As someone who's been working for the Dallas Stars for the past 14 years, I would say Monday night's Playoff Series-clinching win at the AAC was an all-timer. Maybe not as dramatic as the quadruple OT win back in 2008, but certainly a close second.
The Dallas Stars knew how rare this opportunity was, heck (I just mentioned) they hadn't done it in over a decade. Could they clinch another playoff series on home ice? They knew It wouldn't be easy. The Nashville Predators are a seasoned team that had been in this spot before. You knew they were going to bring their best game of the Series. Most of the night they did, and it appeared as if either team could get a bounce, THE bounce, that could either send the Series back to Nashville for Game 7 or send the Stars faithful into ecstasy. I'm thrilled it was the latter.
Check out my Instagram story for my perspective from the entire game and scroll down to see the highlights.
It was another star-studded affair inside AAC. UFC fighter Chuck Liddell was on the glass, Dak Prescott and Zeke Elliott were back in a suite, and the great Troy Aikman was also spotted in the lower bowl cheering the Stars on to victory!
Once again, as they did in Game 5, the Nashville Predators scored the game's first goal. Austin Watson picked up a rebound for a slam-dunk giving the Preds a 1-0 lead after one period.
Then, as THEY did in Game 5, the Dallas Stars answered back, and this time it would be journeyman Blake Comeau, on a 3 on 1, finishing a sweet pass from Radek Faksa to tie the game 1-1 in the second period.
From then on it was a showcase of two of the best goalies in the NHL. Last year's Vezina Trophy winner in Pekka Rinne, and this year's Vezina nominee (and potential winner) Ben Bishop. The two stopped everything thrown their way and as time expired in the third period it seemed inevitable this game would go to overtime. In the OT both teams had chances to end it, but it was Stars' defenseman John Klingberg who found the puck on his stick with 3 minutes remaining in the extra session, and his wrister from the top of the circle somehow made its way to the back of the net.
Game over. Series over. You can watch all the highlights from OT below.
It's one of the greatest traditions in sports, the handshake line at the end of every Series. Win or lose, the two teams line up at center ice to shake hands as a show of good sportsmanship. Here's what it looked like from my vantage point as PA Announcer for the Stars.
It was a rowdy celebration inside the AAC and normally I’d mind someone throwing a beer on me at the end of a game, but ya know what, I’m compleeeeetley OK with it.
The Dallas Stars will now face the St Louis Blues in Round Two, and again, they'll start the Series on the road. Ironically, the Blues are the same team that knocked the Stars out of the Playoffs three seasons ago, in Game 7 of the Second Round. There aren't many players on the current Stars roster who were on that team, but Jamie Benn was there. His buddy Tyler Seguin missed that Series due to injury, so there are a few story lines already bubbling under. For now though, the Stars (and their fans) can enjoy this moment, at least for a few days until the next round of ice cream headaches starts up again.