Falling Just Short

The Dallas Stars had a chance. But they failed.

Every single one of those Stars were assuredly glued to their locker room TV watching the Chicago Blackhawks duke it out with the Detroit Red Wings. The Red Wings pulled out a 4-3 victory and it opened the door for the Stars to make their unprecedented move to usurp the defending Stanley Cup Champions. And what looked even more promising, the game was against the Minnesota Wild.

It was a team that had nothing to play for except for pride. And the Stars had already won all three meetings that year. Things were looking more than good for Big D. It was time to take what was right in front of them.

They didn't. In fact, they fell flat.

The Stars did not tighten up when they didn't have to put out a supreme defensive effort. The Stars defense looked terrible to start the game when Matt Cullen picked up a huge rebound against a swimming Kari Lehtonen and failed to convert. Not long after, it was tough guy Brad Staubitz who picked up a rebound off of Lehtonen and banged it home to give Minnesota a 1-0 lead.

The Stars got a kick of momentum from some good shifts and started a 2-on-1 break. Brad Richards picked up the late man on the rush who delivered a delicious return pass to him for a one-time blast that beat goaltender Jose Theodore to tie it up. The Stars then picked up a powerplay at the end of the period and two-way forward extraordinaire Loui Eriksson sniped short side to give the Stars a 2-1 lead to end the period.

It was looking up.

But the Stars lagged out of the gate and for most of the second period and were outshot by a large margin. It showed on the scoreboard. The Wild picked up goals from defenseman Jared Spurgeon and tough guy Colton Gilles. Lost in the fold, that was Gilles' first goal of the season. It was a problematic trend for so many role players to be on the board for the hapless Wild team.

The Stars were fortunate to draw two penalties from Colton Gilles and Greg Zanon. Alex Goligoski, the acquisition of the spring, destroyed the puck into the net to tie it up on the 5-on-3 powerplay goal. The Stars were unable to keep up the pressure and lost their pressure overall.

Then, the dagger.

Former Dallas Star Antti Miettinen scored on Kari Lehtonen in the third period, and the Stars tried furiously to get back on the board, but just could not. Pierre-Marc Bouchard sealed the deal with an empty netter, and the Stars' season was over. All of the hope was gone, and all of the hard work came to an end. A crushing, disappointing end to the season struck the Stars with one sound of the Wild's resounding goal horn.

A shame, indeed.

It all comes down to regrouping in the summer and coming through with a new vision for next season. The pieces are there for a playoff run. Now it comes down to consistency.

Your move, Brad Richards.

4 Comments

Owen Durkin's picture

Dallas is a team that intrigues me, in that it is often difficult to ascertain just where theyre at in terms of development. Im of the opinion that a team's emergence and subsequent decline is usually cyclical. The elements align in such a way as to afford opportunity to strike, and the team either succeeds, or recedes. Case in point: Ottawa post Anaheim drubbing during their cup final appearance. The Stars are a team that seem to be receding, at least from the confines of Southern Ontario, that is, but there are many players in the system that intrigue me. If Mark Fistric played in the east, he would be a high-profile shutdown specialist with all the trappings associated with having to bear the title. Where do you put DAL in the cycle of success? are they ebbing, while they reload, or are they just flowing a little less vigorously at the moment?

Alex Mueller's picture

Honestly that's just sad. When teams like Carolina and Dallas can't beat teams they aren't playing for anything when all they need is a win to go the playoffs there just isn't anything else to say but they obviously don't deserve to be there.

Jordan Kuhns's picture

It's a tough team to get a hold of. They played better than they were capable of towards the beginning of the season. Remember, they were on top of the Pacific Division for a time. I think the Stars need to draw on the experience that they will get from this year and get some of the younger guys in soon. The Stars have Scott Glennie in the wings. They also have some young players that can learn from this experience like Tomas Vincour and Jamie Benn. Benn was amazing for this team and next year, it wouldn't surprise me if he becomes the second best scorer on the Stars.

They're sort of in limbo, and they need an edge. If the ownership situation is resolved, they may have the money to pull that off.

George Prax's picture

There was literally like a 10% chance that things would end up this way. I can't believe they choked like that, but hey, it happens. Like you said, it's Brad Richards' move now, and that's all we can really wait for before assessing where the Stars are going from here.