Are the Dallas Stars Quietly Becoming Serious Contenders in the West?

The phrase silent but deadly doesn’t only refer to smells, but it also could refer to how well sports teams are playing as well. This is the perfect description of the Dallas Stars right now. They have won five straight games and are comfortably in the first wild card spot in the Western Conference (up six points on the Minnesota Wild).

Dallas plays in a very tough Central Division and if the season ended right now, they would play the Nashville Predators in the first round. The Stars are in fourth place in the Central Division, but they are one point behind the St. Louis Blues for the third spot in the Central Division and the Stars are three points behind the Winnipeg Jets and the Nashville Predators for second and first.

Ken Hitchcock has this team playing well right now and they could be a team no one wants to play against in the postseason. Dallas has scored 175 goals so far this season and they have given up 145 goals. That’s one of the best goal differentials in the NHL this season.

Dallas missed the playoffs last season after making it to the postseason the year before as the number one seed in the Central Division before losing to the St. Louis Blues in seven games in the semifinals. The Stars haven’t won the Stanley Cup since 1999 and Hitchcock was actually the coach of that team.

Offseason acquisition Alexander Radulov leads the Stars with 53 points (21 goals and 32 assists). Jamie Benn has scored 21 goals and recorded 31 assists so far this season. John Klingberg has only scored seven goals, but he has recorded 45 assists so far this season which is one of the best in the NHL.

Tyler Seguin has scored 29 goals and recorded 22 assists so far this season. Dallas also has some very good role players Mattias Janmark (15 goals and 14 assists) and Radek Faska (12 goals and 13 assists). Devin Shore and Jason Speeza each have scored seven goals so far this season.

The Stars defense is playing a lot better this season and so has been the goaltending. Ben Bishop was traded to the Dallas Stars in the offseason by the Los Angeles Kings after he was traded from the Tampa Bay Lightning at the trade deadline last season. Bishop’s record so far this season is 23-14-3 with a .920 save percentage and a 2.43 GAA, along with four shutouts.

Backup Kari Lehtonen’s record so far this season is 10-5-1 with a .919 save percentage and a 2.26 GAA. Dallas obviously made the right move getting rid of goaltender Antti Niemi in the offseason.

Dallas is ranked 17th in the NHL in power play percentage (20.1%). Dallas is ranked 10th in the NHL in penalty kill percentage (82.2%). If the Stars continue to play at a high level until the end of the regular season, people will take Dallas seriously come playoff time and they aren’t talked about enough because they have the Winnipeg Jets, St. Louis Blues, and Nashville Predators in their division.


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