Chris Tanev has tooth pulled during Game 5, barely misses shift for Stars against Avalanche

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Colorado Avalanche at Dallas Stars
Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

If you are looking for a prime example of what hockey players are willing to do in order to win the Stanley Cup, look no further. Chris Tanev barely missed any ice time after a first-period collision required the pulling of “at least one tooth” on just his first shift in Game 5 of the Western Conference Second Round between the Dallas Stars and Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday. 

“From what I understood, it got pushed in,” Stars coach Pete DeBoer explained after his team lost 5-3. “They had to pull it in order for him to come back. He didn’t miss much, though.”

Not only did Tanev get right back into the action, but the veteran defenseman had 19:59 in ice time and fearlessly led the Stars with six blocked shots. He has been eating minutes on the blue line for Dallas since being acquired ahead of the NHL trade deadline from the Calgary Flames and a pesky tooth extraction wasn’t about to slow him down Wednesday.

The 34-year-old is trying to win his first Stanley Cup championship and could have his best opportunity this postseason with Dallas, which led the Western Conference with 113 points in the regular season and is one win away from advancing to the conference final, leading Colorado 3-2 in the best-of-7 series.

However, closing out the 2022 Stanley Cup champs won’t be easy for Tanev and the Stars. Teams facing elimination are 10-6 (excluding Game 7s) so far in the 2024 postseason, 4-0 in the second round. The Carolina Hurricanes have already staved off elimination twice against the New York Rangers after falling behind 3-0 in their series.

Related: Stanley Cup Playoff X-factor for each team in 2nd round

Stars coach says, ‘It’s that time of year’ when players do anything to win Stanley Cup

NHL: Buffalo Sabres at Dallas Stars
Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Tanev is just the latest in countless examples of hockey players battling through unthinkable injuries in order to help their team reach the ultimate goal of a Stanley Cup. Last year, it was Matthew Tkachuck of the Florida Panthers, who finished the Stanley Cup Final playing with a broken sternum. 

We all remember Patrice Bergeron playing through the 2013 Stanley Cup Final with a punctured lung, and Ryan McDonagh battling through a broken foot in the 2015 playoffs for the Rangers against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Simply put, hockey players are just built different.

Tanev is no exception. Though Dallas did not get the win on Wednesday night, Tanev’s actions spoke volumes to what kind of player he is and what he’s willing to do for the team that acquired him less than three months ago. 

“It’s that time of year,” DeBoer mentioned. “[Tanev] is not the only one. There’s a lot of guys that are playing either hurt or with different things.”

No matter what the injury or illness may be, you can almost guarantee that the priority is getting back on to the ice for the next shift, or returning for the next game. For Tanev and the rest of the Dallas Stars, the priority will be getting the series-clinching win in Game 6 on Friday night, which will be no easy task traveling back to Colorado. 

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