If Alexander Radulov needed an entire month to recover from a lower-body injury, at least it seems to have worked. The electrifying Dallas Stars winger played more than 16 minutes and took five shots on goal during last night’s victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Oh, and there was that whole winning-the-game-with-his-shootout-goal thing, too.
Stars senior staff writer Mike Heika took a look at what the Stars have been missing, and what they may hope to gain, with Rads back in the lineup:
The Stars had lost six straight games that went past regulation, and that was frustrating because they were often the better team in those games. The return of Radulov, however, allowed them to be just a bit better. The return of Radulov allowed them to have just a little bit more confidence.
The Stars are now 9-9-6 on the season, they are 6-2-1 when Radulov is in the lineup....
“Yeah, he’s a one of a kind,” said [Jake] Oettinger, who had 29 saves and moved his record to 4-1-5. “It’s unreal. He’s such a huge part of this team and to finally have him back is huge. Any guy who has played with him knows he’s a beauty, one of a kind guy. He brings so much life to the team, so having him back was huge tonight.”
Heika’s reporting indicates that Radulov was kept out by a previous injury that he “aggravated” in February – and trying to rehabilitate it without regular practices was a tough process. But Rads sounds ready to make up for lost time as well as lost games:
“We’ve put ourselves in that spot, and we’ve got to fight to get it back,” he said. “We’ve got a good group of guys, a lot of experience, some good young guys with speed and good skills, and a good coaching staff, obviously. I think we’re fine, we just have to find our way to win those games when it’s 1-1 or 2-2…you just have to find a way.
“Today was a little step, but we get the extra point and that’s huge for us.”
There’s more at Mike’s place. [Dallas Stars]
“[His] intensity is different and it’s contagious.” Saad Yousuf offers a play-by-play breakdown of the Radulov Effect in his latest piece.
Lots happened in Stars hockey in Columbus:— Saad Yousuf (@SaadYousuf126) March 15, 2021
— Breaking down (w/ clips) Alexander Radulov's return.
"You see his value..."
"He’s one of a kind. He’s unreal.”
— Is Jake Oettinger the starter?
— Looking back at missed opportunities
— Other observations
Another reason to celebrate: Otter’s first shootout win as an NHL goalie.
Rads and Roope return while Otter gets his first shootout victory.— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) March 15, 2021
Stars grab 3 out of 4 points in Columbus. pic.twitter.com/C6Wjgv9I2B
Around The Leagues
- The Tampa Bay Lightning steamrolled the Nashville Predators’ injury-decimated roster on the way to a 6-3 win. [On The Forecheck]
- It turned out to be a big night for the Sunshine State – the Florida Panthers beat the Chicago Blackhawks 4-2 as Aleksander Barkov enjoyed a three-point game. [Litter Box Cats]
What’s going on with the #MurderDeathKill Division? Well, it appears the Stars will face this five or so times a year when the pandemic alignment readjusts itself.
The Kaapo Kahkonen Era Has Arrived in Minnesota@StevenEllisTHN’s profile on the @mnwild goalie, who could tie Jordan Binnington's nine-win run as a rookie two years ago in his next start: https://t.co/6zKqnzpTyt— The Hockey News (@TheHockeyNews) March 12, 2021
But who won the Battle of the Third Jerseys? Don’t you have to give the Toronto Maple Leafs something? (Like, literally? Because it’s the law?)
It was just too little too late for the Leafs in the Battle of Ontario https://t.co/kiWLFlaLOV— Hockey Night in Canada (@hockeynight) March 15, 2021
When FaceTime isn’t enough: Players are encountering the same pandemic-related loneliness and stress as the rest of us. Emily Kaplan asked how they’re holding up.
The 2021 NHL season is unusual and highly isolating. I talked to players about how it’s affecting their mental health.— Emily Kaplan (@emilymkaplan) March 9, 2021
"I never thought I would be doing an interview like this. But yeah, this season hasn't been easy." https://t.co/n8sfY3wdkx
Greetings From Scenic Cedar Park
Riley Damiani’s hatty from Saturday’s game brought back this blast from the past, too.
The last time a Texas Star scored a natural hat trick was Adam Mascherin on 11-25-2018.— 100 Degree Hockey (@100degreehockey) March 14, 2021
That was the same game that Jordan Binnington took a slash at Joel L'Esperance and challenged the entire #txstars bench to a fight.
First Blake Comeau, now Joe Pavelski...the Stars are really planning to make this happen, aren’t they? Enjoy.