After the Stars won in St. Louis on Monday, Mike Heika wrote that this series deserved a Game 7. I don't think last night was what he had in mind. Instead of a close battle between the Central's top teams, Kari Lehtonen allowed three goals on eight shots, the Stars' offense couldn't get going, and Dallas' season ended with a 6-1 loss in front of a home crowd.
It also, Heika says, drew attention to what the Stars will need to address going forward.
It's tough to say what the Stars' biggest concern will be in the summer -- the fact they have four defensemen who can become unrestricted free agents or the fact they have two goalies who can't.
Dallas finished first in the Western Conference and won its first division championship since 2006. It pushed a very good St. Louis Blues team to a highly-hyped Game 7 that had hockey front and center in this town for the first time in a long time.
And, then it fumbled the puck while exposing all sorts of weaknesses.
In his post-game press conference, Coach Lindy Ruff put a more positive spin on things.
Ruff said it's another step in the process. The Stars missed the playoffs last season, and that inspired them to a great 2015-16 campaign, he said.
"Sometimes, you have to learn from losing," Ruff said. "This (season) took us a lot further down the road."
Here's captain Jamie Benn on the loss.
And here's Lehtonen.
Hey, here's a little good news.
Hitchcock on Dallas: They are the future of the NHL. It's where the game is going.— Sean Shapiro (@seanshapiro) May 12, 2016
And here's something else to keep in mind.
In 98 @DallasStars had best record in west. Only had their #2 player (Nieuwendyk) for 1 game in the playoffs. We know what happened in 99.— Kevin Fox (@expo1310) May 12, 2016
With last night's loss, the Stars will get to keep their first-round pick. [SportsDayDFW]
Here's the schedule for the next round of the playoffs. [Sportsnet]
Good news for Lightning fans: Anton Stralman completed his first full team practice, and Steve Yzerman isn't ruling out a Steven Stamkos return at some point this postseason.
Phil Kessel is happy to be in Pittsburgh, and Pittsburgh is happy to have Phil Kessel. [TSN]
Eighty-three-year-old Phil Simon is a good luck charm for the Lake Erie Monsters. [Blue Jackets Xtra]
And finally, here's one last thing to make you a little misty-eyed before you go.