The Stars may not be able to face the Penguins, Flyers, Bruins, Rangers and Capitals as was set in the schedule released last summer, but that doesn't mean the Stars don't have any points of interest in the new, shortened schedule. Below are some highlights I took from looking at the upcoming 48-game season:
- January 34 (vs Chicago)- This will be the first game of the season against what is expected to be a contender. Sure the game in Detroit on January 22 can be considered the first, but until we see how their defense turns out, I think the Blackhawks are considered a tad bit more of a contender. Also, the last time these two teams met was when Chicago came to Dallas March 16, 2011 during the Stars’ critical race to win the division. Chicago jumped on the board with a goal 10 seconds into the game and then another goal 1:32 later, and they held on to win. The Stars ended up losing 7 of their next 10 to close out the season and miss out on the playoffs.
- March 7 (at Los Angeles)- Surprisingly, the 23rd game of the Stars’ season is when they get their first crack at their division rivals and defending Stanley Cup Champions.
- March 12-18- This is a four-game home stand in which three of the teams they face are expected to be on the outside looking in when it comes to playoff time. In this stretch they play every other night and face Nashville, Anaheim, Chicago and Calgary. This is a middle of the season home stand against teams the Stars will need to prove they are better than to even think about the playoffs.
- March 23- April 1- This is the longest home stand of the season for the Stars. 5 games in 9 nights. They host Colorado, Minnesota twice, Los Angeles and Anaheim. Yet another stretch of games against teams that are expected to be fighting for the last couple of playoff spots.
- April 1-5- The Stars face the Ducks 3 times in 5 nights. They will be very familiar with each other’s play and chances are they will be sick of seeing each other so much in such a short span.
- April 13-27- The Stars play some of the best teams in the Western conference to end the season. In their last eight games of the season they play vs San Jose, @ Chicago, vs Vancouver, @ St. Louis, @ Los Angeles, @ San Jose and then close out the season hosting Columbus and Detroit.
- March is HUGE. Stars play 9 out of 13 games in March at home and six of the games are against teams in their division.
- The Stars have four 3-game road swings to survive this season, but they are never on the road for more than 3 games.
- Back-To-Backs: The Stars will play in 9 back-to-backs this season. Four of those games will be at home. Five of those games will be against Pacific Division opponents, three of which will be against the Coyotes.
For a look at the full schedule, of course you can check out the Stars official site.