What to expect on the Stars’ current stretch of home games following a successful road trip

Matthew DeFranks, Stars beat writer for SportsDayDFW.com and The Dallas Morning News, answered your questions about the team during a recent live chat. Here are some highlights:

What do you expect to see in this homestand now that they are finally back in Dallas? A bit of resurgence from the offense?

DeFranks: Yes, I would expect more offense. But that is saying more about their lack of scoring at the tail end of the trip instead of a potential outburst back at home. The Stars have gone 157 minutes without a 5-on-5 goal, scoring during 3-on-3 overtime in Washington, shorthanded in Boston, and on the power play in Columbus. The Stars need more from their offense, especially with Central Division power Nashville coming to town on Saturday afternoon.

A lot of that would start with Tyler Seguin getting back on the scoresheet (Editor’s note: He did Thursday night vs. San Jose), but they could also use contributions from guys like Valeri Nichushkin, Blake Comeau, Mattias Janmark and Gemel Smith.

Did the past road trip actually go about as well as Dallas could have hoped coming back with 5 points?

DeFranks: Yeah, so the Stars went 3-2-1…

… without Alexander Radulov for five games.
… without a goal from Tyler Seguin.
… against four playoff teams from last season.
… by using both goaltenders for at least two starts each.
… and by being hemmed into their own zone a bunch.

This was a great result for the Stars, even if they have plenty of work to do. They won’t always pull points out of games they shouldn’t, and that will catch up to teams across the length of an 82-game season.

It’s always better to have things to fix when you are still gaining points in the standings.

Monty has preached a puck possesion game. However, per naturalstattrick, the Stars have been under 50% CF in 12 of their 15 games. What do you see as a reason behind this and what do you believe the Stars can do differently to start taking over games in the shot share?

DeFranks: I’m not sure of the reason behind this, honestly. I’m sure some of it is having three defensemen (Methot, Carrick, Johns) hurt and not being able to break the puck out of their own end. At times against Boston and Columbus, Dillon Heatherington got stuck on the ice for long shifts because the Stars couldn’t clear the zone. Maybe that would be different with healthy bodies.

On the offensive end, it’s not just that the Stars are being out-attempted. It’s that they are getting so few attempts at all. In each of the last six games, they’ve had 40 or less attempts at 5-on-5. That’s poor. Could be the absence of Alexander Radulov, but I hate to think that these numbers can solely be attributed to who is currently injured.

We’ll keep an eye on it and try to figure out what’s going wrong.

So, is Tyler Seguin going to score like 1,000 goals in a week once he breaks this scoring drought?

DeFranks: 1,000? Sure, give or take like 990.

But for a talented goal scorer like Tyler Seguin, it’s just a matter of time until he gets going for the Stars. He’s tied a career-long by going 12 straight games scoreless. (Editor’s note: Again, Seguin scored on Thursday, finally.) He’s 0 for his last 57 shots on goal. But he leads the NHL in shots on goal and has been generating a ton of scoring chances. If his play were different around the drought, you should probably be more worried, but he’s played decently. Just ran into some posts and hot goaltenders and general poor puck luck.

Also, maybe this wasn’t something you could say a few years ago, but he’s doing much more than scoring goals. He has six assists since his last goal. He’s taken on other team’s top lines, including John Tavares in Toronto and Patrice Bergeron in Boston. He’s been counted on to win key defensive zone draws late in games. And he’s penalty killed.

The Stars need Seguin to score goals, yes. That is not debatable. But he hasn’t played poorly overall through this drought.

View the entire chat.

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