By Martin Iheke
Your Dallas Stars continue to keep their very slim playoff hopes alive as the season continues to wind down. They had another terrific week going 3-1-0, but they are still six points out of the last playoff spot. Last Monday night, they squeaked by the lowly Buffalo Sabres at home 4-3. Stars captain Jamie Benn had a great night with two goals and an assist, which turned out to be his 200th of his career. After the game, Benn talked about how his team was able to come back and the win the game. “I don’t think we came ready to play early on,” Benn said. “I think a couple of power plays got us into it a bit. I think they did a pretty good job early in the second period. It wasn’t pretty but we found a way to get two points.”
The Stars extended their winning streak to three games and were looking to make it four when they played at the Calgary Flames last Wednesday night. After a scoreless first period, the Stars were able to go up 2-0, thanks to goals from forward Ales Hemsky and Jamie Benn. The lead did not last long because the Flames were able to tie it up a few minutes before the Stars regained the lead thanks to another goal by Hemsky. The Flames tied the score again in the third period before the game went into overtime. It remained scoreless in the five-minute extra period so the shootout would have to decide this one. Stars forward Tyler Seguin scored the only shootout goal as the Stars would win again, 4-3. “The thought has been win out really since I’ve come back from injury (on March 7),” Seguin said according to NHL.com. “As long as I’ve been in the lineup that’s been the message. I’m sure the guys were saying it before as well. We’ve been playing some good hockey, we’ve been finding ways to win and that’s what it’s all about. We were saying right before overtime, ‘We’re here for two points; we’re not here for one.’ It was a playoff-type game. They had momentum at times. We had momentum. I think both teams made some mistakes and both teams made some great plays. Obviously we’re happy to walk away with both points.”
Unfortunately, they could not the follow the huge win up with another as the lowly Edmonton Oilers would shutout the Stars at home, 4-0. Former Stars backup goalie Richard Bachman was the star in this one stopping all 29 shots by the Stars. “That was a tough one; we didn’t play the game we have been playing lately that had made us successful,” Stars forward Shawn Horcoff said according to NHL.com. “It cost us tonight. We had some chances, but we gave up way too many the other way. That’s the type of game we have been trying to get away from. Tonight we probably gave up more odd-man rushes than we had in our last 10 or 15. It is pretty disappointing. We still have to believe that we have a chance if we run the table from here.” At this time of the year when you are desperately trying to stay alive in the playoff race, you cannot drop games to bad teams. This has been the problem for the Stars all season, though, so this is not surprising.
Fortunately, they were able to bounce back quickly the following night in Vancouver against the Canucks as the Stars would beat the Canucks, 4-3, in overtime. Stars rookie defenseman John Klingberg scored the game-winner as the team would finish the road trip taking four out of a possible six points. The chances are very slim, but the Stars are still alive for now.
3/30 vs Flames 7:30 pm
4/3 vs Blues 7:30 pm
4/4 @Predators 7:00 pm