The Dallas Stars will travel to Madison Square Garden on Thursday evening to take on the New York Rangers in the season-opening game. The Stars were fifth in the Central Division last season (23-19-14, 60 points) and failed to make the preseason while the Rangers were also fifth in the East Division (27-23-6, 60 points) and also missed the playoffs. The Rangers are on the second half of a back-to-back with the first game being played as of this writing.
These franchises are trying to figure out if they were able to build enough during the offseason to figure out if they are a playoff team this season. Let’s take a deeper dive into Dallas and New York to determine where we should be placing our wagers.
A Star is BornThe Dallas Stars were a decent team last season and one of the reasons is the play of center Joe Pavelski, who played well. They are dealing with a couple of injuries already as Ben Bishop is currently still on Injured Reserve and Jason Robertson is officially listed as doubtful for the season opener. He led the team in goals and points as he finished with 51 points (25 goals, 26 assists) during the 2020-21 season. Pavelski should be able to continue his dominant performance in this game to begin the year on a positive note.
Anton Khudobin is expected to be the starting goalie for the Dallas Stars this season. Khudobin was decent last season as he finished going 12-11-7 with 2.54 goals percentage and a 90.5 save percentage. The Stars allowed 154 goals this season, which was the ninth fewest in the league. The defense has been a tad below league-average when it was shortened in power plays as they allowed 32 goals on 153 attempts (79.08 kill percentage). New York is an average offense scoring the puck so this could be a defensive showing for Dallas.
Playing Without PanarinThe New York Rangers struggled a bit last season and one of the bright spots is in the play of center Mika Zibanejad, who had a pretty good season last year. The team has one player listed on the injury report as Artemi Panarin is still listed as out from last year’s injury. Zibanejad led the team in goals as he had 50 points (24 goals, 26 assists) last season. With the injury to Panarin, this gives Zibanejad the chance to take that next step and lead the offenses here.
Igor Shesterkin is expected to be the starting goalie for the New York Rangers and should be able to have a good season. Shesterkin went 16-14-3 with 2.62 goals allowed and have a 91.6 save percentage. New York allowed 157 goals last season, which was 14th in the league. They have been very good against opposing power plays as they have killed 139-of-169 (82.25 percent) of them last season. The Stars are an average offense in the league so this will be a good chance to get off on the right foot.
- New York: 7-2 in their last 9 games as a favorite
- New York: 6-2 in their last 8 games vs Western Conference
- Dallas: 1-4 in their last 5 Thursday games
- Dallas: 1-5 in their last 6 games