Hurricanes, Stars Miss Postseason in Final Game
Two teams. Two different conferences. But the list of similarities are endless.
The Carolina Hurricanes and Dallas Stars each had destiny in their own hands. Each needed to win to make the eighth and final spot in the Eastern and Western Conference playoffs. Each team came in on their very last game playing some of their best hockey of the season to get into the position of playing their way in.
However, both teams were sent home for the summer.
The Hurricanes, having the season tie-breaker over the New York Rangers, watched as the Rangers beat the New Jersey Devils 5-2 to put themselves in the position of the last spot in the Eastern Conference. So with the Rangers ahead in the standings by two points, the Hurricanes had the best situation: a playoff-like atmosphere at home against their Southeast Division rival Tampa Bay Lightning. With the Lightning already in the playoffs with the fifth spot in the Eastern Conference locked up, and with Carolina playing well. It appeared the perfect situation for them to sneak into the playoffs and get a first round matchup with the Washington Capitals.
The Lightning had other ideas.
With three goals in the first period alone, Tampa Bay stormed in and shut down Carolina's party before it even began. By the end of the game, the score was 6-2, and instead of the Southern tradition of "hockey tailgating" in the Carolinas, the New York Rangers will take on the Capitals, a team that they dominated in the regular season, winning three of the four games in the regular season series (two of the wins by a score of 7-0 and 6-0).
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Meanwhile, while the Hurricanes had a golden opportunity on Saturday night, on Sunday night, the Dallas Stars had to hit the road to Minnesota in the very last game of the regular season in the NHL. The Stars, like the Hurricanes had a chance to win after the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks lost to the Detroit Red Wings 4-3 earlier in the day. However, their opponent, the Minnesota Wild, did not lay down and were determined to end their season on a winning note. With a 5-3 win over the former Minnesota team, the Stars were heading South for the summer, and the Blackhawks are on their way to a first-round matchup with the Vancouver Canucks with the chance to defend their Stanley Cup championship.