Dallas Stars: A Quick Look At the St. Louis Blues in Round 2
The Dallas Stars are set for a second-round NHL playoff matchup against the St. Louis Blues. Being Division rivals, these two teams know each other well. Riding the hot glove hand of rookie goaltender Jordan Binnington, the Blues will look to continue their momentum against the evenly matched Dallas Stars. What will happen this series is anyone’s guess. However, it is worth noting that both teams play a similar game, and both have defeated playoff opponents that most hockey experts said they wouldn’t.
Facing off against the Winnipeg Jets seemed like a tall task for the Blues before the series began, but each player on that team rose to the occasion. Defeating the Jets just proves that the Blues present a real threat to the Stars.
Conversely, the Dallas Stars dispatched the Nashville Predators with relative ease as well. Dallas took all of six games – two of which went into overtime – to send the Predators home. With both teams coming off big series wins and a load of confidence, it’s safe to say that each team could be in for more of the same levels of competition. With that said, here is what fans should look out for from the Blues and Stars series this round:
Similar Coaching, Play Present Chess Match In The Making
In the 33 games from the All-Star break to the end of the regular season, the Stars and Blues were the two best defensive teams at 5-on-5. Dallas allowed 46 goals; St. Louis, 47. According to Natural Stat Trick, the teams allowed an identical amount of scoring chances after the break (662) and owned a similar share of high-danger chances (St. Louis at 55.6% and Dallas at 54.3%).”
St. Louis only allowed 72 goals from Feb. 1 to the end of the regular season, fewest in the NHL. That tied the Stars during that span, but St. Louis did it in 33 games compared to Dallas’ 32.
Both teams also show no fear when playing on the road, or even when trailing on the scoreboard early in games. St. Louis won all three games played in Winnipeg in its series and were 2-0 when the Jets scored first. The Stars won two of three games in Nashville and were 3-1 when the Predators were first to find the back of the net.
The Stars will have to go to the net early and often, and even screen the goalie in order to get some good chances through. In addition, the Stars will need to stick to a set game plan and lineup that works. The Blues allowed 16 goals in their opening series with the Jets. Conversely, the Stars allowed 12 in six games against Nashville.
Ben Bishop vs. Jordan Binnington
Bishop vs. Binnington may be one of the most fun matchups to watch this series. Binnington, arguably one of the best players on the Blues was a brick wall against the Jets. Posting a 2.63 goals-against average, and a .908 save percentage against the Jets indicates he will be a force.
Bishop, on the other hand, had an identical 4-2 record, but with a .945 save percentage and a beautiful 1.90 goals-against average. This brings to mind one question: can the Stars’ defense help Bishop stay above water this round? Whether it has been nerves or some other reason, Bishop has let in some rather soft goals at points during the season. Nonetheless, he has been on his game when it mattered. Game 6 was his best performance making 47 saves on the night.
Game Breakers: Schwartz vs. Seguin
Jaden Schwartz had a rather quiet start to the series against the Jets. But, as luck would have it, he would end in an offensive flurry. Schwartz had five points (four goals, one assist) in the series. The Stars will need to keep their eye on him.
Tyler Seguin has also been somewhat of a standout for the Stars. Seguin has six points (two goals, four assists) in the first round. The most recent assist, however, came on John Klingberg’s game-winning goal in Game 6 against Nashville.
Some Things To Ponder
The last time these two teams played (2016), the Stars lost in Game 7. The two squads have changed since then, but the degree of toughness and attitudes between the two has remained the same. The Stars come into this round confident and positive. Surviving a season marred with injuries seems to have taught this team and fans a lot. With people like young stars such as Jason Dickinson, John Klingberg and Roope Hintz stepping up, this team looks ready for war. A team that was once called “horse sh*t” by management could be on its way to something positive.
How do you feel about the Dallas Stars against the St. Louis Blues? Leave a comment below.
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