Just about halfway through the Sunday matinee game, it looked as though it was the Stars’ game to lose. And they followed suit.
After early goals by Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin, the Stars managed to hand over 3 and end the road trip with a pathetic loss. After Seguin’s early power play goal in the second, Roberto Luongo turned his game around and ended stopping 35 of the Stars’ 37 shots. Lehtonen finished with an average game stopping 21 of 24. Finding themselves in a hole early in the second, Florida stepped up and gained tallies from Scottie Upshall, Brandon Pirri, and the game-winner from a tip in off Sean Bergenheim’s stick with jus tover 4:00 left in the third.
This game was coming off the heels of Dallas’ 5-2 victory against Tampa Bay Saturday evening. This game had many Dallas Stars fans taking notice and believing that if they were able to blister the 3rd place team in the Atlantic Division, maybe the 5 year absence of a ‘Stanley Cup Playoffs’ logo on the AAC ‘s ice would be over. But Florida was ready to play spoiler.
This game sets an interesting final week of the regular season into play. There are essentially 2 teams in the running for the last wild-card spot in the Western Conference, one being Dallas and the other being Phoenix. Both teams have four games remaining and look down the barrel of a rather difficult schedule. Dallas holds a narrow one point lead and the tie-break against Phoenix but finds itself in a bind when looking at the upcoming week. They receive one day of rest and then hit the ice Tuesday night at the AAC against the always unpredictable Nashville Predators. Less than 24 hours later they will welcome the Columbus Blue Jackets into town and find themselves in a 1-0 hole at the beginning of the game due to the rescheduling of the March 10 game after the collapse of Rich Peverley. They will the receive a 1 day break and lace up once again against the St. Louis Blues, a team they beat a week ago that will be looking for revenge (oh and did I mention they currently sit first place in the West?). And after all that they will fly to Phoenix to face off Sunday night in what very well may be a win-and-in situation for both teams.
Phoenix faces a rather similar schedule in which they will meet up with the Columbus Blue Jackets the day before the Stars as well as the Nashville Predators Thursday night. They will then prepare to take on the powerhouse that is the San Jose Sharks and then wait 24 hours to take on a playoff hungry Stars team in the season finale.
Nevertheless, this week will be very interesting for both fan bases as well as for the entire NHL. Hold your breath Stars fans, it’s about to get crazy.