Edit: The Statistical Recap is up.
The Vancouver Canucks, contrary to popular opinion and in spite of their awful record, have not been playing all that badly of late. The shots are there. The chances have been there. There's just no finish. So when they came to the AAC Thursday night with a huge two points on the line it seemed like one of two recent trends had to end:
Either the Stars run of facing incredible netminding had to stop, or Vancouver was going to explode for four or five goals.
Dallas Stars fans did not have to wait long to get an answer.
Jamie Benn scored 2:57 in to the first period, and less than five minutes later Tyler Seguin followed on a breakaway power play goal for the ages. A second Seguin tally, and his third point of the night, would send Vancouver tumbling over the edge.
Perhaps our good friends in Phoenix, may their team rot in hell, said it best:
Vancouver: have you tried turning the team off and back on again?— Five For Howling (@Five4Howling) March 7, 2014
Eddie Lack was...not sufficient (you thought I was going to do it, didn't you?) in his first game in the Luongoless era, while Kari Lehtonen was, perhaps not very settled in his end and rarely tested, and the bursts of scoring electric while the rest of play was bogged down neutral zone muck and special teams play that wasn't very, despite two Stars power play goals.
Vancouver, visibly frustrated before the first period was to the final television timeout, began to exhibit some combativeness, escalating into this bit of bad decision making by Zack Kassian:
Brenden Dillon lay on the ice for quite some following the play, and then went to the locker room in the most ginger of fashions, threatening to ruin a perfectly good hockey game with a season changing injury.
Luckily he came back out in the second period and appeared to be OK. Alex Goligoski would score on the ensuing five-minute major power play to extend the score to 4-0, and, after a failed two-on-none piloted by Jamie Benn and Erik Cole, Ryan Garbutt would add a tap in goal in transition.
Alex Goligoski made a very smart pass to Garbutt for his second point of the night, and easily could have had more in what was a very strong game for him.
Everything was coming up Dallas. Until Kari Lehtonen mishandled a puck behind his net that squeaked out to Zac Dalpe for an easy first Vancouver tally.
The Stars came out with a strong shift to start the third, this time firing at Jacob Markstrom rather than the usurped Eddie Lack.
Kari Lehtonen's time to shine came on a Vancouver power play and then eventually score effects that took over an apathetic building in an already decided hockey game.
In the malaise, Dirk Nowitzki "raised Modano's jersey" and quipped "hope they spell your name right, buddy," because he is the absolute best. To think that Nowitzki's 41 and Modano's 9 will hang in this building together (too soon) is incredible.
Oh yeah, and Tyler Seguin punctured Markstrom for the hat trick with seven minutes to go, as if the evening wasn't festive enough already.
The Phoenix Coyotes look like they're on their way to a win again tonight and just won't go away. They still sit a single point behind Dallas with the same number of games played, and wait to pounce when the Stars stumble.
The banana peel may be the heavily reinforced Minnesota Wild who come to the American Airlines Center Saturday night with an eye on ruining Mike Modano jersey retirement night. It's the latest "biggest game of the season", but they all kind of are now as the playoff race continues into March.
Dallas sits five points back of Minnesota despite more ROW wins and a better goal differential. That's where their overtime record is coming back to haunt them.
A big win to enjoy tonight, however, and nicely done.
See you back here Saturday night for a historic night with Mo.
- Zack Kassian Takes Run At Brenden Dillon (GIF)
- Dallas Stars vs Vancouver Canucks: Q&A with Harrison Mooney
- Retiring Nine: The Schedule and Logistics for Mike Modano's Jersey Retirement
- Texas Stars Report: Soup's On - Jack Campbell Returns
- Dallas Stars Daily Links: NHL Trade Deadline Passes with a Flurry of Activity around the League