Stars Lose What Felt Like a Playoff Game to Dastardly Ducks

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If the Dallas Stars wind up missing the NHL playoffs they'll have a crazy bounce and crotch-kick, 4-3, loss on March 23 to blame.

I don't watch a lot of hockey but last night's tilt had a post-season atmosphere at American Airlines Center. The Stars were seconds away -- literally -- from a big victory over the Anaheim Ducks, one of the many teams sprinting for the 8th and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Trevor Daley's rebound goal gave Dallas a 3-2 lead with 6:39 remaining and it appeared the Stars were going to milk that lead to a crucial couple of points.

Until ...

The Ducks caught a remarkable break when a puck headed in the general direction of a referee in the corner and somehow landed right on the tape of Saku Koivu's stick. His shot carmoned off goalie Kari Lehtonen, and Teemu Selanne put home the easy rebound with a heart-breaking 5.4 seconds left in regulation.

Just 1:42 into overtime, Cam Fowler scored off a 2-on-1 rush, leaving the deflated Stars one point behind the Ducks for 8th place with nine games remaining. The West is so tight, however, that the Stars are also only two points out of fifth place.

Every time about this year, I start watching hockey. And each spring I'm amazed at -- more than any other sport -- how many tight, tense games are decided on loose, flukey goals.

The Stars were the best team Wednesday night. But also the unluckiest.

That's the way hockey go?

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