Games like last night may remind a fan why you should never really tune out the Dallas Stars. If you gave up and went to bed at 11 because you knew the San Jose Sharks already had it in the bag and were just playing with their food – well, don’t you feel silly.
You missed Gemel Smith tying the game with 5:17 left in regulation:
And you missed Jamie Benn two minutes later, mugging Tomas Hertl at his own blueline and taking the Stars’ first lead of the game:
And then you missed The Captain scoring into Martin Jones’ empty net for his first hat trick since Art Ross Night:
And you missed “Metal” Mike McKenna getting the W after coming in for an injured Kari Lehtonen.
McKenna took the ice after Kari appeared to take a puck to either his throat or his clavicle.
Lehtonen looks like he takes a puck up high near the throat. Lehtonen comes out, and McKenna comes in. pic.twitter.com/GGBdMBiuNI— Dylan Nadwodny (@dnadders) April 4, 2018
By the way, here’s a late update from The Athletic’s Sean Shapiro:
Hitch says Kari Lehtonen is "100 percent fine" and he'll be ready for whatever the Stars decide to do this weekend. Didn't say if McKenna would get another start, but said, "quite frankly, he's earned it."— Sean Shapiro (@seanshapiro) April 4, 2018
More Stars (while they last!)
After last night, Captain Benn made another big move on the Stars’ all-time scoring list.
#GoStars— Travis Currie (@travcurrie) April 4, 2018
With goals 248, 249, and 250 in the win vs San Jose, 'The Captain' @jamiebenn14 passes Super Dave @dgagner15 for 6th on the #Stars all-time goals list
1. @9modano 557
4. @NealBroten 274
7.D.Gagner 247 pic.twitter.com/JtERZ25r88
Back to McKenna’s big entrance: Let’s take a look at those reaction shots.
Now that Lehtonen is gone, the Stars are using.......Mike....McKenna? That's a dude I've never once heard of. So this could get interesting— x - Fear the Fin (@fearthefin) April 4, 2018
A man with Dimebag Darrell on the back of his helmet is in net for the Stars. This is not a drill.— Josh Lile (@JoshL1220) April 4, 2018
One of the best takes came from McKenna’s wife, Rachel, once the comeback was complete:
I don’t have words right now mostly because I can’t stop crying. So proud of you, @MikeMcKenna56. I see how hard you work and this win was so deserved. ⭐️— Rachel McKenna (@RachelMcK17) April 4, 2018
And NHL.com’s Tom Gulitti brought the context.
How about @MikeMcKenna56 coming off the bench tonight to replace an injured Kari Lehtonen and stopping all 17 shots he faced as Stars rallied from 2-0 down to defeat Sharks?— Tom Gulitti (@TomGulittiNHL) April 4, 2018
McKenna gets his first NHL win since Dec. 23, 2013 with Columbus at Carolina.
By the way, Ryan Lambert has posted his HSO on the Stars’ late-season breakdown, so I’ll just leave it here.
It’s been shocking, but perhaps it shouldn’t be all that surprising https://t.co/fymYsVRXx3— Yahoo Sports NHL (@YahooSportsNHL) April 2, 2018
Around the League
#Killing In the Name (of the Playoffs)
- The Winnipeg Jets made a meal out of it with several regulars resting, but they hung in there to beat the Montreal Canadiens in overtime, 5-4. [Eyes On The Prize]
- The Nashville Predators have a playoffs spot. The Florida Panthers want one. Former Star Colton Sceviour scored the GWG and Roberto Luongo made 45 saves in a 2-1 Cats upset that keeps them alive to fight for a wild-card slot. [On The Forecheck]
The Preds lost their shot at overtime against the Panthers due to a goalie-interference call. Mike Fisher’s wife is just one of the people who are all wadded up over it.
Even Carrie Underwood is ‘livid’ about goalie interference https://t.co/2mE2MHrvEd— NHL on NBC (@NHLonNBCSports) April 4, 2018
Slava Malamud has a modest proposal for the future:
2023. All NHL calls are made by Twitter. A special algorithm feeds all game-related tweets into a program which operates a giant digital whistle at the arena. All calls are final, unless overturned by an unfavorable Ratio. Everyone, absolutely everyone is happy. Deliriously so.— Slava Malamud (@SlavaMalamud) April 4, 2018
Also at @NHLonNBC: NBCSN has documented the stunning rise of the Vegas Golden Knights in a new special. “Knight Fever” premiered last night, and ICYMI, you can catch the preview here. (They don’t use this in either of these two clips, but surely they do at some point. Surely.)
Taylor Hall is (justifiably) getting a load of credit for the New Jersey Devils’ resurgence, and for their possible return to the Stanley Cup playoffs. But backup goalie Keith Kinkaid may have saved their season, writes Jared Clinton.
Taylor Hall is the Devils MVP. He might even win the Hart Trophy. But if the Devils end their prolonged playoff drought, Keith Kinkaid deserves a ton of credit:https://t.co/I8BUhrWTem pic.twitter.com/xQ2ahASXJ5— Jared Clinton (@THNJaredClinton) April 3, 2018
Jared also looks at 10 serious Norris Trophy candidates, including John Klingberg, and tells you why they will win, and also why they’ll lose.
The Vancouver Canucks lost to the Golden Knights, but the fans only had eyes for Henrik Sedin and Daniel Sedin, who announced their retirements on Monday. Watch the entire Vegas team linger on the ice for the ovation.
Greetings from Scenic Cedar Park (and Beautiful Boise)
The Dallas office has reassigned Jason Dickinson to Cedar Park as the T-Stars prepare to close the deal on a postseason spot.
If playoffs math is hard, the T-Stars’ Twitter staff has provided a guide to interpreting the results of tonight’s game against the Stockton Heat.
The points percentage system can be confusing so here's what you need to know for tomorrow night's #txstars showdown with Stockton and how it could affect the playoff chase: pic.twitter.com/Dnb6oXMjOw— Texas Stars (@TexasStars) April 3, 2018
And with Philippe Desrosiers helping to hold down the net in Austin Metro, NCAA product Tomas Sholl has stepped up for the playoffs-bound Idaho Steelheads. The SoCal native earned four shutouts, a .965 SV%, and ECHL Goaltender of the Month honors for March.
Joe Thornton is still recovering from knee surgery, but he’s found a great rehab partner: his four-year-old son, River. Watch them skate together at a Sharks optional practice from last week – and enjoy.