The Dallas Stars pulled off exactly the game they needed last night. Defeating the Nashville Predators in regulation wasn’t just a great way to kick off the month of April – it places them five points away from fourth place in the Central Division, with four games in hand.
The Dallas Morning News’ Matthew DeFranks takes stock of a game in which, finally, “the Stars’ offensive weapons all fired”:
The win snapped a three-game losing streak (though two of them came in overtime) for the Stars and improved their record to 12-12-10 with 22 games remaining. Dallas is five points behind Nashville for fourth place in the Central Division with four games in hand.
“Any win feels good right now,” [captain Jamie] Benn said. “We got a lot of good efforts out there from every player that played in that game [Thursday]. Take that two points and enjoy it and move on.”
The game may have been especially important for Roope Hintz, who right now is probably the Stars’ best forward on any given night. His dynamic presence on the ice belies the fact that he’s still mired in a halting recovery from the lower-body injury he suffered in January:
Thursday could have been a turning point for Hintz. It was the first time since Feb. 22 that Hintz played in three straight games, and he now has 14 points in his last 11 games. In the previous seven games without Hintz, the Stars were 0-2-5.
“I don’t think he’s surprising any of us anymore,” [Esa] Lindell said. “We on the team know how good he is and how good he can be.”
Matt has more. [SportsDayDFW]
Tyler Seguin will probably start practicing with the team by the second week of April. If you have to cry at work, go ahead.
Tyler Seguin is on track to practice with the Stars at the end of this road trip. Plus, surgery is a possibility for Alexander Radulov and Roope Hintz. https://t.co/tCYCzbPP8n— Matthew DeFranks (@MDeFranks) March 31, 2021
One day after signing Fighting Hawks forward Jordan Kawaguchi, the Stars hit the University of North Dakota again, this time for netminder Adam Scheel.
The @DallasStars have signed North Dakota goaltender Adam Scheel who has signed an ATO with #txstars.— Texas Stars (@TexasStars) April 2, 2021
He joins the team for the remainder of the 2020-21 AHL season. Transaction presented by #bluecornharvest.
Read: https://t.co/VoRHFQKjUY pic.twitter.com/TYf7fFKWKn
The Robo-milestones keep on coming...
Rookie Jason Robertson (1-0—1) scored his first career game-winning goal and Anton Khudobin made 21 saves to improve to 3-0-2 against Nashville in 2020-21. The @DallasStars (3-0-3) have earned at least a point in all six of their games against the Predators this season. #NHLStats pic.twitter.com/TVAX6dSJnR— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) April 2, 2021
...and the Calder Trophy competition suddenly looks very close.
Jason Robertson (@JasonRob1999) has shuffled the rookie scoring race with 16 points in March, jumping from 12th to second place in 2020-21.— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) March 31, 2021
Will the @DallasStars forward overtake Minnesota’s Kirill Kaprizov in the rookie scoring race?#NHLStats: https://t.co/CBUwqVZ43j pic.twitter.com/TIrP82J9hv
So where’s the Robertson hype train? Steven Ellis is glad you asked.
"Stars' Jason Robertson Deserves More Hype in the Calder Conversation" - @StevenEllisTHN— The Hockey News (@TheHockeyNews) April 1, 2021
The @DallasStars haven't had much going for them this season, but the emergence of rookie @JasonRob1999 as a real Calder Trophy candidate is a nice bonus: https://t.co/crnVGlDy6e
Around The Leagues
- The Tampa Bay Lightning ended a three-game losing streak with a 3-2 win that split their series with the Columbus Blue Jackets. [Raw Charge]
- And Alex Wennberg played overtime hero as the Florida Panthers defeated the Detroit Red Wings in extra minutes, 3-2. [Winging It In Motown]
The North Division is catching up in the dubious “games postponed due to COVID-19 protocols” metric.
NHL postpones 3 more Canucks games due to players in COVID protocols— Hockey Night in Canada (@hockeynight) April 1, 2021
Vancouver scheduled to return April 8 https://t.co/LcrMuFF9Gm
Iain McIntyre’s latest piece for Sportsnet examines the human cost of COVID-19 through the lens of Travis Hamonic’s struggle with the virus.
People are angry at Adam Gaudette for getting COVID? Really? Travis Hamonic’s daughter, Charlie, spent a week in hospital with a serious respiratory illness. And now her dad has COVID.— Iain MacIntyre (@imacSportsnet) April 2, 2021
These are human beings. They deserve some humanity. https://t.co/nQzOcKi75n
As the expansion draft draws near, it pays to look at how Ron Francis made the Carolina Hurricanes contenders – and how he might do the same for the Seattle Kraken.
Just imagine how busy this guy will be when the playoffs roll around.
Greetings From Scenic Cedar Park
Riley Damiani is here to remind you that he’s having a season, too.
We know it's April Fools Day, but this is far from a joke.— Texas Stars (@TexasStars) April 1, 2021
Riley Damiani is the AHL Rookie of the Month with 15-points in March.
He sits atop all rookies in the AHL and is second among all players with 23 points during his debut season.
Read: https://t.co/9wfOktcZhO pic.twitter.com/An8Glfav2s
Are you thinking what Stephen Meserve is thinking?
We leave you with this video of Miro Heiskanen winning empty-net roulette. Enjoy.