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8-1-1 in Last Ten, Dallas Stars (+1600) Still Trail Division-Rival Avalanche & Blues in 2020 Stanley Cup Odds

Dallas Stars captain Jamie Benn during warmup
Dallas Stars captain Jamie Benn has just 13 points in 26 games this season, but his team is still red-hot. Photo by Picasa (Wiki Commons) [CC License]
  • Dallas has been the hottest team in the Central of late, but still has the third-best Stanley Cup odds in the division
  • Both defending Stanley Cup champions St. Louis (+1200) and Colorado (+1400) have shorter odds than the Stars (+1600)
  • Giving up just 2.35 goals per game, Dallas has the second-best defense in the NHL

A quarter of the way through the NHL season, teams that are more contenders than pretenders are slowly starting to emerge. But even within that group, some are viewed as bubble teams, benefiting from a hot streak that might not be enough to power them into June.

Are the Dallas Stars one of those teams? After a slow start to the season, the team had average 2020 Stanley Cup odds of +2800 back on October 22, but its recent 8-1-1 run has seen those odds improve +1600.

2020 Stanley Cup Odds

Team Odds at Bovada
Boston Bruins +850
Tampa Bay Lightning +900
Washington Capitals +1000
New York Islanders +1200
Toronto Maple Leafs +1200
St. Louis Blues +1200
Colorado Avalanche +1400
Edmonton Oilers +1600
Dallas Stars +1600
Vegas Golden Knights +1600
Nashville Predators +2000
Pittsburgh Penguins +2500
Florida Panthers +2500

Odds taken Nov. 27.

Retooled Roster

After the disappointment of a double-overtime Game 7 loss to the eventual-champion Blues in the second round of last year’s playoffs, the Stars realized they didn’t need to tear the team down. Rather, they needed a few tweaks here and there.

With the top line of Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin and Alexander Radulov accounting for 42.6% of the team’s goals last year, the front office decided to diversify the offense, signing veterans like Corey Perry and Joe Pavelski.

The results haven’t been great, as Dallas is averaging 2.73 goals per game this season, good for just 23rd in the NHL.  Perry has shown why the Ducks found him to be expendable, as the former Hart Trophy-winner has just three goals through 19 games.

However, second-year winger Roope Hintz has been a pleasant surprise. His 10 goals have already surpassed last year’s total of nine.

Defensive Juggernaut

It’s in their own end where the Stars really shine. Giving up just 2.35 goals against per game has been key for Dallas’s recent run. With a sterling 14-2-1 record in its last 17 games, only Tuesday’s 3-0 loss in Chicago prevented the Stars from establishing a new franchise high for consecutive wins with eight.

Both former Vezina Trophy-finalist Ben Bishop and backup Anton Khudobin are providing All-Star-caliber goaltending, with their goals-against averages of 2.24 and 2.14 respectively well under the league average of 2.85. Similarly, their save percentages of .926 and .931 are well above the league average of .909.

Are the Stars For Real?

While the defense is seemingly taking care of itself, both this season and last (when the Stars were again second-best in the NHL in goals against), the obstacle to making a deep run into the playoffs is their goal-scoring, or lack thereof.

With just 71 goals this season, Dallas is firmly middle of the pack at 17th overall.

But advanced statistics seem to indicate this is something which should improve as the newcomers to the team become more familiar with both their teammates and the system.

With 310 high-danger scoring chances generated in all situations so far, the Stars are tied for first in the NHL in that category, alongside Carolina.

Their expected goals number is 74.72, nearly four goals higher than their actual goals for, suggesting that there could be a number of players squeezing their stick a little too hard in Dallas right now, or that the team is just plain unlucky in front of goal.

Either way, with a Fenwick total of 1,093 unblocked shots, to go along with those 310 high-danger chances, it seems only a matter of time until the goals start going in. And looking on the bright side, Dallas still has four-and-a-half months of the regular season remaining to figure it out.

Dallas is going to be a tough out in the playoffs and represents a good bet in both the Central Division and the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Betting advice: Dallas is good value at +1600.

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