Watching the Dallas Stars in full flight, at their very best, is ever so slightly magical. So it's not surprising that Mike Heika likened their all-important 3-2 victory over the Minnesota Wild – their first playoff road win since 2008 – to a kind of prestidigitation.
Yet even as he conjures images of Our Gang pulling aces from their sleeves, he reminds readers of the sobering stretches of iffy play that sometimes gave the game the suspense of an elaborate Vegas-style illusion:
...[I]f anyone thinks the Stars have things in hand, all they had to do was look at the Twitter feed from Wednesday. Minnesota went through stretches of domination in which fans were ready to scratch Alex Goligoski, John Klingberg and captain Jamie Benn for future games. But the Stars overcame Minnesota's relentless battle and found a way to squeeze out a victory.
"We wanted to come home with at least one win here," said winger Patrick Eaves, who scored a power play goal. "They're a good team and they have great players who are going to make great plays. Sometimes, you just have to weather the storm."
You should have just enough time to recover from Game 4 to get ready for Game 5, which could see the Stars finish the quarterfinal series in the warmth and comfort of American Airlines Center:
While it was tense and suspenseful for both players and fans, Ruff said the job isn't done until they get the fourth win.
"Every game is so tough," Ruff said. "Good teams once they get in the playoffs play even better defensively. To close it out, I really feel we're going to have to win a game 2-1 or 3-2 again."
Read the whole thing here. [SportsDayDFW]
And enjoy the Game 4 highlight reel from NBC Sports.
Here's a timely callback from Mike Heika's Monday chat, in which he opines that Radek Faksa was the X factor in the Stars' recent elevated play. [SportsDayDFW]
Mike (and Jamie Benn) also talked about why the team was so comfortable keeping the Wonder Finns system in place and switching up Kari Lehtonen and Antti Niemi. [SportsDayDFW]
Just admit it: You could watch Ales Hemsky fire that power-play rocket from the circle for days.
Ditto with Jason Spezza gaining the only lead the Stars would need.
Patrick Eaves scored, too, and he talked with Razor about tempo (and, briefly, about mustache wax).
On the subject of Eaves of Destruction, this is one hot sports opinion we can all agree on, probably.
More people should be banging down the doors at the Hangar, demanding Eaves shirseys with pitchforks alight.— Tabatha Patterson (@Tabatha_mp) April 21, 2016
And Razor reminds us that Game 4 is the sort of thing that happens when playoff teams stop being polite and start getting real.
Sometimes owners are just fans themselves. Maybe Tom Gaglardi was the Stars' lucky charm in the State of Hockey.
- The Philadelphia Flyers had to win or go home – so Michal Neuvirth held the Washington Capitals to one goal and Shayne Gostisbehere celebrated his 23rd birthday with an apple to help drive a 2-1 victory and ensure a Game 5. [Broad Street Hockey]
- Jaromir Jagr got his 200th playoff point and the Florida Panthers tied their series with a 2-1 win over the New York Islanders. [Lighthouse Hockey]
- It was raining power-play goals in SAP Center as the San Jose Sharks took a 3-1 series lead with a 3-2 win over the Los Angeles Kings. [NHL]
terrifying scene with Laughton in Philly pic.twitter.com/M4PFMF4Frc— Stephanie (@myregularface) April 20, 2016
Scary scene. Scott Laughton getting carted off after hit into boards pic.twitter.com/ktHuukePMF— Jeff Skversky (@JeffSkversky) April 20, 2016
Jonathan Huberdeau was lucky to walk away after this crash into Thomas Greiss' net that didn't even get him a goal.
Meanwhile, it didn't take long for the Jagr milestone JPEGs to arrive.
And here's a little something to put it in perspective:
And right on cue, Sean McIndoe offers an overview of this and four other NHL rules you may not be familiar with. [The Hockey News]
Kerry Fraser is staying busy this postseason: His latest C'mon Ref column examines Tuesday night's Corey Crawford episode of "When Goalies Attack" and tries to figure out why Robby Fabbri was the one who ended up in the penalty box. [TSN]
And the Vancouver Canucks have at least one reason to be cheerful during their golfing season: Standout American goalie prospect Thatcher Demko will leave Boston College early after signing an ELC. [The Heights (BC)]
Hockey writers are easily distracted, you guys.
Meanwhile, in other playoffs action, the reigning ECHL champion Allen Americans won Game 3 in the Kelly Cup quarterfinals over the Stars-affiliated Idaho Steelheads, 3-1.
Idaho Steelheads dropped Game 3 to Allen 3-1. Stars prospect Emil Molin had an assist, Desrosiers made 27 saves. Allen leads series 2-1.— Sean Shapiro (@seanshapiro) April 21, 2016
And the Texas Stars will begin the 2016 Calder Cup chase tonight. Let Julius Honka tell you about it.
Wayne Gretzky takes away the sour taste of Monday night's Ed Snider tribute gone south with his own tribute to his sometime frenemy. [Sportsnet]
Finally: Here's your #VictoryRising mini-video for Game 4. Enjoy.