If there was a week on paper that was designed to be a great measuring stick for the Dallas Stars, it was this one.
Start off with a desperate divisional opponent on the road. Then head into the home of the top team in the Western Conference. Finally, follow it up with a home game against the best team in the league.
The way the Stars got their results wasn't always pretty, though it did feature a couple glorious offensive outbursts, but they answered the bell as well as anyone could imagine. Yet another four-goals-in-a-period outburst, this time the second, gave the Stars a 4-3 home win over the Washington Capitals and checked off the final box in a week that will go a long way toward shaping how others view this team.
This is a recap short on the details of the early game because this was my first experience with trying to use NHL.tv as the primary viewing sources, and it was pretty terrible. I counted pauses of two and at six minutes, including missing the first goal, and awful lags that seemed to get worse as the periods progressed.
Via the wonder of social media and embedded GIFs, though, I can tell you that Ales Hemsky was the best of himself to steal a puck and set up Mattias Janmark to start what turned out to be as memorable a period as the first was on Thursday.
After Janmark's goal, not only did the Stars began to gain territorial and possession dominance, they also showed off their explosive offense with three more goals. Jamie Benn misfired on his first chance on a beautiful set up from Patrick Eaves, but his second picked the corner over a helpless Braden Holtby. Tyler Seguin followed that up by making Holtby look silly on a 2-on-1 where he went 5-hole, and after John Klingberg drew a pair of penalties in the final minutes of the frame, Seguin got his 30th of the season on a rebound.
In another parallel to Thursday's win over the Blackhawks, the opponent's All-Star caliber goalie, this time Holtby, was chased after that four-goal period. Philipp Grubauer filled in for the third, and his team finally started giving him offensive support.
A power play from a weak interference call on Jordie Benn was pretty in hand until everyone got sucked too far away from Alex Ovechkin, who made them pay. The Stars power play couldn't capitalize on the make-up call, and some scrambly defense from Janmark and Jason Demers allowed Justin Williams to get open on the doorstep to cut the lead to two with 12 minutes left.
Things got really tense with six minutes left as Andre Burakovsky scored a goal that Kari Lehtonen probably wants back, but some stalwart empty net defense and a little bit of puck luck helped the Stars hang on until the buzzer.
It was a birthday win for one Daryl "Razor" Reaugh and a nice present for the rest of us Stars fans as well.