DALLAS — Despite seeing his team currently occupy the top of the Central Division standings, Dallas Stars head coach Peter DeBoer can certainly find issues to harp on with his team despite the posh positioning in the Western Conference. One of the main concerns is, undoubtedly, trying to find scoring outside of the trio that possibly makes up the best line forward line in hockey, and on Saturday night, DeBoer got exactly what he hopes will be a trend for the final couple of months of the season.
Radek Faksa scored twice, both coming in the first period, helping to lead the Stars to a 4-0 shutout over the Arizona Coyotes inside the American Airlines Center. Jake Oettinger made 33 saves in earning his fourth shutout of the season, while Jamie Benn and rookie Wyatt Johnston also scored for Dallas.
For Faksa, who centers the checking line, today’s double marked his third goal in two games, adding to his goal on January 19 at San Jose. Before tonight, however, he had not scored a goal since November 24, one of the many facts that highlight the Stars’ reliance on the line of Jason Robertson, Roope Hintz and Joe Pavelski to produce points for the Stars.
“We have challenged [our other lines] to bring some offense to the table in different ways with video and with some meetings,” DeBoer said. “We have to be deeper than a one-line team, and those guys take that to heart. They got goals the way they need to get goals with rebounds around the net.”
Both of Faksa’s goals came in front of the net off rebounds, with the first coming at the 2:36 mark to open the scoring after a Denis Gurianov shot from the right wing boards caromed off of Coyotes goalkeeper Connor Ingram and into the waiting stick of Faksa on the left side of the crease. Faksa also scored off a shot from Fredrik Olofsson at 13:17 to give Dallas a 3-0 lead.
Jamie Benn scored his ninth power-play goal of the season at 4:52, sandwiching Faksa’s two tallies in the first period.
“Sometimes they just come to you. The last few games I have tried to be around the net more and trying to read the rebound,” Faksa said. “Both goals were from a good forecheck, so having the forecheck was the key factor.”
*Editor’s note: Above the byline is the photo gallery from Saturday evening’s game, with all photos taken by Dallas-area photographer Ross James. After clicking on the first photo to enlarge the picture, make sure to press the left and right arrow buttons to scroll through the rest of the pictures. There are 24 pictures in total.