Stars Close to Ending Playoff Drought
It wasn’t pretty but the ending sure was sweet. In a game that saw the Stars play their sloppiest in perhaps a month or more, committing 21 giveaways to just 5 for the Nashville Predators, the big guy in net did what he needed to do to get the win and capture the oh-so-important full 2 points. Kari Lehtonen limited the Predators to just 2 goals on 29 shots and 1 of 4 in the shootout, and gave his teammates a chance to win – which they did when Tyler Seguin buried the final shootout goal to capture a 3-2 victory in front of a frenzied home crowd at the AAC. Vern Fiddler was solid throughout as well, grabbing 54% of his faceoffs and delivering the primary assist on Alex Goligoski’s goal in the first period, then scoring in the shootout after falling to the ice on his approach like he’d been hit by a sniper. That set Seguin up to be the hero with the clinching shootout goal, which he took full advantage of and sent the Preds packing after Lehtonen stoned Matt Cullen on his attempt.
By taking home 2 points the Stars further inched their lead in front of the Phoenix Coyotes who fell in OT to the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-3, nabbing only 1 point in the process. So now with 3 games remaining for both teams (the final game is against each other in Glendale), the Stars are a full 2 points ahead in the race for the last Western Conference playoff position (and wow does it seem like a long time ago that Dallas saw playoff hockey first hand). Those same Blue Jackets who so graciously assisted the Stars last night will now put their bad guy hats on and come into town for tonight’s match up, a rescheduled affair from the game that was canceled when Rich Peverley collapsed on the Stars bench back in early March. If the Stars can dispose of the Blue Jackets tonight as well, they’ll open up a 4 point lead while the Coyotes can only sit back and watch until their next game on Thursday. The race isn’t over yet, and if the past few seasons have taught us anything its that nothing is guaranteed, but a 4 point lead with only 2 games to go sure beats the flipside.