Although they failed to secure a spot on Sunday when the Arizona Coyotes beat the Minnesota Wild, Dallas took destiny into their own hands by beating the Philadelphia Flyers Tuesday night. The victory gave them the final point necessary to clinch a playoff spot, marking the Stars’ first postseason appearance since the 2015-16 season.
It’s been quite an unforgettable season for Stars fans this year. After hiring rookie head coach Jim Montgomery and signing Tyler Seguin to a new eight-year contract extension in the offseason, the Stars faced early adversity when half of their blue line — including top defenseman John Klingberg — was sidelined due to injury. Not long after that stretch, Stars CEO Jim Lites went on a rant about Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin for holding the team back, timed just a few days before Dallas was announced as the host of the 2020 Winter Classic.
At the trade deadline, the Stars acquired New York Rangers forward Mats Zuccarello, who was then injured in his very first game. Alexander Radulov was scratched for missing a team meeting, then followed it up with his first career hat trick. Ben Bishop even set a franchise record for the longest scoreless streak by a goaltender, but then left the game due to injury. And then he was injured again a couple weeks later.
Despite all of the chaos throughout the year, both at their own hands and at the hands of hockey itself, the Stars have emerged as a Stanley Cup playoff team once more. Championed by their stellar goaltending tandem of Ben Bishop and Anton Khudobin, the Stars have made the postseason for the third time in the six seasons since Jim Nill took over as general manager. The Stars will likely be the first Wild Card, as the Winnipeg Jets, Nashville Predators, and resurgent St. Louis Blues trip over themselves to see who can win (or fail up into) the top three spots of the division, but a lot can happen in these last couple of days.
For now though, let’s just celebrate that we finally get to see playoff hockey in Dallas again. Check out our preview of potential first round opponents, and stay tuned as we wrap up the final two games of the regular season this weekend.
The roller coaster just keeps going up (for now).