The Dallas Stars lost their final home game of the 2021 regular season last night. How long will it be until they play again in American Airlines Center?
That has become the central – or Central, if you prefer – question for the seven-game road trip that will decide whether the Victory Green Gang returns to the Stanley Cup playoffs this year. And for a team dealing with as much injury and exhaustion as this one, it looms even larger.
In his latest article, posted after last night’s loss to the Carolina Hurricanes, The Dallas Morning News’ Matthew DeFranks looks at what the Stars may look like the next time we see them in Dallas – whether in this season’s playoffs, or next season’s home opener:
For a postseason series, Tyler Seguin could be back. [Jason] Robertson might be making his Stanley Cup Playoffs debut. Jake Oettinger could assume the No. 1 role as goalie in the first round. In the fall, [Alexander] Radulov and Ben Bishop should be back from their respective surgeries. Roope Hintz might have undergone a procedure of his own. [Anton] Khudobin could be lost in the expansion draft.
In the meantime, the next two weeks will determine this group’s fate.
“We’ve got to get the job done on the road,” defenseman Jamie Oleksiak said. “I think it’s going to be a good character test for us. I think one of the advantages of the schedule is you have to have a short memory. Not the result we wanted [Tuesday], but plenty of opportunity to get it back on the right track here.”
Of course, the Stars’ reward for making it in will probably be a first-round series against the self-same Canes who have gone 6-2 against them in 2021. But is it any encouragement to know that John Klingberg still likes their chances?
“If we’re getting in the playoffs, which we are, we’re going to face these teams,” Klingberg said.
Matt has more. [SportsDayDFW]
Saad Yousuf reviewed the entire Stars-Hurricanes series and opines that a first-round matchup could be a lot more interesting than you think.
Tuesday night put a wrap on an eight-game regular season series between Stars and Hurricanes.— Saad Yousuf (@SaadYousuf126) April 28, 2021
Canes are currently the top seed. If Stars make the playoffs, it would be as the No. 4.
What did the eight games tell us about a potential playoff series? https://t.co/T7ahspw7WW
Here’s Klinger, saying those words. Book your Round 1 tickets now. (Or get ready to blame Papa for whatever happens. You decide.)
Around The Leagues
- Brayden Point got three of them, and the Tampa Bay Lightning punched their playoffs ticket, in a 7-4 win over the Chicago Blackhawks. [Raw Charge]
- The Florida Panthers clinched their own spot in the Stanley Cup race with a 7-4 comeback defeat of the Nashville Predators. [Litter Box Cats]
- And the Columbus Blue Jackets defeated the Detroit Red Wings 1-0 in a shootout, but only after an insane goalie duel between Elvis Merzlikins and Thomas Greiss. [The Cannon]
Speaking of the playoffs, the NHL is looking to replicate last year’s Return To Play safety successes. But will differences in local and national regulations make it easier or harder?
The NHL will adhere to local and national government regulations and is prepared to adapt during the upcoming Stanley Cup Playoffs as part of its effort to continue prioritizing health and safety during the COVID-19 pandemic. https://t.co/dJybP4xWeT— NHL.com (@NHLdotcom) April 27, 2021
Younger audiences, more viral content, and fewer terrestrial broadcasts: Sean Shapiro takes a long look at how the NHL hopes to become the new NBA.
Is NHL’s ESPN-Turner partnership good for hockey? League executives weigh in on financials, the new partners, the term of the deal, and other key facets of the new partnership https://t.co/hJms9B5D46— Sean Shapiro (@seanshapiro) April 28, 2021
Connor McDavid is in your face everywhere for a reason. Jesse Campigotto has a brief review of his “season for the ages.”
Steven Ellis is reporting from the IIHF U18 World Championships – and he’s found this story of a reunion between teammates who bonded in the wake of an unspeakable crime.
As Shane Wright and Brennan Othmann get ready to re-unite with Team Canada at the #U18Worlds, @StevenEllisTHN took a look at the pair's history and having to overcome tragedy at such a young age to get to where they are today.https://t.co/A8S7eGU9yn— The Hockey News (@TheHockeyNews) April 28, 2021
Greetings From Scenic Cedar Park
The Texas Stars welcome back Ty Dellandrea, just in time for tomorrow night’s game against the Cleveland Monsters.
Are we absolutely sure Joe Pavelski didn’t begin his sports career in competitive aerobics from the ’80s? Asking for a friend. Enjoy.