By Will Martin
Citizens of Dallas: Don’t look now but if everything holds evenly for the next two months and the season ends as is guess what? The Dallas Stars are back in the playoffs as the #8 seed!
Not a big deal you say? Tell that to an L.A. Kings fan. Prior to winning it all in 2012 there was a drought in place to the tune of over 40 years. Much like Prom Night if you choose to go it alone you’ll never know what fates shall await you. Maybe you make it with the Prom Queen or get bounced as ‘the one least likely’. That’s the beauty of the playoffs in any sport. Yet I digress.
For the second time in three days and third time within a week the Dallas Stars have gotten-that’s right-a 1 goal victory! 3-2 your common denominator on the road this week in Colorado and again in dramatic fashion over a severely injury depleted Edmonton Oilers (4-3-3) team in overtime.
Jamie Benn is starting to return to his old form as a shooting and scoring machine. His two goals on Monday night in Denver were the catalyst to a 3-2 win thus spoiling the 1,000th career game of Milan Hejduk. The Bennster was oh so close with the hattie on the road!
With the win on Wednesday night 40 year old Hall-Of-Famer in the wings Jaromir Jagr shot a game winning wrister 106 seconds into overtime to catapult himself into the Top Ten for all time scoring. 669 goals! Which begs the question, ‘Does this ever get old?’
“That feeling never gets old,” Jagr said. “When you score in overtime, everybody is talking about it. That was a big goal for us.”
With a Friday night meeting at home with the 1st place Anaheim Ducks (7-1-1) a two game winning streak and a .500 record (5-5-1) are signs that the new management team in place are ready to get to the next level and appease a fan base hungry and ready for some playoff hijinks.
If this is going to happen the Dallas Stars are going to have to figure a way to stop letting opponents back into a game after getting a lead. Jamie Benn and Derek Roy giveth, shoddy defense and stupid penalties taketh away. Just ask Stars Coach Glen Gulutzan.
“I liked the win in overtime, but I didn’t like the response after our two goals,” he said. “We kept on turning the puck over and over and putting the game in jeopardy. Until we realize that we are a team that has to grind out games – and even if it gets dicey out there we have to play a certain way – we’re not going to get traction. We have to learn to do a better job.”
Nine of the 11 games the Stars have been involved in decided by one goal. That speaks of being competitive. Being outshot and kept in shorthanded mode 50 times is a terrible omen for trouble in a league where injuries are going to be felt due to the lockout.
Even so Jaromir Jagr believes the Stars are turning a corner.
“We had three new guys coming here and Jamie wasn’t signed,” he said. “We didn’t really have much of a chance to play together and not even much practice. We have to learn during the games. It is going to get better and better. It is just taking some time.”
Ray Whitney is going to be out with a broken foot. Derek Roy is back after dealing with lower body issues. 2013′s NHL is going be about watching the standings and the injury reports. Just ask the Oilers…
Puck drop in Dallas this Friday will be at 7:30 pm. Be sure to make the trek as next week it’s back on the road starting in Edmonton, then Calgary, and Vancouver before a Sunday matinee with the Flames.
If there is justice in this world look for two of the elder statesmen to show some mettle around the goal tomorrow night in the name of Teemu Selanne and Jaromir Jagr. Proof that life begins at 40 for those who can maintain a great work ethic!