Dallas Stars

Desperate starts, strong finishes. Stars building on a trend before six-game road trip

Dallas Stars center Jason Dickinson celebrates his first goal of the season, which came in overtime as the Stars defeated the Arizona Coyotes 3-2 on Tuesday.
Dallas Stars center Jason Dickinson celebrates his first goal of the season, which came in overtime as the Stars defeated the Arizona Coyotes 3-2 on Tuesday. AP

Jim Montgomery said his team had its most ‘desperate’ start of the season on Tuesday night during a 4-2 win over the Los Angeles Kings.

His players might have topped that effort in their Thursday night win over Anaheim, beating the Ducks, 5-2 at the American Airlines Center.

Jason Dickinson got things started all on his own when he carried low down the right side and moved the puck past goalie John Gibson with a smooth backhand that gave his team a 1-0 lead.

A 2-1 lead arrived a short time later when defenseman Roman Polak got the puck right above on the right goal line and flipped it behind Gibson’s left shoulder.

Early on, Montgomery’s players applied the type of pressure that will make him sleep a little bit better before the team embarks on three-game road trip that begins with a game in Detroit against the Red Wings on Sunday.

By the time the first horn sounded, the Stars (5-4-0) had converted on two of their 11 shots. Anaheim dropped to 5-5-1.

Not only that, the offense was able to get to a quality netminder from the drop of the puck, something it struggled with last week. Gibson entered Thursday night with the third-best save percentage in the NHL (.949).

No coach is happy when his team gives away a two-goal lead, but Montgomery had to at least be a little bit pleased with the way his team punched back, literally and figuratively.

Things got pretty chippy in the second period. Yet, the Stars, despite a few dumb penalties, didn’t lose their cool and were able to re-capture the momentum of that first-period to the tune of three more goals and a 5-2 lead after two.

One of those goals was the first of 19-year-old Miro Heiskanen’s career. After he received a pass from Jason Spezza and Gibson sprawled to his right side, Heiskanen shot the puck to the opposite bottom corner of the net.

Although the goal didn’t earn any style points (it dribbled in off of Gibson’s pad) it showed once again why the defenseman has a profound awareness in the offensive zone.

Early on, Montgomery’s players applied the type of pressure he craves. In the second, they fought through adversity, even if it was occasionally of their own making.

Dallas Stars coach Jim Montgomery spoke to the media after the team's win 4-2 over the Los Angeles Kings on Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2018.

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