Brought to you by: Big Shucks
The inevitable has come true. The Dallas Stars are eliminated from partaking in the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The Dallas Stars kept their razor-thin playoff chances alive by winning their final home game of the season on Saturday. But the Anaheim Ducks quickly evaporated any chance the following day, Sunday, with a 4-3 overtime victory against the Avalanche.
It was going to take a miracle for the Stars to rejoin playoff contention. Dallas needed the Ducks and the St. Louis Blues to lose their remaining games, all with the Stars win their final games. As of Sunday, Money Puck had a 0.01 chance to make the playoffs.
It would be impossible to point to one reason for the Stars inexplicit fall from grace. One thing does not cause an eight-game losing streak and it does not happen by accident. But this situation is unlike anything seen in Dallas sports history. Most of the time you can see this kind of thing developing. Like in the case of the Texas Rangers in 2012. The team was limping their way towards the playoffs and the Oakland Athletics looked like the better team to take the division.
But the Stars situation came out of nowhere. Playoffs felt certain as the team was floating from top of the Wild Card to third place in the division. Their road woes looked curable as the team was playing better away from the American Airlines Center. Special teams was top ten in the league, both ways. Scoring contribution was staring to come from more players. The team was certainly in the playoffs, it was just a matter of positioning.
Yet, a land slide came right in the middle of the final month of the season, and Ken Hitchcock and company could not stop it from derailing the season. Now with three meaningless games remaining, the attention turns to the front office and the busy offseason to make sure this never happens again.
Maybe it was the sold out atmosphere for fan appreciation night. Maybe it was the stellar work of the Stars production at the American Airlines Center. Or maybe it was the presence of Mike Modano. Whatever the reason was, the result was the best hockey the Stars played in a month.
They were playing like the team we saw before they fell out of the Wild Card on Saturday night against the Wild. Passing was crisp, defense was is the right place, possession was constant and they were scoring again. And most importantly, they found a way to win in the final home game of the season.
Before that, the Stars ended their dreadful eight-game losing on Tuesday. The Stars scrapped and clawed to secure a win after the long road trip against the Flyers. Kari Lehtonen played his best game of the year, saving 31 shots and giving Alexander Radulov a chance to get the game winning goal in overtime.
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