Are the Dallas Stars actually cursed? Mike Heika has started to think so, and who knows, he may be on to something.
The Stars outshot the President’s Trophy-contending Chicago Blackhawks 46-26, fought and won the possession battle, and got several huge chances, yet still lost 3-2 in a shootout. Heika takes a look at what went right and wrong:
Ales Hemsky had two goals and five Dallas players had four or more shots on goal, but Corey Crawford had a fantastic game in net for Chicago, including big saves in overtime. In the end, that was enough for the Blackhawks to sweep the season series and move to 48-20-6 (18-3-1 in their last 22 games). The Stars fell closer to mathematical elimination at 29-33-11, as they are 16 points behind Nashville with nine games to play.
"It's incredible," Stars coach Lindy Ruff said. "You have to give Crawford credit for the saves, but at the same time, we missed some beauties."
Ruff says he liked the Stars’ stronger play away from the puck. He must also have liked Hemmer’s return to the pre-injury form he showed in the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, right around the time everything started going horribly, horribly wrong:
Hemsky's two goals are a sign he is recovering from the hip surgery that kept him out for most of the season. And he said he expects the team to fight until the end.
"We played a good game from the start," he said. "If we play like that, we can play with anybody."
There’s more at Mike’s place. [SportsDayDFW]
Here’s another look at Hemsky’s first equalizer, because a little something sweet for breakfast isn’t gonna matter where we’re going.
The Stars will look for another win over the San Jose Sharks at home tonight. Puck drop is at 7:30 p.m. Central time.
A sober reminder from Sean Shapiro: A loss tonight means mathematical elimination.
Stars officially eliminated from playoffs tomorrow with a loss.— Sean Shapiro (@seanshapiro) March 24, 2017
Stars and Blackhawks alumnus Ed Belfour took part in Chicago’s “One More Shift” program and skated out in full uniform. He also talked to Heika about the symbiotic relationship between the goalie and defense. [SportsDayDFW]
Speaking of alumni, you can meet former Star (and current Stars broadcaster) Brent Severyn at Rally House Frisco 1-2 p.m. Saturday, March 25.
Last night, in the Dirty Central:
- The St. Louis Blues defeated the Vancouver Canucks 4-1. [Nucks Misconduct]
- The Nashville Predators took a 3-1 win in a possible playoffs preview with the Calgary Flames. [On the Forecheck]
- The Philadelphia Flyers took down the Minnesota Wild 3-1. [Broad Street Hockey]
- Another third-period meltdown cost the Colorado Avalanche a 7-4 loss to the Edmonton Oilers. [Mile High Hockey]
- And the Los Angeles Kings kept their wild-card hopes alive with a 5-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets. [NHL]
Goalie Jake Allen’s return to form has been key to the Blues’ good run since January – and Mike Yeo has been key to that improvement, says Jared Clinton.
From the It’s OK If You’re A Superstar department: During last night’s shootout loss to the Senators, Penguins captain Sidney Crosby got away with a horrific slash on Marc Methot that nearly severed the defender’s finger. (Seriously, this video may not be safe for work, or your works.) [CBC]
This came literally one day after the ESPN roundtable put their éminences grises together and decided that no, there’s no way Sid the Kid deserves punishment for stick-checking the Sabres’ Ryan O’Reilly in the groin on Tuesday. [ESPN]
Meanwhile, NHL DoPS released its explanation for a three-game suspension of the Sabres’ Rasmus Ristolainen, after he concussed the Pens’ Jake Guentzel.
USA Hockey is contacting possible replacement players in case the U.S. Women’s National Team boycotts the upcoming World Championships.
Texas Stars captain Travis Morin played his 700th professional game in the T-Stars’ 4-3 OT victory over the Tucson Roadrunners Wednesday night.
Meanwhile, brand-new defender Gavin Bayreuther is already feeling right at home.
The team celebrates its annual Military Appreciation Weekend starting tonight in H-E-B Center at Cedar Park.
Finally: Antoine Roussel may not be on the ice right now, but he’s still an MVP in the community. Fourth-grade teacher and Rous superfan Becky Barton shares this photo montage from a classroom visit. Enjoy.