Ooof, Stars, That'll Leave a MarkS

The NHL Closer is written by five checking-line centers from Melt Your Face Off. When we're not receiving praise for our work ethic, we're taking shots to kill the pain from blocking shots. Raskolnikov momentarily stopped playing along the boards to write this recap.

Grinders do so much good for our everyday life. They fill our stomachs, pulverize coffee beans, collect hashish powder and score goals in the most painful way possible outside of listening to Sean Avery whine about his mascara. Kris Draper scored his third goal of the playoffs 3:45 into the first period by using an archaic weapon: his chin. The mandible tally launched a three goal Detroit outburst in the period, leading to a 4-1 Red Wings victory and a Stanley Cup Finals appearance.

The aforementioned goal demonstrated the chaotic nature of hockey. Dallas Drake chugged along the left-wing boards, looking for a chance to center the puck. On the other side of the ice, Draper criss-crossed with Mikael Samuelsson and stopped at the right side of the net. Drake passed the puck to Draper, who furiously swiped at it with his stick. In the ensuing scramble with Marty Turco, the puck quickly elevated and, possessed by the spirit of Claude Lemieux, ricocheted off Draper's chin and over the goal line. Draper was not on the ice to see the officials confirm the goal; he had already headed to the dressing room to fix his lip. That is the essence of a grinder.

Drake, another grinder, also added the third goal of the first period. Brett Lebda entered the Stars zone on the right side with Sergei Zubov defending, while Drake stopped in front of the Dallas crease. Instead of covering the front of the net, Nick Grossman inexplicably followed Lebda behind the net. The young Detroit defenseman flipped a backhand pass out front to Drake, who whacked the puck past Turco.

Just in case you think we're biased towards grit, we'll mention some stars' accomplishments. Pavel Datsyuk added a power play goal in between Draper's and Drake's tallies. Henrik Zetterberg picked off a lazy pass by Brenden Morrow and deked Turco out of his pads to expand the lead to four in the second period. The Stars only bothered to show some effort in the third period when the game was already out of reach. Stephane Robidas' power play one-timer negated Chris Osgood's shutout.

Dallas impressed the viewing audience in a fashion similar of the Philadelphia Flyers. They soundly walloped the passive Ducks, last year's Stanley Cup champions, and the apathetic Sharks. Turco silenced the rest of his critics with a solid postseason, and he will return next year with Morrow, Zubov, Mike Ribiero, and others as a playoff contender.

Puckdump

A James Mirtle and Greg Wyshynski discussion about the state of hockey blogging? Its as if I died and went to Saskatoon. [James Mirtle]

The NHL rooted for Pittsburgh … [Awful Announcing]

… while Versus wanted the Flyers to win. [Doubt About It]

Although Daryl "Razor" Reaugh's team is no longer playing this postseason, we'll always have this commercial hilarious commercial. Fun fact: the bra with "Mike" written on it belongs to Keith Tkachuk.