The Dallas Stars survived an onslaught of third-period goals and Minnesota Wild flop sweat to close out Round 1 with a 5-4 victory yesterday afternoon. Hopefully, these (Victory) green kids have learned something from the experience, writes Mike Heika.
Sometimes we all forget, even if just for a moment, how few of the Stars' brightest lights have had the experience of winning a Stanley Cup first round. After sprinting to a 4-0 lead and then giving it away, it's plain they're still learning how to handle that intensity, Heika says:
It was a microcosm of where this franchise has been, struggling through bankruptcy and six playoff misses, and also a possible hint at just how tough the road ahead might be.
"It's been a long process, and this is just the first step," said captain Jamie Benn. "It's not going to be easy. Any time a team has it where their lives are on the line, you're going to see their desperation."
And when you're still learning, you'll be tested all the time:
Now the Stars have survived at least one of these tests. As Washington struggled to close out Philadelphia, Nashville struggled to hold its lead against Anaheim, and St. Louis now has to try to win a huge Game 7, the message is clear: None of this is easy.
"I think it's good for a young team to see that and go through it," said [Jason] Spezza. "I know we'll use that going forward. This will show how hard it is to put teams away, how much they don't want their season to end. This is a lesson we will definitely remember."
Read the rest of the story at Heika's blog. [SportsDayDFW]
And I'll just leave this here.
Here are all your Round 1 highlights in music video form.
Razor looks forward to Round 2 (and uses the phrase "five-man bandersnatch") in the new Emporium.
I don't care who you are, it must have been hard to begrudge a Game 6 in Minnesota on this particular weekend after you saw the Wild's moment of silence for Prince. [NHL on NBC]
The pre-game tribute was pretty cool as well: Workers painstakingly created the state's outline and The Artist's distinctive glyph with rally towels and spelled his name with stacked pucks.
Is it too soon to thank Devan Dubnyk?
Ultimately, Gogo got the credit on what turned out to be the game-winning goal.
The goal is credited to Alex Goligoski. Minnesota native, University of Minnesota alum, Alex Goligoski.— Josh Bogorad (@JoshBogorad) April 24, 2016
By the way, how Canadian-nice is Jason Demers, apologizing for taking a hit to the schnoz?
One down great feeling! Needed everyone on that one. Minnesota gave us one helluva series. Not hard to hit my nose sorry!! #thenosegoes— jason demers (@jasondemers5) April 24, 2016
Whither the Wild? Allan Muir says that despite the two wins and Game 6's final score, Minnesota turned in "one of the most disappointing playoff performances in franchise history," and it leaves a few jobs in doubt. [Sports Illustrated]
Meanwhile, Jared Clinton still wants to know if even that much offense is enough to take the Stars much further. [The Hockey News]
Do we really want to go here right now? The Dallas Morning News is asking anyway.
Elsewhere, the DMN's Josh Friemel leveraged the social-media catnip that was the Game of Thrones Season 6 premiere to assign various George R.R. Martin characters to DFW's biggest sports personages. Naturally, he included a few guys from the best team in the
Westeros Western Conference.
There is a beast in every man, and it stirs when you put a stick in his hand. Death was busy yesterday, as usual:
- The Washington Capitals ground out a 1-0 shutout of the Philadelphia Flyers in an unsurprisingly abrasive Game 6, and hockey media have the Alex Ovechkin - Sidney Crosby showdown they've been slobbering over since the playoffs began. [Japers' Rink]
- John Tavares broke an imminent Roberto Luongo shutout less than 56 seconds before the third-period buzzer, and went on to score the decider as the New York Islanders won a Game 6 elimination of the Florida Panthers in double OT, 2-1. [NHL]
The playoffs take what they call their own: Postseason animosity may have soured a cordial relationship between Los Angeles Kings D-man Drew Doughty and San Jose Sharks forward Logan Couture. [San Jose Mercury-News]
Brayden Schenn took a run at T.J. Oshie during the Flyers' elimination loss yesterday, and he may get suspended into next season because of it. [Puck Daddy]
Wes Crosby examines the Penguins' five-game elimination of the Rangers and singles out five reasons why this year was different. [NHL]
And the Associated Press credits young fresh fellows like Conor Sheary and Bryan Rust for helping to spark the Pens' recent hot streak. [Sportsnet]
Vincent Lecavalier has been too preoccupied with processing the Kings' early playoffs exit to think about when he'll sign his retirement paperwork, but doing so is still his plan. [Puck Daddy]
"The years I was here, I produced for the people. I didn't cheat them. That's all. It doesn't mean anything to anybody else, but it means a lot to me." – Ted Lindsay
The ECHL's Idaho Steelheads (Dallas Stars) have gone off against the Allen Americans (San Jose Sharks), taking a 3-2 series lead over the reigning Kelly Cup championships with a 7-1 blowout in Boise Saturday night.
And because it's still never too early to start thinking about the NHL Draft, Luke Fox shares a 2016 lottery FAQ (and an Auston Matthews simulator that allows all 14 non-playoff teams to imagine the American ultraprospect in their sweaters). [Sportsnet]
Team USA defeated Canada 10-3 on Sunday for the team's 13th consecutive medal at the IIHF Under-18 Men's World Championships. [USA Hockey]
Finally: Our Gang is homeward bound. Can you imagine the reception in AAC later this week? Enjoy every moment.