The Dallas Stars have a score to settle with St. Louis

DALLAS, TX - SEPTEMBER 18: Miro Heiskanen #4 of the Dallas Stars skates the puck against the St. Louis Blues during a preseason game at American Airlines Center on September 18, 2018 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
DALLAS, TX - SEPTEMBER 18: Miro Heiskanen #4 of the Dallas Stars skates the puck against the St. Louis Blues during a preseason game at American Airlines Center on September 18, 2018 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /

After the disastrous Round 2 Playoff exit of 2016 at the mercy of the St. Louis Blues, these Dallas Stars may finally have the squad ready to avenge history.

Before I write this, let’s take a quick moment to catch our collective breath. Rejoice, Dallas Stars fans! For the first time in what feels like forever, we did it!

Of course I’m talking about Monday night’s spine-tingling, heart-arrhythmiating 2-1 victory over the Nashville Predators – after capturing that all-magical 4th win, the Stars are advancing onto Round 2 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Now set to square off with the once dead St. Louis Blues, this next contest will most likely be another all-out, physical chess match. Similar to the boys sporting Victory Green, this central division rival had to overcome tremendous adversity in their opening round, stunning the heavily favored Winnipeg Jets to advance.

From an outsider’s perspective – this looks like a tale of two evenly matched squads battling for a trip to the 2019 Western Conference Finals. True Dallas fans, however, will painfully recall their last postseason experience and why they were scorched from the 2016 playoff bracket – a Game 7 collapse against the St. Louis Blues cost the 1st place Stars a chance to move on.

I know, I know… that was a difficult memory to pull from your conscience. That crazy season under Lindy Ruff was one filled with tremendous ups, only to come crashing down with an equally monumental heartbreak. I don’t like to recall that season, either.

Fandom aside, I’m here to tell you these Dallas Stars are a much different club, very much capable of overcoming these skeletons. For the first time that I can truly remember (pardon me, seasoned fanatics – I was born in 1999), Dallas looks to finally possess the talent needed to make a much deeper run. Let me explain.

A legitimate Top 6

Oh, doesn’t it feel good to watch our offense now? I mean, you guys also remember all that old hoopla about depth scoring too, right? Everyone knows the trio of Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin, and Alexander Radulov could probably contend for NHL’s most dangerous line – but how about this second group?

Emerging Jason Dickinson and Roope Hintz, coupled with grizzled vet Mats Zuccarello have really meshed come playoff time. Although they did not score any points in Game 6’s clinching effort to send the Predators packing, you cannot tell me that these men weren’t noticeable – they are consistently driving play and add another layer of juice to this Dallas forecheck.

With a formidable 2nd line, Dallas’s big bad 3 are now able to consistently attack together – something the St. Louis Blues will be seeing in their nightmares post gameday. For the first time since Brad Richards was playing 2nd fiddle to Mike Modano, the Dallas Stars have found a consistent top 6 tandem capable of producing offense on any given night.

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Three Unfathomably Special Defenseman

Speaking of old hoopla, someone pull up those terrible defense articles while we’re at it. If I remember anything from that Lindy Ruff era, it was that crazy, potent offensive coupled with a horrible defensive game plan. It wasn’t too long ago we were looking up to Julius Honka to save our franchise alongside Klingberg, right?

Well, those days are far removed. The Dallas Stars have since bred a 3-headed monster in John Klingberg, Miro Heiskanen, and Esa Lindell – and boy are they mesmerizing. All three of these kids – yeah, they’re still very young – have proven equally heroic in their own right.

We were all witness to #3’s overtime goal, but did you guys catch Esa Lindell dominating on that final penalty kill? And Miro – dang, does that teenager do everything. All three of these defenceman show up night-in-out with exceptionally stellar play, and have looked more than rock-steady throughout this knotting, gut wrenching tournament we call Playoff Hockey. 

The Blues better buy some Advil after a series against these headaches. They will not play a sub-par defense this go around.

A Vezina Caliber Goaltender

Someone grab me some vinyl for this broken record – Ben Bishop has been the NHL’s best goaltender over this 2018-2019 campaign. We’ve already discussed how this man is the only finalist worthy of the Vezina Trophy, yet just when we think there’s no more to say, Big Ben churns out another other-worldly performance as if clockwork.

After stopping 47 of 48 shots during that invigorating Game 6, Bishop put the league on official notice – this man will fight tooth and nail for his team upon the biggest of stages. Gone are the days where fans needed to be reminded of Kari Lehtonen’s playoff stats; Bishop has proven an absolute monster capable of keeping the Stars in every game possible.

St. Louis should worry.

The history books will tell you that these Blues were the last team to eliminate the Dallas Stars from playoff contention, but those men who sobbed their way off AAC ice are not similar to this intimidating roster. The Stars are showing the makings of a complete team – one more than ready for this proverbial postseason rematch.

dark. Next. Why Ben Bishop is Your 2018-2019 Vezina Trophy Winner

The NHL is set to announce official dates for Round 2 in the very immediate future. The Dallas Stars will see you then, St. Louis – looking to even the score.

  • Published on 04/24/2019 at 12:00 PM
  • Last updated at 04/24/2019 at 06:06 AM