After game 3 of the series, Stars coach Jim Montgomery said, “I just thought the Blues did a better job possessing pucks in the offensive zone than we did.” As you can see here, his take couldn’t have been more right. Coming into game 4, it was expected that some changes would be made and they were.
Montgomery doubled-down on his assessment saying, “both lines haven’t been possessing the puck enough, so let’s change up the lineup and see if we can generate more offense and more possession time.” He chose to break up his top line of Tyler Seguin, Jamie Benn, and Alex Radulov. Instead, going with a first line of Seguin, Mats Zuccarello, and Jason Dickinson followed by Benn, Radulov, and Roope Hintz.
The result? A 4-2 win to tie the series back up at 2 apiece.
The Stars came out flying and finished the first period with a lead in offensive zone puck possession, 2:42 to 1:55. The score after 1? 2-1 Stars. By the end of the game, the Blues had the advantage but that was in large part due to the Blues playing catch up.
The Stars top line finished with two goals including a goal against the Blues top line of Ryan O’Reilly, Vladimir Tarasenko, and Jaden Schwartz. They played the majority of the night against that line and outshot them 7-1 in the slot while on the ice against each other at even-strength.
Not to be outdone, the Benn line took advantage of a turnover just inside their blue line to score a goal off the rush. That was Hintz’s fifth point in the series and ties him for the most goals in round 2.
Just as important though was the fact that they played the majority of the night against Brayden Schenn’s line with David Perron and Oskar Sundqvist and held them to 0 goals.
Both Montgomery and Craig Berube are in the middle of a chess match out there. Being able to keep the balance between playing emotional but not so far that you forget how to play will be a big factor in who can win the best of three left in this series. As Benn said, “just a bunch of grown men being donkeys out there.”
(Photo by Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images)