A disappointing 3-1 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets means
the Dallas Stars have failed to make the playoffs for the fifth consecutive season.
It couldn’t have been a worse start for Dallas, as Columbus got on the scoreboard with just 19 seconds on the clock. Cam Atkinson took advantage of some poor defending and slammed home a rebound from close range.
In a period that seriously lacked any offense for the Stars, Eric Nystrom provided the only bright spark as he and Dalton Prout dropped the gloves in an impressive tilt midway through the frame.
Despite a late period surge form Dallas, the first period finished with the Blue Jackets leading 1-0. Columbus also lead in shots 13-9, with Kari Lehtonen playing well to keep the Stars within a goal.
Both teams exchanged decent chances early in the second, but both goaltenders stood strong.
The Stars went on the powerplay midway through the period and took advantage of having the extra man on ice when Jamie Benn tallyied his 12th of the season. He received a lovely pass from Erik Cole, and comfortably scored past Bobrovsky.
The second frame was a physical one, with both teams throwing big hits as well as a second fight of the game, this time between Lane Macdermid and Jared Boll. Dallas lead the shots 15-10 but the score was nicely poised at 1-1 heading into the final period.
Both teams knew scoring the first goal in that final frame would be a massive advantage. It was Columbus who did just that, with Mark Letestu firing an impressive slapshot past Kari Lehtonen on the powerplay.
With just under two minutes left in the game, the Blue Jackets sealed the two points when Cam Atkinson bagged his second goal of the night in similar fashion to his first.
It is obviously disappointing that playoff hockey will not be coming to Dallas again this season. However, seeing as the Stars lost a lot of their offense at the trade deadline, credit has to be given to Dallas for keeping even the most unlikely playoff chances alive until the penultimate game of the season. This young group has a lot of passion and desire, so hopefully a better 2013/14 campaign looms.
The final game of the season for Dallas is on Saturday night when they host the Detroit Red Wings. With a victory, the Stars could prevent their rivals from making the post season.