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Takeaways: Stars Show Flashes, Shut Out By Blues 4-0

The Dallas Stars began their preseason with a 4-0 loss to the St. Louis Blues.

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Although most of the game was sloppy, as preseason usually is, the Stars showed some flashes, ultimately getting shut out 4-0 in their opener against the St. Louis Blues on Monday. 

The most impressive players on Monday were the kids. Wyatt Johnston and Logan Stankoven were noticeable, creating multiple scoring chances and keeping the cycle going in the Blues zone. Johnston looked to be a bit nervous on his first few shifts but once he got his legs under him, he showed the vision and playmaking that had him leading the OHL in points last season. 

Yes, he also had a costly turnover, but you take the good with the bad early and hope the 19-year-old learns from both. Once DeBoer swapped Johnston to center and moved Stankoven up to their line with Jamie Benn, they were the best line in the game…“Chubbs and Sons?” “Benny & the Kids?” Okay, I’ll stop. 

“I wanted to get Johnny [Johnston] in the middle, he is a natural centerman, he’s been playing wing the entire camp,” DeBoer said. “I thought that line really had some pop over the last 40 minutes.” 

Stankoven looked good from the start. Skating with Mavrik Bourque and Matej Blumel before being swapped, he looked to have an extra gear compared to the rest of the players on the ice and created plenty of scoring chances for. 

Outside of those two, Ty Dellandrea had a few good shifts, Marian Studenic recorded some chances, but overall, Dallas did not look very creative or energetic all night long. Why? 

Pete DeBoer is implementing an entirely new system. For players that have been with Dallas, they are being asked to learn basically the opposite system that Rick Bowness ran over the past couple of seasons. For the new guys, it is a lot to be thrown at them at once and as DeBoer said last week, these things will take time. 

What I did not see a lot of was the defense joining the rush. In camp, that was the most noticeable aspect of the new system. Again, these things take time and this should get better as the preseason rolls around but should be a focal point heading into game two. 

“Some guys were good, some guys have a little more to show us,” DeBoer said. 

“That’s training camp, that’s a new staff, I’ve been through this before,” DeBoer continued. “It’s not going to be seamless, there is going to be some hesitation in what we are doing until we get it. I think we just have to stick with it.” 

Key Stats

  • Esa Lindell and Jamie Benn led Dallas with four shots. Wyatt Johnston, Matej Blumel, and Artem Grushnikov had three each.
  • The defense pairing of Joseph Cecconi and Grushnikov was minus-3
  • Anton Khudobin stopped 11 of 13 shots in the first period (.846%) and felt healthy after being replaced 
  • Jake Oettinger stopped 13 of 15 shots in two periods (.867)
  • St. Louis goal scorers: Brown, Leivo (2), Bitten
  • Dallas 0-3 on the power play

Sam’s Three Stars 

  • Third Star: Wyatt Johnston, DAL (3 shots)
  • Second Star: Logan Brown, STL (1G, 1A, 7 shots)
  • First Star: Josh Leivo, STL (2G, 1A)

He Said It 

“Work in progress,” DeBoer said. “You want to win every game but you’ve got to have perspective on things. We are coming out of camp, a lot of new systems, we are maybe thinking a little too much, which is natural, which slows you down a little bit. The priority right now is to get everybody an opportunity that is on the bubble to make the team, that’s priority one.” 

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