The Wings made big draft-night moves (which you can read about here, courtesy of Dorothy J. Gentry), Jacob deGrom turned in his best start as a Ranger, and the Stars closed out the regular season on a six-game winning streak thanks in part due to a resounding 6-1 win over old rival Detroit.
Here’s what I’m watching this week:
Monday, 4/17—Stars versus Wild, Game 1—8:30 p.m., Bally Sports Southwest and ESPN
The Stars’ latest quest for the Stanley Cup begins tonight in the American Airlines Center, and you can bet that StrongSide will be all over it no matter how long this run lasts. David Castillo and I will be writing after each game via What We Saw, What It Felt Like, while Sean Shapiro and Robert Tiffin will be tackling the bigger stories.
If you want to get into the mood for tonight, Robert delivered a playoff preview unlike anything else you’ll read, while Sean and his co-author Stephen Meserve delivered an excerpt from their new book on how the disappointing Jack Campbell era paved the way for Jake Oettinger’s rise.
Saturday, 4/22—A’s at Rangers—6:05 p.m., Bally Sports Southwest
Yes, it’s extraordinarily early, but the Rangers lead the A.L. West thanks to—wait for it—starting pitching:
If you read Sean Bass, you already knew this was a distinct possibility. The pivot point for how long this might last is Andrew Heaney, the lefty with the freaky slider. The 31-year-old got hammered in his first start only to be near-unhittable in the next two.
When Heaney’s on, nobody this side of Jacob deGrom is scarier to face in this rotation. When he’s not? Well, you saw Kansas City tattoo him for seven runs in 2.2 innings. Oakland represents a strong opportunity to keep his momentum moving in the right direction.
Saturday, 4/22—FC Dallas at NYCFC—6:30 p.m., Apple TV+
The West’s fourth-placed team takes on the East’s fifth-placed team as FCD shoots for its third straight win.
Editor’s note: a previous version of this column had FC Dallas playing Minnesota, which does not take place until next week. Our sports editor regrets the error and his inability to read a calendar.