The Dallas Stars relinquished control of their playoff destiny in last night’s 3-2 loss to the San Jose Sharks. While the Stars aren’t necessarily out of the running for eighth place, chances they’ll wind up there are about as slim as they can get.
So what needs to happen to put the Stars in that coveted eighth spot? First, ninth place Detroit, which has three games remaining in the season, would have to lose to Los Angeles tonight, Nashville tomorrow night and Dallas Saturday, and eighth place Columbus would have to lose to the Stars Thursday and the Predators Saturday. Added to that scenario, Dallas would have to win both games Thursday and Saturday against both Detroit and Columbus. And though attaching the word impossible to this string of events isn’t entirely accurate, tagging on highly improbable is.
San Jose tallied the first goal in the game with a goal by Raffi Torres while the Sharks were a minute into the team’s second power play of the game. Dallas held off a vicious onslaught just six minutes earlier when Tom Wandell headed to the penalty box because there were too many men on the ice. Despite being pelted with shots, both Lehtonen and the team’s defense held off the onslaught. Dallas’ Antoine Roussel returned the goal just two minutes later, closing out the period in a 1-1 tie.
Dallas scored the only goal of the second period with just 17 seconds gone from the clock. Loui Eriksson, who seemed to be stuck in a dry spell in goal-scoring, snuck the puck behind San Jose goalie Antti Niemi to put the Stars up 2-1.
The third period belonged to the Sharks, who scored two goals just 30 seconds apart. Joe Pavelski tied the game with a tip in with 14:23 remaining in the period. Logan Couture launched the winning goal past Lehtonen at 14:53.
Lehtonen faced 37 total shots in the game, while Dallas only sent 26 toward Niemi.
The Stars return home to close out the regular season at the American Airlines Center, and face the Columbus Blue Jackets Thursday night. The game starts at 7:30 p.m. and will be broadcast on Fox Sports Southwest Plus.