Home US SportsNHL Improved overtime success playing huge role in Stars’ playoff push

Improved overtime success playing huge role in Stars’ playoff push

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If the Dallas Stars find yourself returning to the Stanley Cup Playoffs this season (and they’re in a great place to take action) they’ve a large swing of their time beyond regulation fortunes to thank for it.

Through the 2020-21 season they fell 4 factors in need of the playoffs within the NHL’s reconfigured Central Division, and there have been two primary causes for it. And so they have been considerably associated.

The primary is that they performed virtually your entire season with out Tyler Seguin and Alexander Radulov, two gamers they have been relying on to be amongst their prime offensive gamers. That’s quite a lot of talent to take out of the lineup, particularly in time beyond regulation and shootout video games the place talent in the end takes over.

The second is that they have been one of many worst groups within the league in video games determined past regulation, going 6-14 in time beyond regulation and shootouts. That features an 0-5 document in opposition to the Nashville Predators, the workforce that completed simply 4 factors forward of them for that fourth playoff spot within the division.

It has been the exact opposite story for the Stars this season, as they enter Tuesday’s sport in opposition to the Anaheim Ducks with a 13-3 document in video games determined past regulation. That could be a large swing, going from one of many league’s worst groups in these video games to among the best.

The Stars are one level behind the Vegas Golden Knights for the second Wild Card spot as of Tuesday, however nonetheless have 4 video games in hand. Their present tempo has them on monitor for 96 factors this season. Vegas is on a 91-point tempo whereas the 2 groups solely have one head-to-head assembly remaining. It’s a must to like Dallas’ possibilities proper now.

So what has modified for the Stars in time beyond regulation this season to dramatically swing their season to the opposite facet of the playoff bubble?

Other than the truth that there is a component of luck to 3-on-3 conditions and shootout, there are a few issues that do stand out.

[Related: NHL Power Rankings: Competition for Avalanche in West; Bruins keep climbing]

The primary is improved goaltending in each the time beyond regulation interval and shootouts. The Stars goalies this season (a quartet of Jake Oettinger, Braden Holtby, Anton Khudobin, and the not too long ago acquired Scott Wedgewood) have been dramatically higher than Oettinger and Khudobin have been in each conditions a 12 months in the past. Holtby is clearly a brand new addition to the roster versus a 12 months in the past. Goaltending is at all times a reasonably vital game-changer in any state of affairs.

Up to now this season Stars goalies have the second-best 3-on-3 save share within the NHL at .971.

A 12 months in the past they have been 14th at .861.

Noticeable enchancment.

However there may be one other noticeable change of their time beyond regulation conditions that’s enjoying a serious function of their success. It’s the means to truly use their finest gamers in time beyond regulation. And, maybe simply as importantly, truly benefiting from the chance to make use of them.

First, check out the eight Stars gamers with essentially the most time beyond regulation ice-time a 12 months in the past (so as of highest to lowest): Miro Heiskanen, John Klingberg, Jamie Benn, Esa Lindell, Jason Dickinson, Joe Pavelski, Radek Faska, Jason Robertson.

Now examine that listing to the eight gamers with essentially the most time beyond regulation ice-time this season (once more so as of highest to lowest): Roope Hintz, John Klingberg, Miro Heiskanen, Tyler Seguin, Jamie Benn, Jason Robertson, Joe Pavelski, Esa Lindell.

Pay further particular consideration to the primary 5 – 6 gamers in every group. That could be a fairly dramatic swing. Three of the Stars’ top-five gamers in time beyond regulation ice-time a 12 months in the past have been defenseman, together with one (Lindell) that isn’t actually recognized for offense. The highest-two forwards a 12 months in the past have been Jamie Benn, whose offense has quickly declined, and Jason Dickinson, a participant that has by no means topped 10 targets in a season.

Not ultimate!

Hintz and Seguin each had their availability final 12 months restricted by harm (Seguin performed in simply two video games; Hintz missed 15 video games), whereas Robertson merely was not a participant the Stars leaned on, enjoying simply 58 seconds per time beyond regulation sport. This season he’s seeing an additional 30 seconds of ice time per time beyond regulation. Higher goaltending extending video games performs a consider that, positive, however there may be additionally a transparent utilization change and getting a possibility to make use of gamers like Hintz, Seguin, and Robertson extra in these conditions can also be going to increase video games.

Up to now this season Seguin has already contributed to 2 time beyond regulation targets, scoring one and aiding on one other, whereas Hintz has contributed to 4 (scoring one and aiding on three).

Bear in mind, these two guys didn’t even crack the top-eight when it comes to Stars’ time beyond regulation ice-time a 12 months in the past due to accidents. Hintz was sidelined for eight of the Stars’ 20 time beyond regulation video games a 12 months in the past, with the Stars successful simply a kind of video games. Seguin missed 19 of them. That doesn’t even get into Robertson’s utilization as he was behind Jason Dickinson on the Stars’ time beyond regulation ice-time itemizing. Robertson has two time beyond regulation targets this season and an time beyond regulation help.

The Stars are proper on the playoff bubble for the second 12 months in a row, and each potential level goes to make a distinction. A 12 months in the past they didn’t get these further factors in time beyond regulation.

This 12 months they’re. It could be sufficient to get them that Wild Card spot.

Extra NHL Information

Concern is ‘high’ for MacKinnon injury; likely hurt in fight NHL salary cap projected at $82.5 million next season; More from GM meetings Senators owner Eugene Melnyk dies at 62

Adam Gretz is a author for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or observe him on Twitter @AGretz.

Improved overtime success playing huge role in Stars’ playoff push initially appeared on NBCSports.com



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