What we learned from the Stars' opening weekend

Stars vs. Coyotes

Credit: Getty Images

DALLAS, TX - JANUARY 19: Derek Roy #11 of the Dallas Stars falls against Steve Sullivan #26 of the Phoenix Coyotes on opening night at American Airlines Center on January 19, 2013 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

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by JOSH LILE

WFAA Sports Blogger

Posted on January 21, 2013 at 9:10 PM

 With two games under their belts, we know a few things about the 2013 Dallas Stars.

 
We know they miss Jamie Benn. Against the Minnesota Wild the Stars had no counter-attack to speak of. They were out-chanced 19-11 by my unofficial count, a night after out-chancing a Coyotes team bereft of offensive talent 20-15. The longer he remains unsigned, the further back the Stars can expect to fall in the standings.
 
We know the Stars are going to struggle defensively. The young defenders struggled against the Coyotes Saturday night. Jordie Benn had a gigantic turnover that led to a goal. Brenden Dillon shows flashes of excellence, but some of his decision-making has been questionable. The most surprising development so far is how much Philip Larsen struggled. He had a -12 Corsi (net shots directed at net) in game one. 
 
Up front the Stars are struggling to identify defensive options. The third line got run over by the Coyotes while playing against the Antoine Vermette line primarily in the offensive zone. The Stars also had little answer for Zach Parise and company Sunday. 
 
We know the power play isn't going to be a weakness like it was in 2012. The puck movement is far more crisp. The Stars are playing with creativity. They aren't settling for shots from the point. They're moving around and ultimately giving the opposition more to think about which, so far, is leading to more opportunities.
 
Finally, we know the goaltending will continue to be solid. Through two games the Stars have gotten good efforts from Kari Lehtonen and Christopher Nilstorp. Goalie performances can fluctuate wildly from year to year, but through two matchups the Stars appear to still be fine between the pipes.
 
Tuesday night we will see what we learn from watching the Stars take on the limping Red Wings. Possession-centric teams like the Red Wings have been kryptonite to the Stars recently. A good showing would obviously be very encouraging.
 
In addition to WFAA, Josh Lile can be found on Defending Big D and NHL Numbers. He doesn't always tweet, but when he does, he prefers to tweet about CORSI. At @JoshL1220.

 

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