The Dallas Stars were cruising into the second round, dominating their slumbering opponent, when the Minnesota Wild jolted awake.
Minnesota's remarkable rally ended a fraction of an inch short, a fitting metaphor for an intensely up-and-down season. Dallas advanced in the playoffs for the first time in eight years, extracting some valuable experience from a nerve-racking finish.
Jason Spezza scored his fourth goal of the series and added three assists, and goalie Kari Lehtonen and the Stars needed every last one of them to hold off the Wild 5-4 on Sunday and wrap up the first-round series in six games.
"A lot of respect for what Minnesota can do on their...