Jake Oettinger fell back on an old Jim Nill saying the other day, and it seems to fit for the Stars goaltender.

“I like where my game is at,” Oettinger said after a 4-2 win in Arizona on Sunday.

Oettinger has won his past three starts and allowed just two goals in each game. That’s a huge improvement from getting pulled against the Devils and allowing four or more goals in three of the previous four games.

The season has been a rough one for Oettinger at times. The 25-year-old out of Boston University burst onto the scene in the NHL and grabbed the Stars’ No. 1 starting job back in the 2021-22 season. He followed that up last season with a 37-11-11 record with a 2.32 GAA (7th) and .919 save percentage (6th).

He was drawing comparisons to the top goalies in the league.

But then he battled through some injuries in the playoff last season, went through an offseason surgery, and then got hurt again in December. Right now, while his record is solid at 28-13-4, his GAA is 31st at 2.97 and his save percentage is 35th at .898. Oettinger has said he has battled to keep himself in a good place mentally, and his teammates and coaches are working hard to help.

“It’s one game at a time, one save at a time,” Oettinger said. “It’s just stick to your game and not try to shoot yourself in the foot.”

And the recent games have given a great deal of optimism to the dressing room.

“It helps our team psyche,” Stars coach Pete DeBoer said. “Those are the saves you need. Those are the saves we’re used to getting from him, and it’s great to see.”

Oettinger has said that the key to dealing with whatever challenges he has faced has been focusing on one shot at a time. By shutting out the distractions, he is able to concentrate on the basics that need to be in place. That has been key in recent games. On Sunday in Arizona, Oettinger made several huge saves and helped keep the team calm when the Coyotes tied things up in the third period. And then, with the game on the line and Dallas facing a 3-on-5 penalty kill, he played very well.

DeBoer said it was a good feeling.

“Pretty vintage Jake,” DeBoer said. “I thought he looked comfortable, made a couple of huge saves when he needed to and made some tough saves look easy. That was great to see.”

And it’s what he has come to expect. DeBoer has coached both Martin Brodeur in New Jersey and Marc-André Fleury in Vegas, so he has experience handling top-level goalies.

“One thing about Jake is that he’s a smart guy,” DeBoer said. “He’s not going through anything that — I saw Martin Brodeur go through this, I saw Fleury. This happens to every elite goalie in the league. I’m glad it’s happening now and not a month from now. I’m very confident that he’s going to find his elite level again, at the most important time.”

Key Numbers

In its 10-2-0 run over the past 12 games, Dallas is plus-10.3 in shots on goal differential per game, due in large part to the fact they are second in the NHL in that span in shots against per game at 24.5.

Stars forward Jamie Benn has a five-game goal scoring streak where he has six goals and two assists.

Vancouver leads the NHL in goal differential at plus-59. Dallas is fourth at plus-51.

He Said It

“I don’t think you take the time to enjoy that stuff while you’re in it. We’ve got a lot of business left to take care of.”

- Stars coach Pete DeBoer on the team’s current 10-2-0 run.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club.

Mike Heika is a Senior Staff Writer for and has covered the Stars since 1994. Follow him on Twitter @MikeHeika.

Related Content