Tonight, the Stars find themselves with a chance to advance to the second round of the playoffs. On the flip side of the coin, the Wild find themselves in a must-win situation. Mike Heika breaks down what to expect in Game 5.
"The last game is always the hardest," said Stars defenseman Jason Demers. "We've got them backed into a corner now, they are must-win. It's the same thing for us. We've got to win this game, because we don't want to go back there."
The punch and counterpunch of a playoff series has produced highlights for both teams, and both coaches are concentrating on the good parts of their game.
Both Lindy Ruff and John Torchetti talked about the expected level of intensity and the importance of executing.
On Wednesday, the Stars twice rallied from one-goal deficits to take a huge win in a swing game and throw the odds into their corner. Now, the Stars players will try to find out if their team can handle the role of the favorite. While the challenge of character is different than the Wild's, it's not that different.
Read the rest at the link. [SportsDayDFW]
Tonight, Game 5 gets underway at 8:30 p.m. Ales Hemsky called the AAC crowd "the sixth man," so if you'll be at the game, don't disappoint him. And while you wait for the puck to drop, catch up on Thursday's updates—including word that Tyler Seguin won't be playing—at the link. [Stars Inside Edge]
Kris Russell says the "overall demeanor of this group" has made his transition from Calgary to Dallas an easy one. [Star Tribune]
Anyway, maybe the Stars are used to all that Dallas nightlife and keeping late hours. Heck, 11 o'clock is the shank of the evening in Big D. They're riding all those mechanical bulls and so forth. Even on a weeknight. Here, we're mostly into getting up early and having big breakfasts.
I really thought Minnesota had this one. They came out very full of fire and forechecked like demons. And Dallas netminder Antti Niemi, making his series debut, appeared unsure of himself in the early going.
There's more on the matchup at the link. (Also, please feel free to chime in below with your thoughts on mechanical bulls.) [Twin Cities]
When comparing Stars GM Jim Nill to Chuck Fletcher, his Wild counterpart, Hockey Wilderness gives the edge to Nill. (Can't blame 'em.) [Hockey Wilderness]
The Rangers are ready for tonight's game.
Hardly home but always reppin'.— Texas Rangers (@Rangers) April 22, 2016
Chi-town, here we come! pic.twitter.com/edansOkj6w
Patrick Sharp joined The Ticket yesterday, and you can listen to what he had to say at link. [BaD]
In other postseason news, the Texas Stars dropped their first game of the Calder Cup playoffs to the San Diego Gulls.
That does it. The #txstars fall in game one, 3-1.— Texas Stars Hockey (@TexasStars) April 22, 2016
The first-round matchup between the Stars and Gulls means that brothers Nick and Brett Ritchie are engaged in a friendly family competition. Since Brett was scratched with a lower-body injury and Nick scored a goal last night, we'll give Nick Round 1. [Austin Statesman]
Ralph Strangis shares his thoughts about the Stars' current playoff run. [Twin Cities]
There was plenty of hockey going on last night. Here's what went down.
- Thanks to Patrick Kane, the Blackhawks live to fight another day after beating the Blues 4-3 in double OT. Before Kane extended the series, Pat Foley sounded off on the late start times (and then got some free hockey for his trouble).
- The Penguins cruised to a 3-1 series lead with a 5-0 rout of the Rangers. Henrik Lundqvist was pulled in what was not a good night for the Blueshirts. [Pensburgh]
- The Red Wings are the first team to be eliminated from the postseason. Tampa Bay shut out Detroit 1-0 in what could have been Pavel Datsyuk's final NHL game. [Winging It in Motown]
- The Ducks evened the series at two with a 4-1 win over the Predators. Mike Ribeiro and Corey Perry did not get along. [On The Forecheck]
Does home ice matter in the playoffs? Opinions are split on whether playing in your own barn offers an advantage. [Sports Illustrated]
FiveThirtyEight crunches the numbers to see whether arenas award too many secondary assists to their home team's players. (Spoiler alert: They do, and a lot of the game's biggest names benefit.) [FiveThirtyEight]
Injury Update: Scott Laughton was released from the hospital and is doing well.— Philadelphia Flyers (@NHLFlyers) April 21, 2016
The Maple Leafs may have finished at the bottom of the league this year, but the Toronto Marlies are a different story. James Mirtle calls the team "the most desirable" to play for in the league. And that's only in part because of the food. [The Globe and Mail]
Flyers coach Dave Hakstol's successful jump from the NCAA to the NHL has opened the door for other college coaches to follow. [Sportsnet]
Steven Yzerman has said that signing Steven Stamkos is the Lightning's No. 1 priority, but if the Bolts can't get it done, Sportsnet's Eric Engels says the Canadiens should try to bring Stamkos to Montreal. [Sportsnet]