You’ll forgive me if this section isn’t that big tonight. We all know what happened. I want to get through it as painlessly as possible. The Stars again surrendered the first goal of the game, but at least this time it wasn’t within the first couple minutes. The Stars bounced back on a wacky Brenden Morrow goal with just over two minutes to go. End of 1st: 1-1. Things were looking up for the briefest of times when Alex Goligoski scored off a rocket 11:10 into the middle frame, but of course the Stars simply could not follow up a goal with solid defense. The Sharks tied it up just 32 seconds later. A later San Jose power play gave them the upper hand, with Logan Couture cashing in off a tip. End of 2nd: 3-2 Sharks. Things were desperate for the sellout crowd at the AAC, this final period was the season essentially. The only ray of hope was a Jamie Benn breakaway with five minutes left that was stopped by Antti Niemi. After that, the Sharks added the dagger from Joe Thornton, and then the empty netter for a bit more insult. Final: 5-2 Sharks.
What It Means:
What a disappointment. The arena was alive, and the playoffs were there for the taking, and they just dropped the ball. I say their playoff hopes are crushed because that’s just what they are, crushed into tiny pieces that with a miracle could maybe be put back together. They controlled their own destiny and now they’ll have to both win out and rely on a couple different scenarios to get them into the playoffs, and it doesn’t look likely. The worst thing about tonight is that it’s not like everything went wrong and they collapsed, it was just a couple little things that doomed them against a better team. The power play was absolutely atrocious, Kari Lehtonen was not as good as he should have been, and the Stars were not playing 100%. It’s just disappointing. But everyone has to bounce back, and this team as well as us fans are now used to waiting for next year and saying “yeah, this is the year”. Hopefully that finally turns out to be true. Game notes:
- Playoff scenarios: First and foremost, the Stars must win out and beat both Nashville and St. Louis, plain and simple. One loss and they’re done. Second, the Stars must now hope for either the Sharks or the Kings to sweep the upcoming home and home series against each other. To put it into numbers: Stars must go 2-0 and Kings must go 0-2, or alternatively Sharks must go at the least 0-1-1. The other scenario is that the Coyotes go 0-2 while, of course, the Stars go 2-0. Like I mentioned, it’ll take a miracle. Thankfully the Stars will hold that ROW tiebreaker over any team in the division if they lose out, giving the Stars that last gasp of air that could get them in.
The Stars travel to Nashville in a game that they simply have to win to have any hope on Thursday night. We’ll all be scoreboard watching as well, but the Stars have to take care of business. The Predators are one of the top teams in the West, but the Stars have performed well against them this year. It’s a faint glimmer of hope, but a glimmer is something.