“But it was 3-1.”
If you found yourself saying this as Nikolay Kulemin scored the Islanders 5th of the night with ten minutes still left to go in the third, you’re in good company. Despite a highlight reel effort by the Stars in the second, they were no match for the hockey gods, who clearly wanted the Islanders to leap frog the Maple Leafs into the last wild card spot in the East. (Because yeah, that happened. You’re welcome, Islanders fans.)
Let’s tweet about it.
1. HE’S ALIIIIIIVE
Ales Hemsky returned last night after missing all but the very first game of the season to an injury sustained during the World Cup of Hockey. (This, by the way, is the reason that owners don’t want their players going to the Olympics, in case anyone asks that later.)
Hemsky had some good moments in the game, but by and large played like a player who’d been sitting for six months. He blocked a shot with this skate in the middle frame that seemed to have been a stunner, but shook it off pretty easily.
He’s UFA this summer, so this is his time to shine for a new contract, even if it isn’t with the Stars.
2. This feels familiar
Thomas Greiss' save on Seguin mid-air with his paddle was incredible. Then Ryan Strome gets a breakaway goal at the other end. 1-0 NYI— Owen Newkirk (@OwenNewkirk) March 3, 2017
Rinse and repeat for the entirety of the 2016-17 season. The Stars have the incredibly frustrating ability to have the closest of close chances turn into a breakaway on the other end.
Whether it’s because all the players choose to press in close for the goal, or the guy who should be on point gets caught flat footed, or whatever the reason has been, it seems to happen a lot. I don’t have the numbers, because I don’t know that anyone is tracking odd man rushes, but if they are I’d guess the Stars would be top five in odd man rushes against.
3. This much, at least, is true
My goodness, what a pass by Klingberg. It's been a good night for highlight-reel assists.— Josh Bogorad (@JoshBogorad) March 3, 2017
The Stars really did have a game in the middle. Everything from Jamie Benn’s goal in the dying seconds of the first to Andrew Ladd’s goal in the latter half of the second great. Sustaining that effort over three periods seemed to be too much for the team, but if you want to play a really fun game just watch their goals. Just the goals. Not the Islanders goals, just the Stars.
I think you’ll find that all three of them are beautiful goals with beautiful assists.
4. A microcosm
Puck off end boards, off Niemi, and in. We are tied in Dallas 3-3.— Mike Heika (@MikeHeika) March 3, 2017
If you’d like to know what the game, nay the entire season has been in a nutshell:
Nick Leddy shot the puck from the dot.
Antti Niemi made the save but didn’t get the rebound.
Puck hits the end boards, bounces back toward the goal, hits Niemi’s back, and slides over the goal line.
That’s right. Niemi got a save, an assist, and a goal on the same play. Can you assist your own goal? If you can, he did.
Very often, life has felt bitterly unfair this season, watching this team get precisely none of these fluky bounces in their favor.
Yes, this season is cursed. We knew it already.— Erin (@ErinB_DBD) March 3, 2017
There it is.
5. The startling reality
Antoine Roussel out the rest of the game with an upper-body injury.— Mark Stepneski (@StarsInsideEdge) March 3, 2017
It was later reported after the game that Antoine Roussel will miss a lot of time, potentially the rest of the season. We don’t have confirmation on what the injury actually is, as (as you know) NHL teams are notoriously tight lipped, but it looks like the blocked shot Roussel took on his hand is probably the culprit. He had his hand palm out instead of palm in, which everyone on the broadcast seemed pretty baffled by.
6. Let’s hold on to what truly matters
Riding the dasher for a zone entry is my new favorite move pic.twitter.com/tT1uJX8mVM— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) March 3, 2017
Radek Faksa is still a Star.
This sequence is the best and don’t let anyone tell you it wasn’t. The real tragedy is that this effort was wasted on a loss, but we’ll still have the memory of this go-ahead goal to sustain us in the months to come.