The Dallas Stars are 6-3-1 in their last 10 games and are close to last in goals forced per game, so this will be a very defensive game for both teams. Throughout the last five games, both the Devils and Dallas Stars points leaders are defensemen sitting still at four points. Sami Vatanen for the Devils has four assists in five games whereas Miro Heiskanen has three assists and one goal in the last five games that he’s played.
The Devils defence is a much scarier thing than their offence which really isn’t saying much when you look at the goalie’s stats. Mackenzie Blackwood is currently boasting an 8-8-1 record and a .899% and backup goalie Louis Domingue is currently at 1-3-0 and a .858%. There are also seven Devils players posting near or above a -10, worst of which is “prized pickup” P.K. Subban at an alarmingly bad -15. I am aware +/- is a pretty useless stat by itself, but when you’re that bad, it’s clearly indicative of quite a large problem.
The Stars defence is what is keeping the team together, however, sophomore Miro Heiskanen is looking extremely comfortable out there in the #1D slot, almost as if he’d been in the league for a decade or so. He’s put up seven goals and 14 assists for 21 points and has a Plus/Minus rating of +8 to go alongside 39 blocked shots this season. He’s taken over the #1D slot from John Klingberg who has been struggling immensely this season, notching only two goals and eight assists for a total of 10 points and a -11.
Him and Jamie Oleksiak (-2) are the only Stars defenders to have a negative +/-. The Stars goalie tandem of Ben Bishop and Anton Khudobin have been keeping this team competitive while the forward core sits on their butts and does nothing. The Stars are 26th in goals forced per game at 2.61 GF/GP, but fourth in Goals Against Per Game(GA/GP) at 2.39.
Starting Goaltender Ben Bishop currently has a record of 11-6-2 and a .932% this season and backup Anton Khudobin has a record of 6-5-0 and a .922%. The goalies are the backbones for any team, but for this team especially. Without the performances these two put up every game, the Stars would be nowhere near a playoff spot. Keep this in mind when you decide to blame the goalies for “losing a game.”
So, to recap: Forward core for both teams are bad. Devils defence is bad, Devils goalies are bad. Don’t expect this to be a high scoring game because even though the Devils goalies aren’t doing too great, neither are the rest of the Stars forwards.