Skip to content

Banged-up Stars improbably stand alone in eighth place

Feb 24, 2012, 11:48 PM EDT

Niklas Backstrom, Loui Eriksson, Kim Johnsson AP

If any Western Conference bubble team has an excuse to fade from the playoffs, it’s the Dallas Stars.

Their All-Star Jamie Benn suffered his second hard-luck injury of the season when a skate blade cut his leg. Brenden Morrow‘s on the IR and really hasn’t been right all year. Mike Ribeiro, Alex Goligoski, Kari Lehtonen and even Loui Eriksson have missed some time here and there.

Combine those injuries with a shoe-string budget, undeniably sparse home crowds and even a bit of deck-clearing via trades and it’s downright stupefying that this Stars team keeps chugging along.

They’re doing that right now, though, as Dallas established sole possession of eighth place in the Western Conference with a defiant 4-1 win against the Minnesota Wild. Maybe you can discount triumphing in back-to-back games because Minny was doing the same, but it’s an impressive feat nonetheless.

Dallas is now on a three-game winning streak and stands at 3-1-1 in the five games following Benn’s latest ailment. The biggest factor has been goaltending, as Kari Lehtonen has allowed a single goal in his last two games while Richard Bachman allowed a lone tally against the dangerous Blackhawks in Chicago last night. It hasn’t just been about their netminding, either, as they’ve gotten a little of everything to thrive in unlikely circumstances.

***

Can they keep it up and make the playoffs, though? It looks like the race will be awfully close. Sports Club Stats currently gives them a slight edge to hold onto eighth place, as they have a 36.2 percent chance to make the playoffs compared to Calgary (32.9), Los Angeles (25.4) and Colorado (18.5).

Yup, it won’t be easy, but you’d be wise not to bet against the Stars at this point.

  1. trbowman - Feb 25, 2012 at 3:41 AM

    Look at those teams battle for the right to get whooped by the Red Wings or Canucks in the first round!

  2. trbowman - Feb 25, 2012 at 3:45 AM

    I like LA a lot more now they’ve got Jeff Carter. I definitely think they make it, maybe even as the seventh seed

    That trade was great by the Kings.

    Jack Johnson is pretty overrated too.

    • mattryannolan - Feb 25, 2012 at 10:31 AM

      So is Jeff Carter. It’s ok, if he doesn’t like it in LA he will half-ass everything till he is traded again.

  3. darksidecowboy - Feb 25, 2012 at 11:47 AM

    Things are changing in Bid D, slowly but surely. The shoestring budget will end (new ownership) come trade deadline, and this Summer expect the Stars to make a mammoth signing. Laugh now, but if these guys make the playoffs with the goaltending we have now, and a possibly a Nash trade, it could be a different beast entirely in two weeks.

  4. cup0pizza - Feb 25, 2012 at 3:30 PM

    Go Stars! In 2 to 3 years they’ll be scary.

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. K. Hayes (1807)
  2. R. Johansen (1674)
  3. S. Crosby (1631)
  4. J. Spezza (1383)
  5. A. Ovechkin (1306)
  1. S. Mason (1197)
  2. D. Alfredsson (1197)
  3. C. MacArthur (1167)
  4. J. Giguere (1158)
  5. R. Malone (1107)