The first rematch between 2020 Stanley Cup Final rivals finally happened. And it was hard to believe that both these teams were, for a brief moment, poised to take it all.
For Dallas Stars fans, it was the kind of disappointment that feels like an ice-cold wakeup call. Their 5-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning was not as bad as it looked, writes The Athletic’s Saad Yousuf – it was worse:
For those who believe the Stars’ run to the 2020 Stanley Cup Final — which ended in a Game 6 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning — was a fluke, Saturday night was fuel to the fire. The Lightning pummeled the Stars 5-0 in a game in which the final score doesn’t do the demolition justice. Tampa Bay tried to give the game away throughout the night. Not only did the Stars refuse to take it, they dressed up the platter and served it back to the Lightning....
“Times like this, you need your leadership to step up. Simple as that,” Bowness said. “We can’t hide. We can’t hide. We put ourselves in this position, and we need the leadership to step up here. We need all of us to step up.”
The Stars have recovered from bad stretches of play before. They made it to last year’s Final after suffering not one, but two long, humiliating losing streaks that seemed to spell their doom. But if this season’s slump feels different, it may be because it is:
For much of the season, the Stars have been bad, but they’ve given the masses enough cause for a pause. “But the one-goal losses.” They seem so close, right? Depends on what the standard is. With this roster and this coach, the standard coming into this season was never “playoffs-or-bust.” This core has been through two postseason runs in the past two seasons. The standard was “Stanley Cup or bust.” Well, the team that has the Stanley Cup and is setting the groundwork for a chance to repeat was on the other side Saturday....
The team has a lot of issues, and the immediate and long-term future is starting to really come into question. The season isn’t over yet, but it’s slipping away. Andrew Cogliano said Dallas is “at a desperation time, for sure.” Bowness said it’s “a bad 10-game segment” but if that number increases by too much more, that “segment” starts turning into “season.”
There’s a lot more behind the paywall. [The Athletic DFW]
Bones is looking to stop the slide during tomorrow’s Bolts rematch.
Bowness: "We've got to turn this around now. We don't have any more time, we've got to turn it around when we go home. See if we can make this next 10-game segment a whole lot better than this one."@ATT | #GoStars pic.twitter.com/fthXYy2MYX— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) February 28, 2021
Elsewhere, Saad breaks down a few questions about this year’s Stars – including whether they’re actually a bad team or just playing bad hockey.
Stars fact or fiction: Has Miro Heiskanen been figured out? Is this just a bad team? https://t.co/bRo01tgIuW— Saad Yousuf (@SaadYousuf126) February 26, 2021
But should they tank? Bob Sturm has a lot of thoughts on Twitter about why that’s not just stupid, but impossible. Here’s a key takeaway.
Here is why it is a bad question and even a worse conversation: there is no way to tank in hockey unless you have no signed contracts. It is nearly impossible and thus a silly talk.— Bob Sturm (@SportsSturm) February 26, 2021
Around The Leagues
- Three different Nashville Predators scored as they handed the Columbus Blue Jackets their fifth consecutive loss, 3-1. [On The Forecheck]
- Five goals in the third period, and four points from Alex DeBrincat, propelled the Chicago Blackhawks to a 7-2 victory over the Detroit Red Wings. [Second City Hockey]
Patrick Kane became the 100th NHL player, and the fourth Blackhawk, to score 400 goals during last night’s victory.
Jason Robertson’s brother Nick made his own waves during the 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs. Now he’s trained his sights on becoming an everyday NHL’er.
Toronto Maple Leafs prospect @nickrobertson01 made a splash during the 2020 playoff bubble.— The Hockey News (@TheHockeyNews) March 1, 2021
This season, he's fine-tuning his game in the hopes of reaching the NHL full time, and in the process becoming one of the league's few Filipino players.https://t.co/eSOqqkeTfj
Former Stars first-rounder Jack Campbell seems to be finding a groove with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Speaking of goalies, here’s a reminder that Jordan Binnington is still a
colossal jackass and a real piece of work “fiery guy.”
"Fiery guy" Binnington managed to punch three people before leaving the ice in Sunday's game, a must-see moment of the weekend https://t.co/8ySv3sQy3L— Hockey Night in Canada (@hockeynight) March 1, 2021
Do you like social media? Sure, we all do! Here’s a chance to combine your sick handles with your TikTok skills for cheap thrills and priceless, priceless exposure.
The NHL Fan Skills at Home Presented by GEICO is a fan-focused, Instagram and TikTok campaign beginning March 1 and ending April 28. https://t.co/dD8IRv1GF3— NHL.com (@NHLdotcom) March 1, 2021
Greetings From Scenic Cedar Park
Bench boss Neil Graham wants to make this “winning” thing their regular bit as the squad prepares to face the Tucson Roadrunners.
Coach Graham on the Stars looking for a second consecutive win as they head to Tucson on Wednesday.— Texas Stars (@TexasStars) February 28, 2021
"That's a small goal for of ours. Now we have to fight to get two in a row. Our details matter, our game management matters, and our puck management matters." pic.twitter.com/tneun0NMd2
Ans this is pretty much exactly the kind of cat I’d expect Marty Turco to have. Enjoy.