

Robertson opened the scoring for the Stars in the first period. He corralled a rebound off a John Klingberg shot and roofed the puck over Sabres goalie Aaron Dell. His second goal came with 3:32 remaining in the third period. While on the powerplay, the Stars cycled the puck around the offensive zone. Pavelski possessed the puck along the boards then sent it into the corner. Seguin flicked the puck into the slot, causing it to go airborne until Robertson deflected it into the net. It was his fifth game-winning goal of the season.

“We kept it really simple tonight, and it paid off,” Roberson said after the game. “I kind of have a knack of going into the smart areas. I can kind of look up to Joe [Pavelski], who does score a lot of goals in a similar area. So, just trying to find some soft ice and glad the puck was able to find my stick and go in.”

Resilience When Down

The Stars were behind for most of Thursday’s game but did enough to stick around. They came back from two separate two-goal deficits and tied the game twice before taking the lead in the third. While a large part of the comeback goes to the powerplay, the Stars outshot the Sabres 47 to 24, creating more chances at the front of the net. Buffalo is a sub-.500 team, who struggle in net and with their defense. Considering Dell is a fringe starter in the NHL, he is likely to give up a few goals when facing 47 shots.

Braden Holtby and the Dallas defense did not have a good night. Holtby allowed four goals on 24 shots, while opponents have scored 17 against Dallas over the last five games. The Stars offense will need to keep them in games until Holtby and Jake Oettinger can get into a groove again. Despite the large number of goals allowed in their last five games, Dallas is only outscored 17-15 during that period.

The Stars will look to keep the momentum going in their next game against the Red Wings on Friday night in Detriot.

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