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Home sweet home? Stars hope lengthy stay gets them back in battle

Looking to climb in the standings, Dallas plays six of its next seven games at American Airlines Center

by Mike Heika @MikeHeika / Senior Staff Writer

In this corner of the internet, we love our comparisons.

If we can relate the Stars to a song or movie or historical event to help make a point, well, you've seen the results. Whether it be metaphor or simile or analogy or allegory, it gets "airtime" here. And is often the case, it doesn't matter how much it has to be shoehorned in.

So let's look at the next three weeks for the Stars as harvest time. They need to make hay, bring in the corn, roll home some pumpkins. Y'know, farm talk.

 

[GAME DAY GUIDE: How to watch, live stream Stars vs. Senators]

 

Now, all of this is pretty ridiculous, as the team just started the season and "harvest" really shouldn't be until April, but it's Fall and the 2019-20 Stars have made things a little complicated.

So, let's look at it this way: Dallas is off to a 2-7-1 start after playing seven of the first 10 games on the road and battling through the league's most compact schedule. This team now has seven games over a span of 21 days, six of which are at home.

Video: Montgomery on Stars' gritty road win over Flyers

They need to take advantage of that.

"We needed to get one to start, a good win in a tough building. But we still know what we need to do, we're not going to be satisfied by any means," Stars goalie Ben Bishop said after a 4-1 win in Philadelphia Saturday. "We've got a homestand where we need to go start trying to pile up the wins. We know where we are and what we need to do."

The great thing is the Stars have the potential to take advantage of this stretch. Dallas was 24-14-3 at home under first-year coach Jim Montgomery last season, as compared to 19-18-4 on the road. It scored 2.85 goals per game at American Airlines Center vs. 2.24 on the road. It allowed 2.24 goals per game at home with a .928 save percentage vs. 2.63 on the road with a .918 save percentage.

Everything for this team seems easier at home.

Heck, it averaged five more shots per game (33.2) at home than on the road (28.2). That's significant.

Video: Benn breaks down Stars' skid-snapping win over Flyers

So what's the difference? Well, the home coach gets the matchups, meaning Montgomery can set a game plan and stick to it. That can add to the consistency of the team. The Stars also won't be flying from town to town, getting in at about 2 a.m. after every game and can use practice time to work on the details of their game.

Again, that's significant.

Part of statistics are relative to game score. If you're winning, you tend to pick up points in the third period and that can help make your overall performance look better. If you're scoring first and leading games, you force the opposition to change their playing style. If you're the team that has energy, you can get off to better starts.

Tyler Seguin had 44 points (20 goals, 24 assists) at home last season and 36 (13 goals, 23 assists) on the road. Alexander Radulov had 40 points at home (16 goals, 24 assists) and 32 on the road (13 goals, 19 assists). Jamie Benn had 30 points at home (15 goals, 15 assists) and 23 on the road (12 goals, 11 assists).

Just as interesting, two of the Stars' youngest players had interesting swings. Jason Dickinson had 15 points (five goals, 10 assists) and was plus-16 at home. He had seven points (one goal, six assists) and was minus-7 on the road. Miro Heiskanen had almost the same scoring with 16 points at home (six goals, 10 assists) and 17 on the road (six goals, 11 assists), but he was plus-6 at home and minus-20 on the road.

Video: Three-point night for Perry propels Stars to victory

Even folks who don't believe in plus-minus have to think that means something.

Bottom line, the Stars are more comfortable at home. Everyone is. And this homestand has a few added bonuses, too. The Stars have not had even one two-day break in the first three weeks of the season. They have five in the next three weeks, including a four-day stretch before they head out on a four-game road trip in mid-November.

"It's going to be nice to play at home, get some days inbetween games where we can get our rest and get some practices in and clean it up a little bit," said captain Jamie Benn. "We definitely love playing in front of our fans, so we're all looking forward to it."

The Stars have put themselves in a perilous place, and they really would rather not reap what they have sown to this point in the season. They are 29th in the standings at .250 points percentage, 30th in goals per game at 2.10 per game, and dead last in shots on goal at 26.4 per game. They have a lot of things to work on.

But if you want to use a farming analogy, they definitely need to start making hay -- and this homestand is a golden opportunity to do just that.

 

Stars (2-7-1) vs. Senators (1-5-1)

Monday, 7:30 p.m. CT

Where: American Airlines Center

TV/radio: FOX Sports Southwest; KTCK 1310-AM, 96.7-FM

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 DallasStars.com and has covered the Stars since 1994. Follow him on Twitter @MikeHeika.

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