It’s been a week since the No. 9 was raised into the rafters of the American Airlines Center. It was an emotional night for the entire Dallas Stars‘ organization as they honored the career of Mike Modano. The game that night was against the Minnesota Wild, adding to the significance of the day. But the mood of the night was dimmed when goaltender Kari Lehtonen was injured in the third period.
That roller coaster of emotions became the theme for the rest of that night and on through the past week. After a five-minute penalty was assessed to Wild center Erik Haula for a hit on Lehtonen, Tyler Seguin evened up the score at 3-3. Seguin has absolutely blossomed as a Dallas Star. Riding the emotion of his teammate’s injury, Erik Cole shot in the game-winning goal. It was a big, emotional win.
Two nights later, Rich Peverly collapsed on the Stars bench just under seven minutes into a game against the Columbus Blue Jackets. It was a tense moment that resonated throughout the NHL as everyone waited for word on Peverly’s condition. The Stars and Blue Jackets, understandably, were shaken and the decision was made to postpone the game. The Stars lose a versatile winger as Peverly was understandably shut down for the remainder of the season.
That night, the Dallas Stars could have let the events of the past few days derail the recent success they’d been having. It’s the sort of moment where a team has to decide that nothing is going to stop them. And the very next night, the Stars pulled off an impressive win over the streaking-hot St. Louis Blues. Adversity knocked at the Stars’ door, and Dallas said, “No thank you.”
Maybe it was the emotion of the week finally getting to the Stars, but a melt down and good goaltending from the opposing team led the Stars to drop a game 4-3 to the Calgary Flames in overtime. It’s a point that the Stars needed to keep their grip on the eighth spot firm. It’s a loss that threatens to once again change the game for Dallas.
The Stars have the same two options that they’ve had all season: they can roll over when things get tough or they can use the emotion to move forward. The history of all the troubles within the Stars’ organization compounds the drama that is unfolding in the Western Conference.
A huge push to the end of the season is going to be needed, but for the Dallas Stars, the payoff is Texas-sized. A trip to the playoffs would legitimize all of the efforts of the men wearing victory green.
No matter what happens from now until the end of the season, one thing is true: watching the Stars has become a whole lot more interesting.