Last year, the Stars enjoyed an unusually healthy season. While Kari Lehtonen did end up going down relatively early in the year, he still ended up playing in 65 games. Seguin and Benn both played 80 games, and even Rich Peverley played in 60 games before that scary incident. Stephane Robidas and Trevor Daley both missed a good chunk of time (and it's a shame that we had to see Robi injured twice in one year), but the Stars were relatively fortunate when it came to the health of their top players last year.
This year, well, not so much. And while there are a few players that have missed (and will miss) time, we all know who the biggest one is:
The absence of Seguin is particularly devastating. Seguin—the Stars’ No. 1 center, and one of the top offensive players in the game—defines the attack with his speed, his vision, his release and his ability to find open ice. As Dallas’s lone game-breaking threat, he’s irreplaceable.
It would be easy then for the Stars to use his absence as a reason to start folding their tents and preparing for next season. Instead, they dug deep on Tuesday night and found the answers they needed against one of the league’s best teams. [SI]
Josh Bogorad had a similar theme in his latest excellent On the Radar piece: the Stars are playing a lot of the teams they need to pass, so they can't get caught feeling sorry for themselves. They aren't exactly the first team to lose a top player for a while, after all:
Last year the Detroit Red Wings were a playoff team despite losing both Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk for almost half the season. The Tampa Bay Lightning found a way to top the 100-point mark last year while Steven Stamkos remained sidelined from November to March. Even the Stars dealt with an onslaught of injuries last season, rendering their blue line paper-thin just after Thanksgiving, but still found a way to get a playoff spot.
If this year's Stars team is going to be the latest team to suffer a crushing loss and live to tell about it, there is no time to feel sorry for themselves. Dallas has four games this week, and ten in the next three weeks - the low-end estimation of Seguin's predicted absence. Furthermore, four of their next six games come against teams they are contending with in the Wild Card standings. [Stars]
As usual, Bogorad has plenty more jammed into that column, so give it a look.
This isn't the first time the Stars have been chasing the Sharks (and many others) for a playoff spot in the waning days of the season. Let's hope this go-round ends a lot better than it did back in 2012.
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Here are your updated NHL Standings. Why, hello there, Los Angeles. Who would have thought you would be in a playoff spot by now? Oh, right; everyone. Also, how about those 12 loser points? What a league.
If you haven't read Elliote Friedman's 30 Thoughts from this week, there are a few good notes about the Stars (including the Phaneuf no-go that Brandon mentioned yesterday). Sekera and Kari Lehtonen both get a mention. [SportsNet]
Mike Heika says that it's okay to overreact to a nice win and a sweet hat trick. That's kind of the point of being a fan. [DMN]
You know how Lindy Ruff wants some more scoring from the Eakin line? It turns out the Stars' depth scoring actually is pretty darn good. This is a really cool rundown of every team's percentage of goals scored by each line. [Pensburgh]
The Wild won again last night, but don't worry -- the Flames managed to score a late goal to send it to overtime, so it was a three-point game. This is why Dallas can't catch anyone. [Wild]
Winnipeg called up a certain Carl Klingberg, who is a forward-playing version of our beloved John. This is their first move in addressing the sudden loss of Mathieu Perreault, who is out for probably the rest of the regular season. [Winnipeg Sun]
The Bruins and Oilers went to a shootout last night, and boy oh boy was it a doozy. After 23 attempts and zero goals, the Oilers finally decided to accidentally score. May we please have 3-on-3 now? [NHL]
Jimmy Howard actually won a shootout last night, and he had a little help from Tomas Tatar. [NHL Video]
Alex Ovechkin is going full honey badger this year, and we should all just enjoy the ride. That Pens/Caps game last night was kind of insane, but in a fun sort of way. [Sporting News]
Derek reminds us that Adam Larsson has come a long way this year. This means the Devils probably won't trade him to us, though, so I don't know why you're so happy about it, Neumeier. [The Hockey Writers]
Sean McIndoe reviews some of the biggest blockbusters that, much like today's Blockbuster, didn't end up existing. [Grantland]
Finally, here is what incredible goaltending looks like. Pekka Rinne is just, oh my gracious me: