With a first career hat trick by Antoine Roussel and an OT game winner by Jamie Benn, the Dallas Stars celebrated Dave Strader’s return in the best way possible: with a big 4-3 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning in front of an ecstatic home crowd.
But for all the joy in Big D last night, the Stars remain six points out of the second wildcard spot and will have decisions to make as they come out of the upcoming bye week, writes Mike Heika of The Dallas Morning News. [SportsDayDFW]
With the NHL trade deadline March 1, the Stars are likely to hear offers for their impending free agents who could help playoff-bound teams. That includes forwards Patrick Sharp and Patrick Eaves, among others.
The Stars also suffered another injury as right wing Adam Cracknell, another impending free agent, left in the third period favoring his right leg after Tampa Bay's Tyler Johnson checked him into the boards.
As for Strader, he clearly relished his return to the booth: “[F]or four hours, I didn’t feel like I was sick at all.” [SportsDayDFW]
"Of all the things the team has done for me, and they have done so many wonderful things for me, but when they came over to salute me ... that was unbelievable," Strader said.
"This gives me confidence to do the next few games, and then, depending on my treatment, I'll look at the schedule and see where I can go," he said.
Here’s the team’s salute to Dave Strader in GIF form.
Hockey fans nationwide were glad to see Strader, as Sean Leahy can attest. [Puck Daddy]
And the happy news kept coming as the NHL named Rooster Second Star of the Night. [Puck Daddy]
Here’s the third Roussel goal, plus that glorious celebration (and how great was it to hear Strader call this one?).
NHL PR has some historical context for Rou’s big night (although it should be noted that Paul MacLean was a non-French Canadian born in France, so ’Toine is still the first native French player to hit this milestone).
By the way, this tweet was the No. 1 RT in Canada early this morning.
Can't tell whether his celly or this photo was the highlight of the night... pic.twitter.com/4BPy65wDNv— NHL (@NHL) February 19, 2017
And Josh Bogorad sums up a good day for the home team in convenient SMS form.
First Roussel hat trick— Josh Bogorad (@JoshBogorad) February 19, 2017
First OT win since Dec
First win when down at 2nd Int
First game back for Strader
Not a bad way to go into the bye.
Between a tour de chapeau for “the Texas Hell Funnel,” Jamie Benn adding some Bennificence to OT, and Man of the Match Dave Strader, Razor’s Emporium was more fun than it’s been in a while.
Elsewhere in Razor, Brent Severyn and Craig Ludwig joined him to discuss the NHL coach carousel and the pros and cons of bye week.
Meanwhile, because the Stars can’t have nice things this year, plus-minus leader Adam Cracknell will probably be out of the lineup for a while.
Lindy Ruff said Adam Cracknell lower-body injury appears serious, could be in 3-6 week range.— Mark Stepneski (@StarsInsideEdge) February 19, 2017
The Cracken acknowledged the fans who asked after his health and sounds resolute about returning ASAP.
Thank you to all who reached out. Be back soon.— Adam Cracknell (@ACracknell24) February 19, 2017
Don’t Tell Me About Heart posts the latest projections for top three draft picks:
Top 3 Pick Probabilities : 2017-02-19 pic.twitter.com/YaPHsX4WoW— DTM About Heart (@DTMAboutHeart) February 19, 2017
This Sunday is Hockey Day in America, or so says the NHL, which wants you to celebrate by watching all four of its televised games. Get to work. [NHL]
Last night, on The Walking #Death:
- The St. Louis Blues ended up on the wrong end of a three-game Buffalo Sabres streak, losing 3-2 with the help of a Ryan O’Reilly 5-on-3 goal. [Die By the Blade]
- Carey Price returned to form, but the Winnipeg Jets still managed to stifle the Montreal Canadiens 3-1 in the first game of Claude Julien’s return as head coach. [Eyes On the Prize]
- Jonathan Toews racked up his 600th career point, but the Edmonton Oilers threw a wrench into the Chicago Blackhawks’ winning streak, 3-1. [Second City Hockey]
- And the Minnesota Wild won the four-point game, eking one out against the Nashville Predators 5-2. [On the Forecheck]
The Hockey News lists Patrick Sharp, Patrick Eaves and Johnny Oduya among its top 30 trade-deadline targets.
Meanwhile, in Denver, Jarome Iginla will set aside his NMC for a Cup competitor. Where will he have the best chance of meshing?
If the Vancouver Canucks are truly willing to deal goalie Ryan Miller, should they get it done before he gives them more reasons to be sorry they did?
They even wore those original Phoenix jerseys. (WARNING: May cause seizures.)
Meanwhile, in Cedar Park, the Texas Stars endured a tough loss to the Chicago Wolves, 4-1.
Nevertheless, Stephen Meserve believes at least one Stars team will make the playoffs this season.
Finally: A message we can all support. Enjoy.