Well, take that(!) weird curse of the new bye-week thingy.
Teams were 4-12-4 after their so-called 'bye week' heading into play this evening- The Stars were similarly unsteady to begin against the Arizona Coyotes this evening, but finished with a strong third period en route to a 5-2 victory.
A second consecutive victory on a second consecutive emotional evening. Last Saturday's being so much more substantive, of course, but tonight was one the players felt, however differently, affected by. Because Patrick Eaves (hold the Patrick Leaves jokes, please) is no longer a Dallas Star.
At least not right now ;)
The break goes by. The rumor mill churns. The Stars fall back in the playoff race by double-digits. Management makes a trade seemingly signaling the white flag.
And that's got to rock a locker room a little bit- Even when it makes all the sense in the world. Even when everyone can see it coming.
But it's two points, no? Do we care? It's a fair question- Certainly when people are speculating more about draft position on social media than the line combinations or how Brett Ritchie looks in a graduated role on the right side in the bearded one's absence.
Rather, we might look to recap this one in the context of taking a long view of the future, as the present is so thoroughly downtrodden.
Devin Shore is one place you might look- His 10th goal makes him the 15th rookie this season to get to double digit goal scoring. Everyone loves him. He's a nice piece moving forward. There's a positive takeaway for the season- No one expected him to do as well as he has.
We might take a minute to meditate on John F. Klingberg after a night like this, too. 200 games. 131 points. A nice goal tonight. His offensive prowess in a beleaguered year largely considered 'down' is undeniable. Be he fish or fowl?
We might even take a second to marvel at the Captain in the long term scheme of things- He's the hero right now. He's the guy we thought he was before the season started. Where was he for the first 35 games or so? What a wrap-around goal tonight, though.
Jordie Benn's hopeful would-be icing of the puck collected by his brother confounded Louis Domingue, who watched Jamie the entire time but didn't move his feet to match for some reason. Game winner- Boom.
A strong night for Stephen Johns, too. When he had the puck. I end up thinking that about almost every Stars defenseman. They look good when they have the puck. They made smart zone exits. Good passes. They moved their feet. That part when they don't have the puck... Well.
In other news, the league has announced that it will start all future Stars games featuring Radim Vrbata with a goal already on the board for the opposition. Seriously- That is annoying.
Speaking of annoying- The officiating was pretty funny tonight, no?
Did you like when a Stars player was high-sticked in the face seven feet away from an official after a whistle and said official put up his hands in the universal "nothing to see here" gesture?
Simply being Antoine Roussel makes that legal, evidently. The hockey gods would drive home the point with ruthless irony moments later when the Stars were penalized four minutes for a high-stick.
Then there was the goal that was never particularly close to a goal that was called a goal before a brief review overturned it. A nice chance for the zebras to fire off the goal horn and then yank on that rug under your little Stars feet. Hilarious. At least that's the way it felt at the time.
Moments like the aforementioned ruin hockey games. Rather, they usually do when you're not playing the worst team in the league.
Lauri Korpikoski and Cody Eakin added a goal that Domginue cold nothing about and a goal he could have, and should have stopped- And the Stars ran away with it.
So at least there's a little fun. Fun while you wonder who is next. A 2nd rounder for a rental is pretty good. The next one won't be as much.