To die hard Stars fans, there are certain time marks that remain indelible.
17:34 of the third overtime (Joe Nieuwendyk's deflection past Tommy Salo in 1999 to eliminate the Oilers in a four game sweep that resembled anything but).
14:51 of the third overtime (Brett Hull's still legal goal that gave the Stars their only Stanley Cup win in franchise history).
Tonight, even though the results of this game carry but a fraction of importance that the three aforementioned games did, I daresay we won't soon forget the 14:32 mark of the third period, nor will we forget the 18:13 mark.
The first time mark was the last commercial break of the night. So fittingly, it was the moment where the Stars video production crew showed a tribute to Mike Modano, the face of the franchise. Not surprisingly, that moving tribute was a cue to the fans to rise to their feet and give Mo an extended applause that moved the Stars' 39-year old center to tears.
I know it moved a lot of our readers to tears as well.
And after Bobby Ryan hooked up with Corey Perry and James Wisniewski on a brilliant passing play to give the Ducks a 2-1 lead, it appeared that mark would be merely footnote in another home loss that typified the struggles this Stars' team has faced in the post-Olympic break.
Instead, Modano went out and rewrote the script. The way it was supposed to be written.
Because, really, do you think Mo was going to let some 23 year old punk steal his spotlight? Even if said 23-year old idolized Modano in his youth?
More on tonight's game after the jump
Of course not.
Which is why with 1:47 left, Modano left the first of his marks on this game by tying it in dramatic fashion on a deflection of a Trevor Daley point shot. Yeah, there was that one minor detail that the deflection occurred right under the crossbar. Or at least close enough to the pipe that it necessitated a review. Thankfully, the guys in Toronto reviewed it and got the call right.
Moments later during OT, he nearly left his second mark on the game when a breakaway chance literally fell into his lap. Unfortunately, Mo doesn't quite have the same set of wheels at 39 that he had at 19. As such, he was caught from behind by a back checking Dan Sexton who broke up the play before Modano could even get a shot off on Jonas Hiller.
But he got a second opportunity in overtime and made the most of it by scoring the first goal of the shootout off the post to Hiller's left and in. In doing so, he set the table for two other decorated Stars vets, who may have also played their final home games as well. First, Marty Turco snuffed out Corey Perry's chance and Jere Lehtinen ended it with a shot that beat Hiller high.
Again, in terms of importance, the result of tonight's game pales in comparison to Hull's cup winning goal and Nieuwy and Morrow's OT goals that vanquished opponents.
But the moments from tonight's game should be held in the same regard as those other moments. Especially if this was the end
Defending Big D 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 38th Stars
1st Star - Mike Modano (DAL) - I'll admit that after stirring ovation in the third, I was going to pull a Brian Hayward and make Mo the number 1 star no matter what. Then Mo went out and justified this selection.
2nd Star - Marty Turco (DAL) - Marty was vintage tonight. Gave up two goals to Bobby Ryan that were absolutely not his fault. Those goals also would have sparked another comment from me about how porous this team's defense is.
But I won't go there tonight. It wouldn't be fair to Mo, Marty, or Lehts.
3rd Star - Jere Lehtinen (DAL) - Capped off the evening with a shootout-ending goal. Need I say more?
38th Star - Bobby Ryan (ANA) - I already alluded to his behavior earlier. How dare he try to steal the spotlight from his boyhood idol?
And I mean that in the most respectful way possible.