Stars Want to Build on Success
Tuesday, 11.27.2007 / 4:09 PM / Feature
Six-Game Win Streak Just What the Doctor Ordered
The Stars extended the team’s winning streak to six consecutive games on Monday night with a 3-2 overtime win on Long Island. Dallas has now earned points in eight-straight games (6-0-2) and have also collected points in 10 of the last 11 (8-1-2). Over the last 21 periods of play (including two overtime stanzas) the Stars have outscored the opposition, 22-7.
“We seem to be finding ways to get the job done lately and we have so many parts working together,” said Head Coach Dave Tippett. “Our goalies have been excellent, our special teams have been very good and the bottom line is we are finding ways of getting points. Guys have been working hard to create bounces and there has been some individual success within the team concept, which makes me happy.”
The franchise record for longest winning streak is seven games, which has been accomplished three times (twice since the team came to Dallas in 1993). It hasn’t happened since 1997 and the Stars hope to reach it again on Wednesday with a win at New Jersey.
Over the win streak, Dallas has averaged 3.3 goals-per-game while giving up an average of 1.2 goals against (the Stars have not given up more than 2 goals in any of the six games). The power play has gone 7-for-20 (35.0%) while the penalty kill has hummed along at 92.3% (24-of-26).
A possible catalyst for this run of success? Believe it or not, the 6-5 OT collapse at Los Angeles two weeks ago.
“I hate to even bring it up, but I think the LA game gave us a jolt and reminded us of the little things you have to do all the time,” said Tippett, who’s team blew a 4-0 lead in the final eight minutes of regulation in that contest. “We recognized that night that you have a play a full game every single night to win in this league. It was a hard lesson, but we've responded to it well.”
The Stars are also knocking on the door of one of the best Novembers in team history. Dallas is 8-2-4 so far this month with two games remaining. The team’s best November was in 2005 when it went 10-3-0. The Stars have won nine games in the month of November four times.
The November run has also fueled a charge up the standings for the Stars. Dallas was in ninth place in the Western Conference when the month started with a record of 5-5-2 for 12 points. Tuesday morning’s standings found the team in second place overall in the West (13-7-4, 30 pts.), just two points behind Detroit.
Finding the Back of the Net
Critics of the Stars coming into the season were focused on a perceived lack of offense. The reality is that Dallas has scored the second-most goals in the Western Conference with 72, behind only the Red Wings.
Not surprisingly, Mike Modano’s numbers have been consistently up during the Stars’ recent run of success. The center has 12 points (6 goals, 6 assists) in Dallas’ last 10 games, including two game-winning goals and two power play goals.
Stretching a Good Week into a Good Month
Goalie Mike Smith may have been named as one of the league’s “Three Stars of the Week” yesterday, but it’s actually been a pretty good month for Smitty, let alone a good week.
As of Tuesday morning, Smith has the best goals-against-average of any net-minder in the league for the month of November at 1.42, as well as the top save percentage at .944.
Lehtinen to have surgery
After several days of rest and testing, Jere Lehtinen’s abdominal injury is worse than originally thought and the decision has been made to have surgery, probably later this week.
"We explored all of our options and we wanted to rule out any possible infections as well as have the inflmmation go down,” said Tippett. “He was taking antibiotics, but we determined that we should move forward with surgery to repair a sports hernia. The normal recovery time for a procedure like the one he needs is 8-10 weeks, and we'll know here in the next day or so when he's going to actually have the surgery. We're going to work with what we have and put people in positions to step up and contribute in Jere's absence."
Busy Stretch Continues
The Stars are right smack dab in the middle of a long stretch that sees the team play 11 games in a span of 19 days (Dallas is 5-0-0 so far in that span). The team hopes it can keep the win streak going.
“The players are feeling good about themselves today, but they also realize that tomorrow is a new day and they have to keep fighting to continue this success,” said Tippett. “Practice today was about hands and passing and keeping our timing, since we haven't really had a chance to practice the last few days with the way our schedule played out.”