The Dallas Stars needed a win in regulation or overtime Sunday evening to secure a playoff spot but came up short, falling 5-3 to the Minnesota Wild. The Stars’ loss means that Chicago, which lost earlier in the day to Detroit, will get the eighth seed in the Western Conference and take on the Vancouver Canucks in the first round of the playoffs. Brad Richards, Brenden Morrow and Alex Goligoski scored goals for the Stars. Loui Eriksson had three assists. Kari Lehtonen stopped 18 of 22 shots.
“We just didn’t get it done. It wasn’t for a lack of effort. They tried their tails off tonight. Could list of a bevy of injuries our guys have played through. We have Adam Burish playing with a broken leg and Brenden Morrow hasn’t practiced in the last month-and-a-half. Yet, they come in and find ways to play. We lost [Toby] Petersen in the second period, that was a pretty siginicant loss for us. In the end, I am really proud of these guys. They just battled their tails off.” - Stars coach Marc Crawford
“In the afternoon game, Chicago lost and it was up to us. It was up to the players in his dressing room to win that game and we just couldn’t close the deal.” –Stars defenseman Stephane Robidas
“We put too much pressure on ourselves to be perfect at the end. We had no room for error and we handled it pretty well, I thought. We were written off many times and the ultimate thing is we win today and were in and we didn’t do it.” – Stars center Brad Richards
“For me personally, being on the ice for that goal (Antti Miettinen’s game-winner) and letting the guy come backdoor behind me, that’s something that is going to be in the back of my mind the whole summer. … There are going to be some what ifs down the stretch on, our homestand or early in the season. You are going to question yourself and what you could have done. It’s been a couple years of this. Keep saying the same thing. We’re going to use it as motivation. Go back, prepare and get ready for another grind.” – Stars captain Brenden Morrow.
The Wild made a strong push early but Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen came up big, including a nice sliding save on backhand attempt by Wild forward Matt Cullen.
The Wild opened the scoring at the 6:05 mark when Brad Staubitz scored off the rebound of a Brent Burns shot to give Minnesota a 1-0 lead.
The Stars came close to tying the game on their first power play chance, but a Stephane Robidas shot hit the post.
The Stars finally got the equalizer when Jamie Benn blocked a shot, setting up an odd-man rush that Brad Richards finished off with a one-timer after taking a pass from Loui Eriksson at the 12:28 mark.
The Stars took a 2-1 lead on their second power play chance of the game when Eriksson’s shot from the right circle deflected off Brenden Morrow and past Wild goalie Jose Theodore with 3:53 left in the period
The Stars went with the same lineup in the game. Krys Barch, Brad Lukowich, Tomas Vincour, Nicklas Grossman and Brian Sutherby were the players listed as scratches.
The Wild tied the game at 7:19 of the second by taking advantage of their first power play chance of the game. Andrew Brunette sent a pass from behind the goal line to defenseman Jared Spurgeon, who scored from the right faceoff circle.
The Wild took the lead at the 8:07 mark when Chuck Kobasew centered the puck from the left boards and Colton Gillies scored off a spinning backhand to put the Wild ahead 3-2.
The Stars drew even late in the period when they went on a five-on-three power play for 1:39. The first penalty was on Gillies, who threw Stars defenseman Jeff Woywitka into Kari Lehtonen and then Wild defenseman Greg Zanon tossed the puck over the glass for a delay of game penalty.
The Stars scored 19 seconds after Zanon went into the box when defenseman Alex Goligoski scored off a blast from the high slot with 1:43 left in the period.
The Stars had a power play chance early in the third and Richards hit a crossbar and that was as close as Dallas came.
The Wild got their second power play chance of the game, couldn’t take advantage but not long after it expired they did score to take a 4-3 lead. Brunette set up Antti Miettinen, who put it into the open side of the net from close range with 13:13 left in the game.
The Stars pulled Lehtonen with just over 1:20 to go and the Wild sealed the win when Pierre-Marc Bouchard scored into an empty net with 12.1 seconds to go to make it a 5-3 final.