The Dallas Stars should be feeling pretty good about their game right now. After earning a split in St. Louis, the Stars have a chance to take a 2-1 series lead tonight in front of their fans at American Airlines Center. Dallas played a couple of solid road games and has the advantage in a number of key performance areas through two games.
Jordan Binnington was outstanding in Game 1, stopping 16 of the 17 shots he faced in the 3rd period, leading his team to victory. However, the Stars managed to breakthrough in Game 2, largely due to contributions from depth players like Roope Hintz (3 points), Jason Dickinson (2 points) and Mattias Janmark (game-winning goal). While depth scoring hasn’t been a problem for the Stars, their top line has managed just one goal so far in the series, a powerplay goal from Jamie Benn late in Game 1. “For our top line, they need to be better,” Stars head coach, Jim Montgomery said. “I’ve told them that, they know it and they have a lot of pride and I expect them to be. In the last series, they just kept getting better and I expect them to do the same.”
The good news for Montgomery – even though Benn, Tyler Seguin and Alex Radulov have just the one goal between them in the second round, they’ve been getting chances and the numbers suggest it won’t be long before they find the back of the net with more regularity.
Benn’s Game 1 goal came off a rebound and the net-front battle will be something to watch in Game 3, tonight. The Stars have created a number of scoring chances off second chance opportunities, something the St. Louis Blues have not done in this series. Dallas leads all teams in the 2nd round with 12 rebound scoring chances – the Blues rank last with 0.
Clearing the front of the net will no doubt be a focus for the St. Louis, who only allowed 14 rebound scoring chances in six games against the Jets in the round one. That said, the Blues are a confident group heading into Game 3. They won all 3 games they played on the road in the first round against the Winnipeg Jets and believe they can carry that road success into Dallas tonight.
“We feel confident going in there,” said Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo. “Another tough building to play in, but again, we feel confident after what we were able to do in that last series.”
“They haven’t seen our best, and that’s a good thing,” Blues forward Pat Maroon added. “I think once they see our best, it’s going to be a good series.”
Games 1 and 2 were tight until the end and there’s no reason to think Game 3 won’t be as well.
(Photo by Scott Rovak/NHLI via Getty Images)