Having a dirty dozen extra-time losses this season has put the Dallas Stars in their precarious position. That's why there was obvious relief from the Stars when they won a 3-2 shootout game over the Detroit Red Wings at home on Monday in the first of their four consecutive meetings.
That win also gives the Stars another jolt when they ready for round two in Dallas. The Stars (18-14-12) not only vaulted past the Chicago Blackhawks to move into fifth spot in the Central Division, but also now sit three points behind the fourth-place Nashville Predators with three games in hand.
"I would have preferred to do it in regulation ... but it was great to finally win in a shootout," said coach Rick Bowness, whose team has a 3-12 mark in extra-time games. "We've lost too many as we all know, so that was important. We played a really good game and desperately needed those points."
The Stars, who are riding a three-game winning streak for the first time since they started the season with four consecutive victories, are on a 5-0-2 roll. Even so, don't discount the confidence boost that came from winning in a shootout, even against the cellar-dwelling Red Wings (16-24-7).
"It's a huge relief," said forward Jason Robertson. "Everyone in the locker room has been disappointed about the points we've left on the table in the shootout. It's a skills competition at the end of the day, but we're really glad and really happy we got the win."
The Stars have won four of the five meetings with the Red Wings this season, with one more game slated for Texas before the clubs meet for a pair of games in the Motor City.
"We just have to find a way every game we play them," said forward Roope Hintz.
The Red Wings are yet to be officially eliminated, but would need a miracle run and an out-of-this-world amount of luck to make the playoffs, even if they won their final nine games. However, they are on a 3-1-1 run and feeling better about themselves as they head to the end of the regular season. Battling shot for shot with the high-flying Stars is a boost to the young team.
"They're a heavy team. They play a fast game, but they can grind you down," said forward Luke Glendening. "I'm proud of the way we stood in there. To have a 2-2 game at the end of regulation, we gave ourselves a chance.
"I don't think we played our best, but we battled. I think we're taking steps in the right direction."
"You have to stay patient against them," added coach Jeff Blashill. "They're going to be hard to create against and if you try to force it, they're going to score in transition. Their defense is excellent."
Glendening snapped an 18-game goal scoring drought with a pair of tallies on Monday, a reward for his determination during a trying season, according to Blashill.
"He helps you win and he's a great culture guy because of how hard he works," the coach said of the alternate captain. "We talk all the time about out-working and out-competing the other team and he embodies that. And then he's an effective player on the ice, with his face-offs, but his defensive play and ability to win battles. He's a valuable piece and the better your team is, the more valuable he becomes."
--Field Level Media