Originally posted on Fox Sports Southwest  |  Last updated 4/26/13
With Thursday's 3-1 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets at American Airlines Center, it's now official. The Dallas Stars will be bystanders in the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs for a fifth straight season. Of course, the Stars' missing out on the postseason yet again likely means a number of offseason changes, which could include head coach Glen Gulutzan no longer being behind the bench, but more on that later. Like it is for any club who falls short of their goals andor expectations, there are always games during a season they'd like to have back. So here's a look at five such games from the Stars' truncated season. April 26-Jackets Blitz Stars to Remain Alive in Playoff Chase Let's start with Thursday's loss because it remains fresh in everyone's mind. Once again, a slow start set an unfavorable tone for Dallas on home ice as Columbus' Cam Atkinson scored off a rebound just 19 seconds in to give the visitors an early 1-0 lead. Of course, the Stars did tie it up midway through the second when Jamie Benn scored on the power play, but the Jackets responded with a strong third period, getting two unanswered, both coming with Columbus on the power play, to prevail 3-1. Of course, a bad start put the Stars behind the eight ball almost immediately and there is the thought that after Dallas learned during the second intermission that they had been officially eliminated from playoff contention thanks to Detroit beating Nashville 5-2 at Joe Louis Arena, that human nature took over and they delivered a less than inspiring showing in the final frame. But in a game featuring two teams headed in opposite directions, a Jackets team who found their groove down the stretch and a Stars team again limping to the finish, Columbus was just better, plain and simple, a storyline that unfortunately Dallas was on the short end of for much of the 2012-13 campaign. April 23-Two Sharks' Goals in 30 Seconds Doom Stars in 3-2 Loss at Shark Tank If there was a catastrophic moment to this season, it might have come on April 23 at HP Pavilion in San Jose. The Sharks, who were looking to clinch a playoff spot, struck first when Raffi Torres scored at 12:53 of the first period. But Dallas answered less than two minutes later when Antoine Roussel made it a 1-1 game, which was the score after one. A power play tally by Loui Eriksson just 17 seconds into the middle frame gave Dallas a 2-1 lead and despite Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen seemingly being under siege all night, there was some serious thought that Dallas would be able to hold on for the win. After all, the Stars had the Sharks' number for most of the regular season and had also been a solid team away from home. However, those hopes were all dashed when San Jose lit the lamp twice within a 30-second span in the third, with Joe Pavelski and Logan Couture doing the damage as the Sharks held on for a 3-2 win to clinch a playoff berth and send the Stars spiraling toward elimination. April 21-Stars Drop Tough One at Staples Center, Fall 4-3 in OT to Kings A Mike Richards shot deflected off the upper body of teammate Jeff Carter with 51 seconds left in overtime and the Stars were forced to settle for just one point in a tough 4-3 loss to the defending champion Kings at Staples Center. Dallas trailed 1-0 after one thanks to a goal by Richards. And Dustin Brown made it a 2-0 lead for the home team early in the second but goals by Eriksson and Roussel made it a 2-2 affair at the second intermission. Dallas then went ahead 3-2 when Alex Goligoski scored early in the third, but Brown then netted his second of the game with 2:59 remaining with the Kings on the power play to force the extra frame. Carter was then credited with the game-winner after a shot by Richards from the left side glanced off his upper body and in for the goal. The Stars were in desperate need of two points after dropping the first game of their most important road trip of the year two nights prior in St. Louis, but just fell short in the City of Angels. March 31-Kings Finish Back-to-Back with 3-2 Win at AAC The defending Stanley Cup champion Kings jumped on the Stars early, taking a 1-0 lead just 25 seconds in when Carter found the back of the net at the AAC. Benn drew the game level in the second. But LA then got goals from Brad Richardson, his first in over a year, and Justin Williams just 1:09 apart early in the third with Williams' tally being the eventual game-winner. A power play goal by the Stars Ray Whitney made it 3-2, but Dallas was unable to find the equalizer and Darryl Sutter's Kings left town with two points, just one night after losing 4-3 to the Wild at Xcel Energy Center. In a game where the Stars figured to be the fresher club by not being on the second night of the back-to-back, it was LA who delivered the better performance, another disappointing showing by Dallas on home ice. Feb. 17-Blown Lead after Two Results in 4-3 Loss to Flames Sure, the loss to Calgary on Feb. 17 came just under a month into the schedule, but in a game where the Stars trailed 1-0 after one thanks to a first-period power play goal by Calgary's Michael Cammalleri, Dallas responded in the second with three unanswered, getting goals from Roussel, Reilly Smith and Ryan Garbutt to seemingly be in a great spot ahead 3-1 after 40 minutes of play. However, a disastrous performance in the final frame, which saw the Flames score three unanswered and leave town with two points was disconcerting to say the least. Roman Horak's goal 1:39 into the third made it 3-2 and Matt Stajan's goal just 1:15 later tied it up. Calgary then got the eventual game-winner from Steve Begin midway through the period and then hung on for a huge win. The Stars had some momentum heading into this game after taking two of three during a road swing through Western Canada and Gulutzan talked about his team making hay at home. But this performance, at least in the third, might have showed just how flawed this Stars team truly was.
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