Make Way for the NHL's Hottest Team

Nick ColonSenior Analyst IFebruary 11, 2009

That's right. Not the Boston Bruins, or the San Jose Sharks are as hot as the Western Conference's No. 5 team, the Dallas Stars.

The Stars, who looked dead and depleted a little under a month ago, has risen from the depths of the lowly, to jump over eight playoff spots within the last month or so to claim the number five seed in the highly competitive Western Conference of the NHL.

You ask how this has been done? One word: simplicity.

The Stars have always been a team that likes to get fancy, without losing their finesse and sharp ways on the ice. However, early in the season, this method did not prove wise as they were all over the ice with no sense of cohesion. Since that time, leaders such as Mike Modano, and crafty veteran Jere Lehtinen have sparked the Stars back to their winning ways of old.

Now, with the Stars winning seven of their last eight games (a close 3-2 loss to the Avs being the only exception), they seem like the team that has a chance to do serious damage in the playoffs if their style of play stays the course.

One player very underrated in the eyes of many NHL personnel is Winger Loui Eriksson.  Eriksson has been a staple of the Stars new, younger offensive squad lead by guys like Eriksson, Brad Richards, and James Neal.

Don't forget NHL fans, the Stars are very short-handed with players like Sergei Zubov and Brenden Morrow succumbing to injuries that have hurt the Stars. Regardless of their ailments, the Stars no longer find themselves on the outside looking in.

Teams such as Boston and San Jose are still the teams to beat, but a hungry young team in Dallas may be one worth watching come playoff-time.