The Minnesota Wild played pulled off a 5-3 win over the Dallas Stars in the NHL’s final game of the season, providing all the assistance the Chicago Blackhawks required in order to try and defend the Stanley Cup.
Playing the role of ‘spoiler’ should hardly be considered an expedient way to end a season, but it probably provides more gratification than whatever the Dallas Stars are feeling right now. As one team pulls the plug on another’s season, the benefactor of Minnesota’s season ending upset will sleep easy tonight knowing that they’ll live to fight another postseason. Like the 2010 Philadelphia Flyers or the 2006 Edmonton Oilers showed – it doesn’t matter how you get there, it’s how you perform in the postseason that matters.
With that, the second season’s field of 16 is set. Repeating as Stanley Cup Champion ain’t exactly what it used to be, and this time around Chicago will have to start from the bottom. Fittingly, they’ll match up against a postseason rival in the Vancouver Canucks in the first round. The Presidents’ Trophy winning Canucks will look to avoid a third consecutive playoff dismissing at the hands of the Blackhawks.
Hats off to the Dallas Stars for staying in it until the final 60 minutes, but it’s about the teams that have made it now. This is what we endure 2400+ regular season games for: the playoffs. I doubt I’m speaking for only myself when I say “it’s about time”.