The Dallas Stars finished the regular season just 5 points short of a playoff berth. They went 41-31-10 and landed in the tenth spot in the western conference. Unlike many other teams, the Stars excelled on the road and struggled at home, finishing just over .500. Dallas is a potential playoff team that fell just short in 2014 and will be looking to sneak in next season. The Stars schedule begins with a game against Pittsburgh, who was on the other side of the coin as a team that barely snuck into the playoffs as the eighth seed in the east. Dallas then begins their first road trip shortly after, which also ends with a game against the Penguins. They follow up their first road trip with an immediate four game home stand. These early home games will be a test to see if Dallas can get their act together on their home ice. Two western conference contenders, Anaheim and Vancouver, are sandwiched in the middle of this home stand will provide Dallas a chance to test themselves against top competition.
Graphic via texasstarshockey
Early in the season, the Dallas Stars schedule rotates back and forth with 3-4 game road trips and home stands. Their schedule fluctuates back and forth for most of the first half of the year and at the end, but it does take a break in the middle. The most challenging home stand for the Stars comes in the month of March. This is a five game home stand against Chicago, St. Louis, Los Angeles, Tampa Bay, and the New York Islanders. Every game other than Los Angeles will be a good test for the Stars. If they can come out of this group of games with a winning record it will be a good sign heading into the last portion of the season. This is the crucial stretch of games for the Stars in 2016 as they will only have 9 games remaining after. If they are hanging around one of the last playoff positions as they were in 2014, this group of games could make or break their season. Overall, the Stars schedule is a difficult one that does not give them many nights off. The western conference is very competitive and it will be tough for them to slip into one of the last playoff spots. If they can continue their success on the road from 2014 and win a few more home games they will have a chance. Most of their home stands come against top competition and they will need their home crowd behind them. Dallas is a borderline playoff team that will have to improve in a few areas to get in this upcoming season.
Graphic via heshootshescores91