And so the NHL's 2015 trade deadline came and went.
The Dallas Stars did not make any acquisitions, as one would expect, and they parted ways with Erik Cole for a pick and a couple of prospects from the Detroit Red Wings.
Shawn Horcoff remains a Dallas Star, as does everyone else from their latest third-period meltdown against the Anaheim Ducks in front of a national audience on NBCSN.
It was their 21st on home ice this season in 33 tries- A stat that Lindy Ruff called "embarrassing" this week, leading him to change the location of the morning skate to try to shake the team out of its malaise at American Airlines Center.
Ruff was frank with the media Monday and the Stars in sell-mode, saying "First and foremost, I look at myself. When we're here, it tells me I haven't done a good enough job."
Next up this evening are the New York Islanders- Earners of 84 points to Dallas' 64.
Patrick Eaves returned Sunday and Shawn Horcoff remains in the lineup, so changes could be minimal. Curtis McKenzie and Brett Ritchie were sent to Texas in a paper transaction so that they could be eligible for the AHL playoffs, should the team qualify.
In more substantive news, Patrik Nemeth was re-called from the AHL where he's been on a conditioning stint as an exclamation point on a remarkable recovery after having his inner forearm sliced up with a skate in the fall.
As Jim Nill attempts to evaluate his club's future he'll get a chance to look at Nemeth as the season winds down. Will it be tonight? Too soon to tell, upon this writing.
In goal, your guess is as good as ours. Kari Lehtonen seemed like a shoe-in to go against the Ducks on Sunday but Jhonas Enroth got the nod, and his performance was deemed not good enough by most- Though he received a lone goal in support from a team that put 40 shots on the Anaheim net.
The Islanders haven't left their time zone since January 6th when they wrapped up a 2-2 swing through Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver. They're 5-6 against the West on the road this season.
They sit just three points out the number-one seed in the East and only six points away from seventh- Plenty to reach out for and plenty to fear from behind. No shortage of motivation tonight against a Stars team they'll be expected to handle.
Dallas isn't eliminated yet- Does the miraculous run start tonight? If nothing else, signs point to it being high-scoring, perhaps.
New York is third in the NHL in scoring (just ahead of fourth-place Dallas) thanks to 14 performances of four goals or more (sometimes much more)- But they're more middle of the pack on the road, and even more so against the West where they've scored 24 goals in 11 games.
Then again, Dallas has allowed 24 goals in their last six home games.
Their lineup recently:
Halak recently set a team record with his 33rd win of the season. The Islanders had picked up a few wins lately with their old backup Chad Johnson, but traded him and a pick for Michal Neuvirth from the Buffalo Sabres on Sunday.
Also acquired was Tyler Kennedy from the San Jose Sharks, and former Dallas Star Dustin Jeffrey from the Canucks in exchange for Cory Conacher.
From Stars PR:
EAVES-Y DOES IT
Stars forward Patrick Eaves returned to the lineup Sunday night against the Ducks after missing the previous seven games due to a concussion. Eaves scored a power play goal in 16:29 of ice time in his return Sunday. The 30-year-old forward has now tallied 14 points (7-7=14) in 29 games and currently shares fourth on the team with four power play goals this season. Dating back to before his injury, Eaves has posted two points (1-1=2) in his last three games, and has six points (4-2=6) in his last 10. The Calgary, Alta. native registered an assist in the first game against the Islanders this season and comes into Tuesday's contest with five points (2-3=5) in 11 career games against them.