COYOTES VS. STARS
APRIL 4, 2017:
This game, played with less than a week left in the season and featuring two teams with no playoff hopes, didn’t get much attention at the time. It ended up being a decent game, though, with the Coyotes rallying from a 2-0 deficit to force overtime, where rookie defenseman Julius Honka scored his first career goal to win it for Dallas.
That ended up being a tougher loss for the Coyotes than any of us realized. If they had managed to win, they’d have finished the season with 71 points, sneaking past the Devils for 27th spot and winning the first overall pick in the lottery. Instead, they capped off a miserable season by sliding all the way down to seventh, behind Vegas.
But there’s more, because this game serves up a lottery what-if twofer. Honka’s OT goal gave the Stars two points they’d end up needing. Give them a loss in this one, and they drop down to 25th in the standings. The Red Wings would’ve wound up 24th, where they’d have been the team taking home the third-overall pick once the lottery balls stopped bouncing.
One game, one goal, and four teams’ lottery fates sealed. Thanks, Julius Honka.