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]
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.
Bishop, Dowling, and Ritchie should be ready for this weekend. Zuccarello is still be evaluated, but is hopeful for this weekend. None of them are available for tomorrow— Sean Shapiro (@seanshapiro) April 1, 2019
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]
Mike Modano is the USA— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) April 1, 2019
Mike Moodano is our team pic.twitter.com/gtDp7BKptf
Too late to call “psych!”, Stars – the ball’s in your court.
this better be real.— Jill (@OLCVTA) April 2, 2019
Elsewhere, Riley Damiani continues to represent the Jamie Benn Round with distinction.
Around The League(s)
- The St. Louis Blues set back the Colorado Avalanche’s wild-card quest with a 3-2 victory at home. [St. Louis Game Time]
- The Winnipeg Jets defeated the Chicago Blackhawks 4-3 in overtime. Somehow, the Hawks are still in the playoffs fight. This division is nuts. [Second City Hockey]
EDMONTON, OUT: #Avalanche earn a point in 3-2 shootout loss to #Blues, which eliminates #Oilers from the playoff hunt. Edmonton is only the third non-playoff team to have multiple 100-point scorers in a season (PIT 89-90, QUE 87-88). #NHL https://t.co/qgr1kpTQpK pic.twitter.com/wyhpMiqIDe— SportsCentre (@SportsCentre) April 2, 2019
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.
Tampa Bay Lightning reach 60 wins with 5-2 victory over Ottawa Senators https://t.co/Ywkt1a9eVK— Raw Charge (@RawCharge) April 2, 2019
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.
Congratulations Team Texas on winning the @usahockey High School National Championships!!! The girls defeated MN Dynamo 10-0 to capture their first National title. #USAHNationals pic.twitter.com/MsCVtcdtFQ— Children's Health StarCenter (@StarCenters) March 31, 2019
Even on his night off, Alexander Radulov likes to hang out at the AAC. Watch for a cameo appearance by Zucc. Enjoy.