What a beautiful night to be a Stars fan.
It’s truly a storybook ending to their playoff quest if you think about it. The Stars clinched their first playoff berth since 2008:
- on Jim Nill’s birthday
- playing Ken Hitchcock, the coach of our only Stanley Cup-winning team
- coached by Lindy Ruff, the opposing coach of that Stanley Cup team
- against Lindy’s former goalie, Ryan Miller
- to eliminate Dave Tippett’s Phoenix Coyotes, finally exorcising those Tippett demons
- with a game-winner scored by Trevor Daley, the only remaining member of the last Stars playoff team
- on Fan Appreciation Night, where the biggest show of appreciation was to clinch on home ice
After so many years of falling short in the final games of their playoff push, the Stars finally finished. I’ve been a Stars fan my whole life (literally–the North Stars skated South the year before I was born), but few seasons have been as rewarding as this one has.
There was so much about the night:
- Trevor Daley, Trevor Daley, Trevor Daley. Dales had a monster night, scoring the game-winner, factoring in the second goal, and logging over 28 minutes of ice time for a depleted defense corps. You get the sense that perhaps no one wanted that playoff berth as much as Daley, the longest-tenured Dallas Star who has been here for the past 5 (frustrating) seasons. The “A” he wore on his chest was incredibly deserved.
- A characteristic of those disappointing Stars teams of the past few years has been the inability to take advantage of a vulnerable team when they needed to. When the first period ended with a score of 0-0, I worried that the Stars wouldn’t be able to jump on the considerably weak Blues (missing a ton of key players and coming off a rough game against Minny the night before) but they proved me wrong in the second period. That second frame has been troublesome for the Stars this year, but they exorcised that demon if only for a night. By the end of the game, the Blues looked like they just wanted to crawl into a hole and die and the Stars have seldom looked better.
- Tyler Seguin for the Hart. Man, has he come a long way. The Bruins’ problem child who had to be guarded in his hotel room (lololol right) has been key in the Stars’ reaching the postseason. As crazy and emotional as the trade was when it happened, I will never be able to thank Jim Nill enough for having the balls to make it. Yeah, Sidney Crosby’s probably got the Hart locked up, but it’s easy to make the case that no other player has been as important to his team as Tyler Seguin. The Stars aren’t in the playoffs if Tyler Seguin isn’t here.
- Lindy Ruff is just the best. He spoke for us all last night when he said, “I am so damn happy.” He even cracked a smile 🙂
- It was also great to see Rich Peverley down on the bench celebrating with his team. I’m not going to say that they “won it for Pevs” (they won it for themselves, the fans, everybody as much as they won it for Pevs) but playing for their fallen teammate has been a great motivator and a great story for this amazing season.
Now, I don’t want to say i’m a prophet, buuuuuuut…I totally called this:
And two other tweets from the night that made me smile:
Like Lumbus, we’re underdogs and underdogs have to have each other’s backs.
But I think Brenden Dillon summed it up best…
I’m so proud. So proud.
Now the Stars can relax a little bit and Lindy can rest a few guys (cough, Val, Kari, and the defense, cough) since the Phoenix game doesn’t matter anymore. Still, it will be an interesting one. They await their playoff foe, which will most likely be St. Louis, Colorado, or Anaheim. Personally, I’m pulling for Anaheim. That’s always a fun matchup.
Thank you, Stars. I can’t wait for the season to continue.