You all know what this final game means, right? It's a last chance to get a look at Enroth (I'm guessing), a last shot for Nichushkin to pot one (if he plays), and one more glorious opportunity for the Stars to put up 40+ shots and still find a way to lose.
But that's not what everyone really cares about, is it? Because we all know what's really important in this 82nd of games, and that is just watching the team play a solid hockey game and act like it's game 1. Well, okay, that's a huge lie. The game is really going to be all about Jamie Benn, at least for us fans. Also for the players too, sort of:
Benn said he hasn’t really felt the push to win the scoring title until recent games, and said that trying to balance the excitement of the chase with the disappointment of missing the playoffs has been difficult.
"You’d trade anything for us to get in the playoffs and try to win a different trophy," he said. "But I’m going to go out there and try to win it and try to win a hockey game and see what happens."
Ruff said the chase is important for Benn and his teammates. While the team did miss the playoffs, the Stars also have a chance to do something special for their captain.
"It’s exciting. It is a heck of an accomplishment when you see where he’s sitting," Ruff said. "It’s not easy to get there."
Tyler Seguin finished fourth in the NHL scoring race last season with 84 points, but still trailed Crosby by 20 points. That’s the highest ranking placement a Stars player has finished in franchise history. The closest a Stars player has come to the scoring lead in actual points was when Mike Modano finished eighth in the race, 15 points behind Jaromir Jagr in 1999-2000.
There's the usual language about "not doing anything different" and winning one more game for the fans at home, but you can bet your bippy, sweet or otherwise, that the team will be trying to get Benn touches in the offensive zone as though he has two goals in the final minute with an empty net to shoot at.
And I'm okay with that. Just remember, guys: assists are points, too. Finish those sweet passes tonight, then have a good summer. We'll miss ya.
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I saw Les Miserables last night, and at the end of the play, the lead actor gestured to the orchestra pit as a means of giving them gratitude and recognition. Will the Stars do something similarly gratitudinous tonight at Fan Appreciation Night? Well, you'll just have to wait and see and then let me know so I can go back and update this article with all the details in a couple weeks.
Tyler Seguin was late for practice yesterday, and it turns out he was late for breakfast once in 2011 in Boston as well. Sounds like somebody needs to put his cell phone downstairs instead of staying up late playing snake. Sleep is the most important thing you need for your health. [NESN]
The Stars averaged almost 3,000 more fans per game (at home) than last year. Pity they had to express their gratitude with blown leads and bad goaltending, though. Maybe next year! [DMN]
Ken Campbell says that "analytics were wrong" this year as the Kings missed the playoffs. I don't understand what that could possibly mean. Were the numbers measured incorrectly? No, doesn't look like it. Does he actually think there are rational people who consider high possession numbers to be guarantors of a playoff appearance? I sure hope not, because the whole Colorado appearance last year kind of already dealt with that. [THN]
Well, the final day of the regular season has some pretty good drama, as a Penguins loss last night means one of Ottawa, Pittsburgh or Boston will be finished. Can you imagine what will happen if it's Pittsburgh? [NHL]
Can Ottawa cap their incredible run with a playoff appearance? You should all want this to happen. [NHL]
Speaking of Eichel, guess who won the Hobey Baker award as a freshman? Yeah, it's Eichel. First frosher to do it since Kariya. [Boston Globe]
How good is Steve Mason? Or, how good can we expect him to be? Ryan Lambert looks at Mason, Fleury and Pavelec's career numbers, and there are graphs. [Puck Daddy]
The music video for the old Jets is gold in the latest Down Goes Brown Friday Grab Bag. [Grantland]
Finally, Andrew Shaw was busted for his second embellishment of the season, and you know what that means! A good old-fashioned fine of $2,000. Here's the play in question: