Tuesday night's game against the Anaheim Ducks was an interesting one to watch.
Especially if one can enjoy playoff-type hockey in mid-January, as well as a Dallas Stars team that at times looked like the successful playoff teams of the past.
Sure, the score made the game appear significantly more one-sided than it truly was.
But the Stars dominated the pace of the game for the first two periods, while Anaheim took over the scoreboard with some lucky breaks. The game had a playoff feel from the opening drop of the puck, and that feeling lingered after a quick and lucky goal by Anaheim's Saku Koivu.
Anaheim took a 2-0 lead off an impressive missed-icing-call goal by Luca Sbisa. The officials either saw something I didn't, missed something or forgot how to operate whistles on the play. Whichever it was, the good luck for the Ducks continued.
The Stars out-checked, out-skated and out-shot the Ducks for the first 40 minutes of the game, and in the first three minutes of the third, Dallas's luck finally changed when the Stars were able to tie the game after two quick goals by Steve Ott and Alex Goligoski.
After another seven minutes of hard-fought hockey and an even score, the Ducks' Saku Koivu drilled home the go-ahead goal with help from Finnish friend Teemu Selanne.
From there, it was all the Ducks' game, as Matt Beleskey capitalized on a huge kick-save rebound off of Stars' goaltender Kari Lehtonen.
In the final minutes of the game, the Stars pulled Lehtonen for the extra attacker. Anaheim's Saku Koivu added salt to the Dallas wound with his hat-trick empty-net goal, leaving the Stars to stare at a 5-2 road loss.
For the Stars to rebound against the Kings, they need to keep the same tempo and drive for the puck that they had against Anaheim. That will be no easy feat after a disappointing loss like the one suffered against the Ducks, however.
To stay afloat and remain a threat in the Pacific Division, the Stars need to at least get to overtime and earn one point from the Los Angeles game.
Even sweeter, though, a win would tie the Stars for first place in the Pacific with the Kings.
Ken Armer is a former Bleacher Report Community Leader and Featured Columnist for the Dallas Stars. After a long hiatus and time spent covering NASCAR his passion, Dallas Stars hockey.
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