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Dallas Stars Daily Links: The Stars’ Long Road To A 2019 Playoff Spot

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Is the Soap Opera Season finally headed for a happy ending? Plus, the usual Central-on-Central violence, the monster at the end of the Eastern Conference, and more.

NHL: Dallas Stars at Calgary Flames Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

The Dallas Stars will try to punch their ticket to the 2019 Stanley Cup playoffs at home tonight against the Philadelphia Flyers. After the roller-coaster ride of the season so far, you may still be pinching yourself.

Sean Shapiro of The Athletic DFW recounts the long saga of this season – from the deals that didn’t happen to the Miro Heiskanen hype to the historic dumpster fire set by its own front office on December 28, 2018:

[Jim] Lites’ comments were intended to lite a Bunsen burner under [Tyler] Seguin and Jamie Benn. Instead, the Stars doused the room with gasoline and lit a bonfire that danced squarely under [Jim] Nill’s seat, magnifying every corner of the organization.

Nill soon had to defend the comments, but he never defended the language. Four days later the Stars were officially awarded the 2020 Winter Classic in the Cotton Bowl. That’s an extreme week for any franchise....

With all that explosive drama and the fallout which followed, the Stars should have crumbled. They should have collapsed, Montgomery should have lost the locker room, and Seguin might have started second-guessing himself about committing to eight more years with, well, this.

But things didn’t turn out that way.

Have the team’s struggles played out to their advantage at last? Shapiro thinks it’s possible:

They play a style that fits well in the postseason, they are getting reinforcements at the right time, their goaltending is the league’s best. And there is actually a sense of belief that this group, with all of its flaws and warts, can win big games when that matters.

There’s much more in the latest Shap Shots. [The Athletic DFW]


Stars Stuff

Jim Montgomery talked about his team’s journey back to the playoffs in a new practice report video.

Sean Shapiro has the latest on the team’s injury list, including the statuses of Ben Bishop, Justin Dowling, Brett Ritchie and Mats Zuccarello.

Meet Mike Moodano – the Stars’ team pet, just in time for April Fools’ Day. (Could be a creative solution to the “cats vs. dogs vs. are small dogs actually dogs?” question.) [Dallas Stars]

Too late to call “psych!”, Stars – the ball’s in your court.

Elsewhere, Riley Damiani continues to represent the Jamie Benn Round with distinction.

Around The League(s)

#Death Notes

The Toronto Maple Leafs punched their playoffs ticket with a 2-1 win over the New York Islanders – and John Tavares’ first goal against his former team.

There was no joy in Alberta, though – the Edmonton Oilers were eliminated from contention, with help from their 3-1 loss to the already-clinched Vegas Golden Knights.

Is it any wonder the entire Eastern Conference wild-card bracket is playing to avoid a first-round matchup with the Tampa Bay Lightning? This team is a monster, y’all.

Robin Lehner will almost certainly win the 2019 Masterton Trophy, and he must have a unique feel for adversity. Here’s what he did for a young Isles fan who’s gone through a few things, too.

After yesterday’s tragic news from the CWHL, it’s nice to see some glad tidings for women’s hockey from Texas.

Finally

Even on his night off, Alexander Radulov likes to hang out at the AAC. Watch for a cameo appearance by Zucc. Enjoy.