Despite a miserable stretch in March, the Dallas Stars had battled back to control their destiny on the afternoon of the last day of the season. They only needed a win against the lottery bound Minnesota Wild, who had lost five of their last six at home, to qualify for the playoffs.
Mission Failed. After a bouncing back from a 1-0 deficit to lead 2-1 after a period, the Stars were overwhelmed in the second by a more aggressive Wild club who had nothing to play for. The Wild scored twice to take the lead and saw the game tied on a Brenden Morrow goal just before the second intermission.
Dallas took the ice in the third period knowing that they had 20-25 minutes to save their season and had the better of play, but Anti Miettinen’s slam dunk gave Minnesota a lead that they would not surrender at the 6:47 mark. With Kari Lehtonen on the bench for an extra attacker, Pierre-Marc Bouchard scored into an empty net with 13 seconds remaining to ice the game and effectively end the Stars’ season.
As a result of the Stars’ loss, the Blackhawks won the eighth seed in the West and will face the Vancouver Canucks in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.