And like that, it was finally over. Well, it was over, and then, you know, it was really over a little while after that. Again.
I wrote in the game preview this morning that unlike Modano night, Jim Nill rumor night, Jamie Benn Art Ross night- There was no way we were going to find anything particarly memorable in the home finale this time. Then the Dallas Stars did the old "hold my beer" bit and got to work.
We could remember it as "Fake (Goal) News" night but I am still work-shopping that. There was also comedy going around about Lindy Ruff going out on the wrong side of another goal review- But we'll wait on that for early next week, won't we?
The Dallas Stars lulled you to sleep this evening, just pounding the Avalanche into the ice with a 20-4 shot advantage and a 2-0 lead early in the second that had Stars twitter pretty monotone and soaked in "Boy Colorado is bad" sentiments. Of course, that would not be the end of it.
The pedal came off the floorboard and the Avs found some life in their game thanks to a late second-period goal by Mikko Rantanen. Greg Pateryn would lose Landeskog behind him in the third period and a deflection past Kari Lehtonen tied the proceedings. The Stars had to get serious again.
Instead they put the Avs on the power play, and gave the penalty kill one last chance to disappoint, and one of this season's greatest villains did not disappoint, capitulating in just five seconds on a Mackinnon deflection.
It seemed fitting. The "Starsing". The penalty kill. The goaltending. And then this observation was made...
If the Stars do not score in the final 8:40 they will pick 5th or 6th. If they get 1 or 2 points tonight they could drop to 8.— Brett Perryman (@zywica) April 9, 2017
Seems pretty reasonable, doesn't it? Our little sports emotions are tied up in feeling slighted on "Fan Appreciation Night" and we'd like to see the Stars fight back, because, you know, it's the freaking Avalanche. They sent five potted plants out to play the first period.
So maybe a little intellectual discourse and delayed gratification says, hey, we'd rather pick 5th in June and that will be more fun, and it will mean something more than a useless 82nd game.
For all I know, however, that might get me Scott Glennie or Jack Campbell. It's speculative at best. What about the hard assets before us on the ice? What about Benn and Seguin and Klingberg and the gang? Is it not also fair to ask to see their character in a moment where they could step up for the sake of pride and heart and not get rolled over in the third period by the worst team the NHL has seen in the last 16 years?
So respond they did. And to overtime went, did we. And old Johnny Klingman scored a beauty and the place went nuts, the draft not top-of-mind for most, of course.
The Avs left. The Stars were gathered for their coreographed, awkward post-game machinations, various officials and personnel had taken the ice. And then somehow, from somewhere, "THE PLAY IS UNDER REVIEW" - And the Stars put "Really??" up on the scoreboard, which was great.
The dumb "on the line/over the top of the line" thing came into play and pretty soon the Avs were soldiering back out of the tunnel and the Stars were failing to score on a two-on-none. At this point the stoic press box was openly giggling. It was ridiculous. Certainly one of the weirdest things I've seen in this building.
Kari Lehtonen won the day in the shootout, however- And no, the official score sheet does not say who the Stars' third shooter would have been. Go ahead and get dissappointed, though, it seems unlikely was it was going to be Gurianov, who had a quiet and OK debut. There's some skill there, you can see it.
And so at long last, we wade out of the purview of one Lindy Ruff, and firmly into "General Managing" season where Mr. Nill and management take center stage. June is going to be fun. The next two months are going to be a little tough, knowing what fun there should be around here. But June is going to be fun.
In the end this evening both team's fanbases can claim "Typical <Insert your team here>." Turning the page on this season won't be particularly sad for either franchise.
Taylor asked me before the game tonight what I thought they were going to do in the off-season. I didn't have an answer. You fix what’s not good. What's good about this season? Not the goaltending. Not the young defense, who couldn't take that step. Not the penalty kill, oh no.
A casual observer might look on and say "Well they can still score." ...Can they? During the season's first half that doomed them they scored two goals or fewer 19 times in their first 38 games leading up to December 31st. 19 times they couldn't get to three. They couldn't score. Thinking that any part of this is OK is dubious at best.
So I don't know what they'll do. But I cannot wait to find out. It just got rotten in a hurry. We'll eagerly await the particular fresh air Tom Gaglardi's team breathes into into it. For now, raise a glass. It's over. And we don't think anyone got hurt tonight- Which is some kind of miracle in itself.
Go away, 2016-2017. Go far away.