The Dallas Stars have been in playoff mode for the past month. One by one, they have held off previous Stanley Cup winners, such as Kings and Blackhawks, battling for the Conference title.
Now, 80 games down and the Conference still doesn’t have a clear winner.
The Stars finish their regular season this week with two important home games for their playoff seeding. Just two points ahead of the St. Louis Blues for the top seed. A win with a Blues loss away from winning the Clarence S. Campbell Bowl and home field advantage throughout the playoffs.
Home ice is important to the Stars. Their road record is good (22-12-7), but their home record (26-11-2) is the best in the Conference. Their goaltenders split is better at home giving up less goals in recent home games. That extra home game in a playoff series could pay dividends where every advantage is utilized.
Still, this team just wants to play in the playoffs. They’re playing some of their best hockey right now winning four of their last five scoring at least three goals in each win.
The week started with the first of two games against the Predators in the final handful of games. Like each game the Stars have played lately, it had the playoff feel. A pair of goals for each team in the first saw the game 1-1 after the first. Then the Stars scored two goals less than a minute apart that proved to be enough in the 5-2 victory. Jamie Benn scored two and Jason Spezza became the Stars third 30 goal scorer.
Friday, The Stars put four in the net and allowed just one against in Arizona. Former Stars goaltender Mike Smith returned for his first game against the Stars this year. Jamie Benn’s 40th goal of the season gave the Stars the 3-1 lead heading into the third. Patrick Sharp capped it with an empty netter, his 20th. Antti Niemi back in goal saved 32 on 33 shots. Coyotes won the season series winning two out of three.
The Stars traveled to California for two games against the Kings and Ducks, respectively. On Saturday, Jonathan Quick saved 39 (some flat out ridiculous Quick style) that helped the Kings stay in the game. Yet, the Stars domination on the puck prevailed as they won 3-2. Jordie Benn’s second goal of the season was the game winner late in third. Kings won the season series, 2-1.
The Stars finished the week with a 3-1 loss in Anaheim on a back-to-back in California Sunday. The Ducks scored two goals on the Stars power-play in the second period that ended up being enough to secure their win. The Stars pulled their goalie (Antti Niemi) for the extra attacker and put one in on a scramble in front of the net. But the Ducks scored later on an empty net to an unreachable deficit. The Ducks won the season series winning two out of three.
Upcoming Weekly Schedule – All Times Central
4/7 vs Avalanche 7:30 pm
4/9 vs Predators 7:00 pm