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Dallas Stars and the Magic of a Season Opener on Home Ice

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As the NHL deals with social distancing, fans are allowed inside the American Airlines Center, showing that the magic of the home-ice advantage is alive and well in Dallas.

NHL: Nashville Predators at Dallas Stars Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

For Dallas Stars fans, last night’s game was everything they had hoped for and more. As the banner was raised for the Western Conference champions of the 2019-20 season, fans couldn’t help but get that warm feeling knowing that their Dallas Stars shined brighter than any other NHL team in the west.

The game was amazing to watch (well, unless you were an in-market fan that suddenly realized Sinclair had managed to get the channel removed from your cable/streaming service last night.) Seeing the Stars play hard on the ice put a lot of fans at ease regarding the after-effects of recovery from 17 positive COVID-19 cases. The virus affects everyone differently; some people have side effects that last for months. Coupled with concerns about a disjointed training camp, a relatively unchanged roster, a new divisional schedule, a compact schedule, and long-term injuries to top line center Tyler Seguin and goaltender Ben Bishop, no one really knew what to expect.

Thankfully, the players seemed healthy and more than a little pumped to be back in their home arena. A variety of goals were scored, including a record-setting five power-play goals in one game. The Stars didn’t stop there, however; there was also one even-strength and even one shorthanded goal for the final 7-0 result.

Five penalties didn’t even slow them down.

Anton Khudobin’s 100th win had fans chanting his name through the last few minutes of the game. That was due, in part, to how the goaltender seems to have picked right up from where he left off as the key guy through the team’s playoff run. Khudobin may have had goosebumps hearing the crowd chanting his name, but the fans had goosebumps of their own with a bright hope for the season ahead stretching out before them.

If even for a night, the offensive explosion and the good goaltending performance gives some assurance that this may be the start of another great year for the Stars.

The only downside of the game was the lower-body injury that removed captain Jamie Benn from the game before the start of the third period. With head coach Rick Bowness’ standard vague response on injury updates — “lower body, day-to-day” as he termed it after practice Saturday — fans are still unsure when the Stars will have their captain back, but the overall euphoria of the game created a residual optimism and sense of hopefulness that he’ll be back on the ice soon.

This game really did boost fans in way everyone really needed. The hope is real, and it’s okay to stay optimistic. It may be that this game wasn’t a high-scoring fluke, so let’s keep that hope alive for the next game on Sunday. The Stars returned to Dallas in a big way on Friday night and it was a joy to witness the magic in action.