If this is the norm for the 2022-23 Dallas Stars, that is more than fine with me. The high-flying offense was back on Saturday as the Stars beat the Nashville Predators 5-1 and swept the two-game series between the two teams.
The top trio was the center of attention all night long at the American Airlines Center. Roope Hintz (2 goals, 1 assist ), Jason Robertson (1 goal, 2 assists), and Joe Pavelski (2 assists) finished with eight points, looking lethal nearly every time they touched the ice.
“Well, they are electric,” Head Coach Pete DeBoer said. “I have seen them before from the other bench and I like them a lot better standing where I was standing tonight. They showed up at a different level tonight.”
While the top line has been doing this for years, the rest of the Stars followed suit on Saturday night. For the second straight game, the puck movement was quick and decisive and Dallas was able to threaten often and finish when they got their golden chances.
It wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows throughout the night. Nashville settled in after the early Dallas goal and pushed the pace for much of the second period, outshooting Dallas 12-6. After they got on the board with a power-play goal late in the frame, that trend continued.
Dallas held tight, however, and was able to get their fourth goal on a beautiful tic-tac-toe passing play from the top line.
Once again, the Stars did not sit back with the lead as they have done in the past. They continued to attack and gave themselves a healthy enough lead to hold onto.
In the final 20 minutes, Dallas held the Preds to just four shots. The outcome never felt in doubt and they didn’t force Jake Oettinger to be a hero. That’s a huge step.
“I think we kept playing more with the puck,” Miro Heiskanen said. “We didn’t get passive and we still made plays and played more with the puck. That’s how we have to play.”
With the new system, comes more offense from the defense, or so we hoped. Well, Miro Heiskanen’s first goal of the season gave us a glimpse of this in action and showed us just how dangerous the 23-year-old blue liner can be with and without the puck.
Perfect, perfect, perfect!
— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) October 16, 2022
“I thought Miro was outstanding tonight from the backend,” DeBoer said. “It felt like he did what he wanted to do tonight with the puck and without it all over the ice.”
This was severely missing from the team over the past few seasons and although they had one of the better-skilled defensemen in the game (John Klingberg), it really hurt their overall team scoring, which finished 21st in the NHL.
So far this year, three defensemen have already recorded a point with Heiskanen leading the group with two (1 goal, 1 assist).
This will continue to be a focal point for DeBoer and his team and gives them layers to their attack.
“We’re not there, but there’s good signs,” DeBoer said. “You can see the room that guys are starting to create and jump into some of those holes. It’s another building block but it’s two games of a long, long season.”
Sam’s Three Stars
- First Star: Roope Hintz, DAL (2 goals, 1 assist)
- Second Star: Jason Robertson, DAL (1 goal, 2 assists)
- Third Star: Miro Heiskanen, DAL (1 goal, 1 assist)
He Said It
“When you are a new coach coming in, you’re throwing a lot of different things at them, it’s important to have some success,” DeBoer said. “It’s not that we don’t have buy-in, I thought we had it right from day one. But it’s nice to reinforce it with wins.”