A funny thing happened after the Dallas Stars ditched veteran forwards Brenden Morrow, Jaromir Jagr and Derek Roy to clear payroll space and add future assets.
They started winning games. A five-game streak has vaulted the Stars into eighth place in the Western Conference and squarely into the playoff sprint.
Who knew that trade deadline sellers could also become winners? Stars general manager Joe Nieuwendyk now realizes he should have trusted some of his younger players sooner.
One of those younger players is goaltender Richard Bachman, who won three times recently while filling in for the injured Kari Lehtonen. He allowed just three goals on 82 shots during that span.
Another is rookie forward Alex Chiasson, who has scored six times in his six NHL games since arriving from the AHL.
“Of course, this is incredible,” Chiasson told reporters after the Stars dispatched the San Jose Sharks 2-1 Saturday night. “I try not to pay attention to the stats, I just concentrate on my game. This is great for us. We're right there right now, right in eighth place. The only thing that matters are the guys that believe in here.”
The Stars have outscored opponents 19-9 during their five-game streak.
“I really think we're starting to carve out an identity and figure out why we're successful,” Eric Nystrom told reporters. “There's a certain way we have to play. We're not a high-risk team. When we tried that earlier in the year, we just got picked apart. Now we're playing a more straight-line game, we're getting pucks in, we're getting bodies to the net, we're paying the price and that's what it takes to win.”