Dallas Stars

Stars roadtrip preview: Dallas is hot, but their next four opponents are even hotter

Jim Montgomery talks about Stars big win Sharks

Dallas Stars head coach Jim Montgomery talks about his team's big win over the San Jose Sharks, as well as the play of goalie Ben Bishop.
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Dallas Stars head coach Jim Montgomery talks about his team's big win over the San Jose Sharks, as well as the play of goalie Ben Bishop.

The Dallas Stars are hot.

Their 3-2 win over the Sharks on Friday night at the American Airlines Center was the team’s fourth win in as many tries. Dallas sits in fourth place (16-10-3) in a brutally competitive Central Division.

But they aren’t the only team that has been scooping up wads of points in the Western Conference.

The Colorado Avalanche (17-7-5, 37 points) have hovered near the top of the Central Division standings for the majority of this season.

But the Golden Knights and Ducks got off to much slower stars. A month ago, those two teams had the fourth and sixth-worst records in the Western Conference, respectively.

As of Saturday, Anaheim occupies second place in an inconsistent Pacific Division, while Las Vegas sits in third. In the conference, the Ducks are tied with the Stars for the fourth-most points, while the Golden Knights have the fifth-most points (33).

And those two teams are streaking, too. The Golden Knights have won seven of their past eight tilts, while the Ducks have won seven of the team’s past nine contests.

Head coach Jim Montgomery’s team will travel to face those three teams, as well as a road rematch with the Sharks.

Here’s one thing to look for in each game.

Sunday, Dec. 9 at Las Vegas Golden Knights (8 p.m.)

After a slow start, the Stars’ powerplay has been better of late. But the Golden Knights could expose old issues. Thus far, they’ve killed off 86 percent of their man-down situations. That number is the second-best mark of any team in the NHL.

Wednesday, Dec. 12 at Anaheim Ducks (9 p.m.)

This will already be the third meeting between these two teams this season and the Stars dominated both affairs, outscoring the Ducks by a combined 10-5. Goalie John Gibson actually played much better than those scores indicate. Can the Dallas offense keep pressure on the Vezina Trophy contender?

Thursday, Dec. 13 at San Jose Sharks (9:30 p.m.)

This will be the second night of a back to back. And considering forward Martin Hanzal had a tough time in his return to action on Friday, it will be interesting to see how head coach Jim Montgomery manages his roster’s ice time. Because San Jose’s speed and skill can test any team’s endurance.

Saturday, Dec. 15 at Colorado Avalanche (7:30 p.m.)

Another challenge for Montgomery will be how he handles the forward trio of Mikko Rantanen, Nathan MacKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog. Many think the line might be the best in the entire league. And they make a strong case with a combined point total of 124 (48 goals, 76 assists).

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Peter Dawson is a digital sports reporter for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. He covers the Cowboys, Mavericks, Rangers and Stars, as well as college and high school sports in DFW and the state of Texas. He also co-hosts the “High School Huddle” podcast.