Stanley Cup Playoffs Preview: Stars vs. Blues

Watch the Blues and Blackhawks exchange pleasantries after a hard-fought series that went seven games.

The Dallas Stars vanquished the Minnesota Wild in six games and will be “rewarded” with a Round 2 matchup against the St. Louis Blues.

The Blues are coming off a gruelling, emotional, seven-game series against the Blackhawks, in which they finally got a monkey off their back. But if they fall to the Stars in Round 2, it’ll be hard to say they really got over the playoff hump they set out to achieve. Heavy offence vs. heavy all-around hockey, Stars-Blues has the makeup for another dynamite series.

The Stars have home-ice advantage.

Here’s a look at how the two teams match up.

Stars: 5on5CF% – 52.6; 5on5Sv% – .917; 5on5Sh% – 7.87; PDO = 99.5
Blues: 5on5CF% – 52.0; 5on5Sv% – .932; 5on5Sh% – 7.04; PDO = 100.2

Dallas: 1-1-3
St. Louis: 4-1-0

Dallas and St. Louis played five times this season with three of those games going to OT, including their last meeting on March 12. In that game, St. Louis took a two-goal lead into the third period, but the Stars were able to come back with goals from Jason Spezza and a late marker by Jamie Benn. A little more than two minutes into OT, Alex Pietrangelo sealed the game.

These teams last met in the Stanley Cup Playoffs in 2001, when the Blues had both Chris Pronger and Al MacInnis and the Stars had Brett Hull and Mike Modano. Also of note: current Blues coach Ken Hitchcock was behind Dallas’ bench. In that series, Dallas held home-ice advantage as the third seed in the West, while St. Louis was the fourth seed. Modano sustained a leg injury in Game 1 and didn’t return. Dallas scored just six goals in the four games and were swept away by the Blues, who themselves were eliminated in five games by Colorado in the Western Conference Final.

Jason Spezza was huge in Round 1, especially when you consider the fact that Tyler Seguin played only one game due to an injury to his Achilles tendon. Spezza finished the series with nine points and four goals, the nicest of which came in the second period of Game 1. Spezza channeled his inner Darryl Sittler and sniped one past Devan Dubnyk to give the Stars a 2-0 lead.

For anyone outside of the Blues organization, there was constant belief throughout the first round that St. Louis would find a way to blow it. And they nearly did. After giving up another two-goal lead in Game 7, this awkward Troy Brouwer goal that almost didn’t happen was enough to put the Blues over the top and stood as the series clincher. Of course, Chicago came this close to tying it again later.

dallas leaders


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