Things couldn’t have gone much worse for the Dallas Stars over the opening weekend of the 2017-18 NHL season. After “winning” the offseason by acquiring, arguably, the best available goalie, FA forward, and top four defenseman, the Stars were then gifted a season opening home game versus the newest franchise in the league – the Vegas Golden Knights.
The new goalie got hurt after keeping a clean sheet and Dallas generated an estimated gazillion shots on goal but couldn’t put one by 3-time Cup Champion Marc-André Fleury. Dallas did put one in on the power play (Tyler Seguin), but then gave up two in the third to former Star James Neal, allowing Vegas to leave town with the hard-to-get first franchise win – the first new franchise in the past five to win in their debut.
Dallas outshot Vegas 46-30, but couldn’t convert and paid for it.
On the road on Saturday night in a back-to-back start to the season at the St Louis Blues, Dallas again outshot the opponent, but only converted one 5v5 goal. St Louis, who was rested (after beating Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday) and spurred on by an opening night crowd, made Dallas pay with three goals in the first after absorbing a strong opening eight minutes by the visitors.
The remainder of the game was shut-down hockey by Mike Yeo’s club, as they didn’t allow Dallas to get any closer than two (three-one after Seguin again converted on the power play, and four-two after Janmark scored Dallas’ only even strength goal of the opening weekend).
- Shot generation like what Dallas put up in two games will tend to result in goals sooner than later;
- Bishop still hasn’t given up a goal;
- Special teams (2/8 on the power play and 7/8 on the PK) were the worst in the league last year – this start should go a long way toward rectifying that.
- Puck watching on both of St Louis’ first goals;
- Backup goalie seeming to have no confidence in his game – giving up a lead on opening night and allowing three before the first intermission Saturday;
- Injuries – Bishop with stitches to his right eye on opening night and an apparent aggravation of Hanzal’s ankle injury Saturday – have all Stars fans wondering if a repeat of last year’s opening month in the trainer’s room is happening again;
- and lack of 5v5 production.
Overall, a disappointing start to what many believe will be a second, maybe third round appearance in the postseason for this club.
Player of the week: Jon Klingberg 1G/1A
Next up: Week 2 – Home dates vs DET and COL with a trip to NASH in between. Dallas needs 3 points, minimum, out of this week.