The Stars are off to their best start since 2015-16, when they finished first in the Central Division and Western Conference standings. But the 8-3-1record is just the start.
What has really impressed about this club is how they are winning.
In the first 12 games, Dallas has won eight, seven of which came by three or more goals (the only one that did not was a 2-0 shutout victory).
In that time, the Stars have trailed for an average of just 5:58 per game. That is the best in the league. On the flip side, the club has also led for an average of 36:46 per game. That is also the best in the league. But it doesn’t stop there.
Dallas has led at some point in 11 of their 12 games. They have scored 46 goals (3.83 per game), and are tied for the second-best goal differential in the league (+19). Aside from the Vegas Golden Knights and Boston Bruins, who began 2022-23 with a combined 21-4 record, Dallas has been the most dominant team this season.
“I think we’ve gotten off to a good start,” Joe Pavelski said. “We’re not chasing it like we have in the past. We have seen as a group, when our compete is at a really good level, we are a strong four-line team.”
It doesn't stop there.
The Stars have the fourth-best power play, running at a 29.27% success rate. Their penalty kill sits fifth at 84.62%. No team in the NHL even ranks in the top 10 in both specialty teams categories…Dallas is in the top five of both. That is elite.
As for their personnel, things could not be going much better.
Jake Oettinger has been the best goaltender in the NHL (before his minor injury). Scott Wedgewood has been excellent in relief. The top line of Roope Hintz, Jason Robertson, and Joe Pavelski has accounted for 46 points and owns nearly all offensive statistics.
Goals – 1st
Goal% – 1st (by a wiiide margin)
Goals/60 – 1st
Goals Ag. – 2nd pic.twitter.com/7m6titaGLb
— Joshua Skinner (@JoshuaSkinnerTV) November 6, 2022
Veterans Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin have gotten off to elite starts, with 11 and 10 points, respectively. They are receiving offense from just about everywhere (only Radek Faksa, Joel Hanley, Nils Lundkvist, and Ryan Suter have not scored). Superstar Miro Heiskanen has been more dangerous offensively (eight points in nine games), and elite defensively. And most importantly, each player in that room has fully bought into Head Coach Pete DeBoer and his staff’s vision of what this team can be.
"I think we are [clicking as a team], we are winning games," DeBoer said. "We still have a lot of things we want to improve at. Your game, from a coaching perspective, is never exactly where you want it to be and it sure isn't this early in the year. But we've got great buy-in and great contributions from a bunch of different people, so that's a great start."
Having so much success has led to even more success and quicker assimilation into the new coach’s system. DeBoer loves to roll four lines and since the Stars have been winning far more often than not, he has been able to do that without issue.
“That’s what we want to be, we want to be a four-line team,” Stars Head Coach Pete DeBoer said. “We want to come at you in waves. We need four lines to be able to play with the kind of pace we want to play with. When you are out in front, it’s easier to do that obviously. But we earned the lead we got, and that allowed us to get everyone out there.”
12 games is not a large sample size. But it is large enough to really start digging. The deeper you get into this Stars team, the more you realize that they might be for real. So enjoy it.