Dallas Stars look to rebound after rough New Year start

The Dallas Stars have fallen from being a playoff contender to a possible last place standing in the Central Division. In the month of January, the Stars have a pathetic record of 1-8-1. The Stars have a chance to finish the month of January with some wins at home as their five final games of January are at the American Airlines Center.

Adjustments needed

Kari Lehtonen allowed 4 goals against the Nashville Predators last game. (Don McPeak/Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports)

Kari Lehtonen allowed 4 goals against the Nashville Predators last game. (Don McPeak/Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports)

Goaltending: The Kari Lehtonen we are used to has not been as much of a game changer during this 1-8-1 slip. This could possibly come from the veteran player being overplayed and exhausted this season. Lehtonen ranks fourth in terms of minutes played this season thus far. In order for this to change, Lehtonen will need to improve his individual play. In the third period last game against Nashville, Dallas outshot the Predators 19-3, yet giving up one goal.

The Stars will also need an answer for their backup goalie situation if they want to turn their season around and make an attempt to make the playoffs. Dan Ellis, the Stars main backup goalie, has a goals against average of 3.25 which places him 69th in goaltenders for the NHL.

Strong in their defensive zone: Too often during games do the Stars give up easy goals due to sloppy coverage in their zone or due to a poor job of getting the puck out of their zone. One reason is of course with the Stars having a ton of injuries on defense this season.

Specifically Alex Goligoski has taken heat from critics throughout the whole season for his tendencies to give up the puck resulting in goals regularly. Players such as Goligoski need to pick it up and make smart plays especially breaking out of their zone. This will also take a lot of pressure off of Kari Lehtonen.

Looking ahead

Tonight they play a division rival, the Minnesota Wild. The Stars lost to the Wild early in the season by a score of 5-1. They also were handed their most recent overtime loss by the Wild this past weekend. This is the third of four games against the Wild this season. Game starts at 7:00PM CT. Watch the game on TSN2 or NBCSN.