National championship hangovers can be bitter, but they don’t last forever.
The Dallas Stars have had a great run since winning the Stanley Cup, so they know the importance of staying focused, and their success on the ice means they can focus on winning on the hockey court.
That’s exactly what the Stars have done during the past few months.
The team has won five straight, including a 6-0 victory over the New York Rangers in their first-round playoff series.
This is the first time since 2005-06 that the Stars haven’t won a playoff series in which they’re tied with the Pittsburgh Penguins, who also won the Cup that season.
This year, the Stars were a perfect 1-0 in those series, winning 3-2 in Game 7 at American Airlines Center.
“It’s a really cool thing to be able to be a part of this,” Stars captain Jamie Benn said after the game.
“To win a Cup is a lot more than just having a championship.”
The Stars also won their first ever Stanley Cup championship last year, beating the Vancouver Canucks in seven games at American Memorial Arena in Boston.
Stars captain Tyler Seguin, who was the MVP of that series, was a fan favorite during the playoffs.
“I remember the first playoff game,” Seguins teammate Alexander Radulov said after Sunday’s victory.
“When I was getting to the bench, I remember saying, ‘Hey, Tyler, it’s my turn, let’s do it.’
I mean, you’re a superstar and I was just a guy trying to play my game.”
Benn said the team has to make sure the Stars are focused.
“You gotta be focused on winning every single game,” Benn said.
“The one thing I’ve always said, even when I was playing and I wasn’t scoring goals, I was doing it for the team.
I’ve been doing it this year for the entire season, and I’ve gotta keep that mindset.
I don’t want to get in a bad mood.”
After winning four straight in December, the Dallas fans in the building at American Arena are excited for the start of the playoffs and looking forward to getting there.
“We all love it, the fans,” Stars center Tyler Sejour said.
“[They] want to be in that room, and they want to win that game, so it’s fun to watch.”
Stars forward Jason Spezza said he’s excited to be part of the team’s winning ways.
“Obviously, I want to help this team win as much as possible,” Spezza told the Dallas Morning News.
“I know we have a lot of talent, and we’ve just got to get back to winning.