Dallas Stars attained elusive playoff success one year ago this week

DALLAS, TEXAS - APRIL 22: The Dallas Stars (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
DALLAS, TEXAS - APRIL 22: The Dallas Stars (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /

A year ago this Wednesday, the Dallas Stars did something they haven’t done a lot of in the past twelve years–win a playoff series.

Under any normal circumstance, I’d be firmly ensconced in my favorite time of the sports year: the Stanley Cup playoffs. Of course, the past month and change has been anything but normal. So when the NHL halted play on March 12th, the Dallas Stars, despite being mired in a six-game losing streak at the time, were still in good stead in terms of making this year’s postseason tournament.

Needless to say, there isn’t going to be hockey–or any sport for that matter–any time soon. It’s kind of a shame, really. The Stars were gunning for consecutive playoff appearances for the first time since the 2007 and 2008 postseasons. We may never know if this year’s bunch could have righted the ship and remained in qualification.

But the point of today’s exercise is to reflect on what happened a year ago this week. This coming Wednesday, April 22nd, marks the one-year anniversary of the Stars beating the Nashville Predators in overtime of Game 6, thus catapulting them to the next round. This also marked only the second time they would advance to the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs in the past eleven seasons.

Last year’s team really came together after the calendar flipped to 2019. So by the time the playoffs rolled around, the Stars were surging. They promptly stole home ice in a 3-2 win in Nashville on April 10th. But they turned around and gave it right back by dropping the next two games to fall to a 2-1 series deficit. No problem. The Stars managed to erupt for ten goals in the next two games to take a 3-2 lead back to Dallas with a shot to win in front of the fans at home.

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I watched every second of this game live, but I still forgot how many chances the Predators had to win this one and force a Game 7 back in Nashville. It goes without saying, but the Stars don’t win Game 6 without the goaltending they received from Ben Bishop. Time and again, he stymied a desperate Preds squad bent on extending their season. See for yourself. This game highlights video does an excellent job of conveying the spectacle of an elimination game. Even though I knew the outcome, I was still tense re-watching it. The tension of playoff hockey was in sharp focus that night. It’s a reminder of how you sit on the edge of your seat and wait for commercials for restroom breaks. You don’t want to miss a thing.

The winning goal was a thing of beauty. Center Tyler Seguin took the offensive zone with speed. He dropped the puck to right winger Alexander Radulov in the right-hand circle. Radulov then fed a nifty pass to defenseman John Klingberg just above the left dot. Klingberg’s shot found twine in the upper right portion of the net. Bedlam ensued. Stars’ color analyst Daryl “Razor” Reaugh referred to it as “a full detonation in OT”. It was a perfect description of the crowd’s reaction. The faithful in attendance that evening exploded in unison.

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There’s nothing like seeing your hockey team win a series at home. Better yet, there’s nothing like seeing your hockey team win a series at home in overtime. In fact, it was the first time the Stars had pulled off both feats since their magical run to the 2008 Western Conference Finals. Nevertheless, that golden goal by Klingberg in the waning stages of overtime simply drove home the magnificence of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.