As difficult as it may be to internalize, it's just not that easy to send another playoff team packing. The Dallas Stars got another reminder, if they needed one, from the desperate Minnesota Wild in last night's 5-4 overtime loss.
Behind a strong individual effort by captain Mikko Koivu, the Wild did the whole cornered-animal thing in American Airlines Center last night – even breaking through the Stars' documented ability to hold a late lead, as Mike Heika writes:
"We've been able to hold leads pretty well. It just happened that they got one at the end," said Stars center Jason Spezza. "It's not shocking, because at this time of the year it's not easy to put a team away. We should be upset that we gave the lead up, but we also have to be realistic. We're still in control of this series. We're in a good position."
Coach Lindy Ruff saw what the Stars did wrong, but also the things that will help them in Game 6:
"I love the way our club competed. We had 90-plus attempts and skated as good as we've skated," Ruff said. "We had some tough breakdown on the early goals and made some real big mistakes, but our compete was good all night."
That said, it wasn't enough.
"It was a tough one to lose," said Stars captain Jamie Benn. "When you score four goals, you should probably win a hockey game. It was just one of those games where it was back and forth. I think we can tighten it up a bit in the defensive zone and get back to work in a couple days."
There's more at Heika's place. [SportsDayDFW]
The NHL has scheduled a 2 p.m. Central time start for Game 6 on Sunday, April 24. Forearmed!
What's up with John Klingberg? Gerry Fraley takes a look at why the Stars' franchise D-man has struggled in his first NHL playoff games, and why his coach still believes in him. [SportsDayDFW]
Ruff wants to clean up the "tough mistakes" that put the Stars in a bad position early.
Speznasty is disappointed but determined.
And Razor goes all NCIS about the mystery that was last night's OT loss.
Last night in the Death Races:
- What was that about the crazy strength of desperate opponents? The Philadelphia Flyers decided they weren't ready to go golfing, so Michal Neuvirth shut out the Washington Capitals, 2-0, to send their series to Game 6. [Broad Street Hockey]
- The New York Islanders-Florida Panthers pendulum takes another swing: Thomas Greiss stopped a penalty shot and Alan Quine scored on a power play to give the Isles a 2-1 double-OT win and a 3-2 series lead. [Lighthouse Hockey]
- The San Jose Sharks blew a three-goal lead, but came roaring back with the help of Joonas Donskoi and Brent Burns to send the Los Angeles Kings home early, 6-3. [Fear the Fin]
Now that the Kings have been eliminated – on the day after his 36th birthday, no less – Vincent Lecavalier has probably played his last NHL game. [Puck Daddy]
This could be it for the career of Vincent Lecavalier. He finishes with 421 goals and 528 assists in 1,212 games pic.twitter.com/v8rOx4ZSWz— SiriusXM NHL Network (@SiriusXMNHL) April 23, 2016
Because what could possibly go wrong, right?
Luke Fox gathers updates on Tyler Seguin and the rest of the Stanley Cup playoffs injury list, and Mike Modano talks with Hockey Central at Noon about the Stars-Wild series and playoff hockey in general. [Sportsnet]
One Dallas prospect moves up and one moves down as Brian Costello redoes the 2015 NHL draft with the benefit of hindsight.
You're not the only one a little disgruntled about the late Central Division game start times. Is there a "right" or "wrong" side to the scheduling argument? [THN]
Philippe Desrosiers backstopped a big Game 4 win for the Idaho Steelheads over the reigning Kelly Cup champion Allen Americans (San Jose Sharks), and the Stars' ECHL affiliate has the series tied at 2-2.
Arizona State Sun Devils hockey coach Greg Powers talks about getting Whataburgered, growing a hockey program, and the importance of giving a s--t in another great piece at The Players' Tribune.
Finally: The late, legendary Prince meant a lot to millions of people, but more to Minnesota than perhaps we'll ever know. As the in-arena tributes poured in Thursday and Friday nights, Xcel Energy Center shared this poignant reminder of The Purple One's deep roots in Minneapolis.