I’d like to take a second and thank Joe Nieuwendyk for doing two things.
First for trading for defenseman Alex Goligoski, who has come in and had an immediate impact on both ends of the ice.
Second, for not trading Brad Richards and effectively ending this season.
Granted, the latter is a very risky move.
Because Richards becomes a free agent on July 1, the Stars passed up an opportunity to get something in return for the superstar in order to try to win this year. I
t’s pretty apparent at this point that if the ownership situation is still up in the air when Richards’s contract is up, it is highly unlikely that he will sign a long-term contract with Dallas.
But that is neither here nor there, for now.
Instead let’s focus on the Stars three game winning streak. A streak that has kept their playoff hopes alive, after a horrendous stretch from January 21 to February 22 saw them lose 11 of 13 games and plummet from 3rd in the Western Conference to tied for 9th.
Currently the Stars sit in 6th place with 74 points, tied with Chicago (7th) and Los Angeles (8th).
The Stars know they need to keep winning, and last night shows that their heads are finally in the right place.
With the Stars leading the Phoenix Coyotes 2-0 late in the 3rd period, it looked like the Stars had their third consecutive win locked up.
But two late goals by Phoenix, the second coming with just 37 seconds left in the game, tied the game. It looked as if Phoenix was going to pull out at least one point and potentially expand their points lead over the Stars.
The Stars could have rolled over. They could have just played for overtime and hoped to pull out the win.
Instead, Mike Ribeiro made a push towards the net with 13 seconds left and drew a hooking penalty.
The Stars won the ensuing faceoff, and with 4.8 seconds left Loui Eriksson feeds Jamie Benn with a beautiful pass, and Benn planted it in the back of the net to reclaim the lead, and seal the win.
Now, with 19 games to play (10 against division rivals), the Stars have their sights set on righting the ship and making a run in the playoffs.
With Brad Richards set to return on Friday the Stars will again be at full strength, and we saw how that went at the beginning of the year.
Let’s hope for more of the same.