Hockey fans rejoice as the time of year approaches when the last two teams battle it out for hockey’s ultimate crown.
The Edmonton Oilers and Florida Panthers are the final two teams vying for the Stanley Cup in 2024.

The bronze medal goes to the Dallas Stars as their season ends in Game 6 at the hands of the Oilers. The post-mortem for the 2023-2024 Stars is now necessary. This playoff loss cuts deep with hopes of progressing further, but falling short again leaves unanswered questions about the future.

Joe Pavelski possibly played his last game in Game 6 after a tremendous career. There is also hope for the future as the Stars look forward to next season.

Game 6

Playing hockey in June is something every team can look forward to. The Stars faced elimination after dropping Game 5 at home. Hopes of forcing Game 7 quickly fell down the tubes after the Oilers got on the board with two powerplay goals to take a 2-0 lead. The Stars fought hard but could get nothing past Stuart Skinner. Mason Marchment gave hope to a desperate fanbase on a goal with 10:42 in the first. Desperation crept in, but Marchment’s goal ended up being the last in a frustrating series for the Stars.

The Oilers set an NHL record for fewest shots on goal in a playoff victory. Stars players controlled the tempo throughout the entire game, outshooting the Oilers 35-10. A number like that is unfathomable on a deep Stars team, but they could not match the scoreboard, resulting in their elimination.

What Went Wrong

Finishing with 10 wins is the same result as last year, but this time around, it feels more desolate. Stars fans held high hopes that the potential of this team being the best is a solid possibility. Falling short of the ultimate goal stings in the way they fell. The ultimate downfall ended up being the powerplay. Special teams are a big factor in a playoff series. The Stars’ powerplay percentage ended in the high 20% range during the first two rounds. Stuart Skinner and the Oilers penalty kill boasted a perfect record over the Western Conference Final.

The Stars could not get a puck past Skinner on the powerplay throughout the entire series. A preview of worse things to come was displayed in overtime of Game 1 when Connor McDavid took a double minor for high-sticking. The Stars could not score the overtime winner in 4:00 of powerplay time, and then McDavid ended it later. The Oilers powerplay became an unstoppable force, scoring at will. The season is now over, with nothing but looking forward to the next season left.

Looking Ahead

The Stars left everything on the ice. The clock on the season ran out despite outshooting the Oilers 35-10. If the special teams were a little better, then Dallas would host Game 7 at home on Tuesday night. This is a frustrating series loss for a promising team. Hope for the future after a playoff loss is a must. Wyatt Johnston emerged as a potential superstar going forward. He tied the team lead with playoff points and led with 10 goals.

The Stars have shy of $16 million in cap space going into next season. Notable pending free agents are Matt Duchene, Joe Pavelski, and Chris Tanev. Most of the core players are already locked up for next season. There is hope for the future as the Stars look to summit the mountain.

The End of Pavelski?

This loss stings even more because it probably is the last game of Joe Pavelski’s career. This man is the true embodiment of hockey. Seeing him win one Stanley Cup is the cementing legacy of his career. He didn’t get one on potentially his final season in an illustrious career. He gave it everything, especially in the final stages.

Wyatt Johnston and Logan Stankoven lived in his house when they joined the Stars. His leadership will continue to influence this team long after he leaves. Stars fans owe many thanks to an incredible legend.

This loss hurts on a season that looked like the one to end it all. Twenty-five years without a Stanley Cup is a long time to go without one.
The window is still wide open and will continue to stay open for years to come.

PHOTO: Dallas Stars

Leave Your Thoughts!

Check Also

Stars Add 2024 Playoff Loss to Their List of Many Others

Plenty of great teams cement the hockey culture of the Dallas Stars. 1999 is the year of t…