Well, that’s a wrap. The Dallas Stars 2017-2018 season is officially over. The Stars finished the year with 92 points and 42 wins, after beating the Los Angeles Kings 4-2 last night. The Stars were just three points out of a playoff spot.
By far the best part of the night was a natural hat trick scored by Jamie Benn within the first 14 minutes (very fitting, I know). The historic performance was just enough to nudge him over teammate Tyler Seguin for the team’s lead in points — Benn ended the year with 79 points in 82 games, while Seguin ended with 78.
Here are the goals from last night’s performance, starting with Devin Shore’s steal of the century:
Benn’s first goal indicates that he might have a career in baseball if the whole hockey thing fizzles out:
About three minutes later, Benn took advantage of some chaos in front of the Kings’ net to score the eventual game-winner:
And here’s the final one that puts the icing on the cake:
Here’s Ken Hitchcock’s final post-game interview of the season:
Hitch on the 4-2 win over the Kings: pic.twitter.com/LF9SZt7v9p— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) April 8, 2018
The season is now over, which means it’s time for the Stars to figure out exactly what went wrong and how to fix it:
Q&A: Jim Nill on what went wrong, plans for the offseason, and Seguin's extension https://t.co/xrS9TsKVeV— Sean Shapiro (@seanshapiro) April 7, 2018
Mike Heika takes a look at the Stars’ pending UFAs and whether they’ll be re-signed or not. [SportsDay DFW]
Alright, good news time. First, Stars prospect Riley Tufte is an NCAA champion!
Riley Tufte and Minnesota Duluth defeat Notre Dame, 2-1, to win national championship.— Mark Stepneski (@StarsInsideEdge) April 8, 2018
Next, the Texas Stars came back from behind to beat the Rockford IceHogs 4-3 last night... [Texas Stars]
...which means they’ve clinched a spot in the AHL postseason!
All six of the Stars’ division rivals played last night. However, only one game truly mattered for the playoff race - which is exactly why I’m going to save it for last.
- Connor Hellebuyck earned his 44th win for the Winnipeg Jets in a 4-1 win over the Chicago Blackhawks, setting a new record for American-born goalies. [NHL]
- Meanwhile, the Nashville Predators padded their Presidents’ Trophy lead with a 4-2 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets. [On the Forecheck]
- The Minnesota Wild prevented the San Jose Sharks from securing home-ice advantage in the first round by thrashing them 6-3. [NHL]
- Finally, the Colorado Avalanche secured the last wild-card spot in the Western Conference with a 5-2 victory over the St. Louis Blues, who will be staying home this postseason. [NHL]
In case you don’t remember, the Avalanche were kind of bad last year, which makes this playoff berth all the more impressive:
The @Avalanche (43-30-9, 95 points) concluded the season with 47 more points than their 2016-17 total (22-56-4, 48 points), tied for the fourth-highest year-to-year improvement by a team in NHL history. #NHLStats #STLvsCOL pic.twitter.com/Xbcill7B25— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) April 8, 2018
In a tribute to the Humboldt Broncos, the Jets and Blackhawks wore the name “BRONCOS” on their backs last night instead of the players’ names:
Meanwhile, Ken Holland will be GM for the Detroit Red Wings for at least a little while longer:
#RedWings Governor Christopher Ilitch announces that executive vice president and general manager Ken Holland has been signed to a two-year contract extension.— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) April 7, 2018
The Vegas Golden Knights won the Pacific Division, but will they be able to hold onto their top UFAs? [Sportsnet]
Henrik and Daniel Sedin played their last NHL game last night in a 3-2 shootout loss to the Edmonton Oilers:
Meanwhile, veteran forward Radim Vrbata has also decided to call it quits:
After 1,057 NHL games, Radim Vrbata is hanging up his skates.— Jameson Olive (@JamesonCoop) April 8, 2018
Here's what he said when I asked him about his decision: pic.twitter.com/ADhi2WssqW
The hockey community has gone above and beyond in showing support for the Humboldt Broncos following their tragic accident:
GoFundMe campaign for Humboldt Broncos surpasses $2 million https://t.co/2EkcT5OWz0— NHL on NBC (@NHLonNBCSports) April 8, 2018
If you would like to contribute, you can donate here.