The Dallas Stars made the most of their home-ice advantage last night with a sparkling 4-1 win over the Minnesota Wild. Mike Modano brought good mojo, Kari Lehtonen brought his A game, and John Klingberg brought a goal and an assist.
Perhaps more than anyone, Tyler Seguin gave fans something to cheer about when he recorded his first NHL 40-goal season with an empty-net goal in the final two minutes.
As the season dwindles down to three road games that may or may not make any difference, it seems fitting that Fan Appreciation Night left fans wishing for more. Mike Heika writes about it in The Dallas Morning News:
That was the bittersweet reality of the game. [Jason] Spezza’s goal was his first since Jan. 16 and gives him eight on the season. The skilled center has just eight points in the last 30 games, and his lack of scoring is one of the reasons the team has been averaging just two goals a game for the last two months.
Klingberg’s goal was his first in 23 games. There was some feeling that if this had been around just a little during a 1-7-2 slump, the playoff race would be much tighter.
Meanwhile, head coach Ken Hitchcock must plan for the best, and he discussed his method with the press:
Hitchcock said he has been trying to keep his top players fresh so that they can play big minutes if the need arises.
”We decided two months ago that game days are everything,” Hitchcock said. “The rest-work balance, time away from the rink, you negotiate that, and you convince the player that he doesn’t have to come to the rink every day, that he doesn’t have to go on the ice every day. Let’s pour it all into the games.”
Mike has more. [SportsDayDFW]
Would you like to watch an infinite loop of Segs scoring his 40th of the season from just behind his own blueline? Sure, we all would!
Radek Faksa brought some magic of his own (and some sweet revenge for Minneapolis) with a shorty to open the third period.
And Klinger celebrated his 300th NHL game with this laser that turned out to be the game-winner.
Just to give fans one more reason to celebrate, Spezza recorded his first even-strength goal since December, and it was everything you expect from the one called Speznasty.
After the game, he talked about his chemistry with linemate Mattias Janmark, who earned the primary assist.
Around the League(s)
#Death, Be Not Proud
- Jack Eichel earned five assists and Sam Reinhart scored a hat trick as the Buffalo Sabres shocked the Nashville Predators 7-4. [Die By The Blade]
- The Arizona Coyotes leveled the St. Louis Blues, 6-0. Four of the Yotes’ six defenders scored (including Alex Goligoski), and Antti Raanta earned the shutout. [NHL]
- The Winnipeg Jets scored three unanswered goals to lock up at least second place in the Central Division. They defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-1. [Pension Plan Puppets]
The Avs’ battle for a Western Conference wild-card slot has taken a steep turn uphill. Vezina candidate Semyon Varlamov is out for the season with a lower-body injury, and veteran defender Erik Johnson will miss at least six weeks with a fractured patella.
The Sabres’ upset win came at a cost, and it included rookie defenseman Victor Antipin being stretchered off the ice after this hit by Scott Hartnell. [FanRag Sports]
Very dangerous hit by Scott Hartnell. Antipin had to be taken off the ice on a stretcher. Video courtesy MSG. pic.twitter.com/pZJJGCuHdj— Matthew Bové (@Matt_Bove) April 1, 2018
Sabres Radio Network host Brian Koziol delivered this update late last night:
Housley on Antipin: "He's doing good." Also said he went to the hospital, hasn't spoken to team doctors yet. #Sabres— Brian Koziol (@BrianWGR) April 1, 2018
The Vegas Golden Knights began their record-setting season days after their city was struck by a mass shooting at the 2017 Harvest Music Festival. During their last home game of 2017-2018, with 50 wins and a Stanley Cup playoffs berth clinched, they retired the number 58 in memory of those who died. [NHL]
Greetings From Scenic Cedar Park (and Beautiful Boise)
Landon Bow provided the saves and Travis Morin provided the final touch as the #txstars topped the Chicago Wolves for a 2-1 shootout win on Friday to end their road trip.— Texas Stars (@TexasStars) April 1, 2018
Read: https://t.co/Y7exeKDkQB pic.twitter.com/KOhrNgjL6j
The Idaho Steelheads nabbed their seventh consecutive win during their regular-season home finale against the Utah Grizzlies, 4-2. Forward Cole Ully scored twice, including the GWG, and earned First Star of the Game honors. Next stop: the Kelly Cup playoffs.
The Stars’ tradition of awarding their game-worn jerseys to lucky fans after the last home game is the happiest, sweatiest ritual on Earth – and the pictures prove it. Enjoy.