The NHL is set up with a second-round Game 7 on Tuesday night. The Dallas Stars and the St. Louis Blues will meet up with a chance to make it to the Western Conference Finals. This series has gone back and forth, and I expect another good matchup between these two teams on May 7. This game is set to begin at around 8:00 PM Eastern time on NBCSN.
The Stars finished the regular season in the top wild-card spot and fourth place in the Central Division. Dallas had a record of 43-32-7 to end the regular season. The Stars met up with the Nashville Predators in the first round of the playoffs and were able to win in an impressive six-game series. Dallas will look to pull off a road upset to earn their berth in the Western Conference Finals.
St. Louis was in the last place at one point in the season, but were able to finish the regular season with a record of 45-28-9, which helped them finish in third place of the Central Division. The Blues carried that momentum into the playoffs and were able to knock off the Winnipeg Jets in six games. St. Louis will look to pull off a win at home to move into the next round on Tuesday night.
The Stars and the Blues met up a total of four times in the regular season, which Dallas was able to put up a 3-1 record. These two teams have been back and forth this entire series, with neither team holding more than a one-game advantage. I expect Game 7 to be a very exciting matchup as both teams’ battle in out in a winner takes all game.
The first two games of the playoff series were hosted by St. Louis. Vladimir Tarasenko scored two goals, including the game winner in Game 1. Jordan Binnington stopped 27 of 29 shots to help the Blues earn a 3-2 win and a 1-0 series lead. Roope Hintz came to play in Game 2 though, as he scored two goals and added an assist. Ben Bishop had 32 saves to help the Stars earn a 4-2 win on the road.
Game’s 3 and 4 shifted to Dallas. In Game 3, Tyler Bozak and Jaden Schwartz each had a goal and an assist to help propel the Blues to the Game 3 win. Jordan Binnington stopped 28 of the 31 shots he faced to help give St. Louis the 4-3 win. Alexander Radulov, Tyler Seguin, and Mats Zuccarello all had two points in Game 4, while Ben Bishop had 27 saves. The Stars were able to win 4-2 to even up the series again.
Game 5 shifted back to St. Louis on May 3. Jason Spezza and Esa Lindell each scored to give the Stars a 2-0 lead. Jaden Schwartz responded in the third, but it was not enough. Jordan Binnington had 25 saves, but it was Bishop who stole the shot with 38 saves on 39 shots. The Stars were able to take their first series lead with a 2-1 win on the road.
The Stars hosted Game 6 with a chance to earn a spot in the Western Conference Finals, but the Blues would not go away easily. Jaden Schwartz had a goal and an assist, while Tyler Seguin had the lone goal for Dallas. Jordan Binnington turned away 22 shots on 23 attempts to help St. Louis tie up the series with a 4-1 win.
The Stars have been a solid team on special teams throughout the postseason. Dallas has been able to score on around 22.2 percent of their power play chances. The Stars penalty kill has been even better, only allowing two goals for a success rate of 94.3 percent. Dallas didn’t allow a single power play to the Nashville Predators in the first round.
St. Louis had a solid power play at the end of the first round, but have hit the brick wall that is the Dallas Stars. The Blues have only been able to score on 17.9 percent of their power play chances in the playoffs. St. Louis’ penalty kill has not been doing great either, stopping opposing teams only around 75 percent of the time.
The Blues will need to either get their special teams working in Game 7 or beat Dallas on five on five play, which they have done throughout this series. The Stars will look for their penalty kill to continue to stump St. Louis and give them an edge to earn the victory on the road. Either way, I believe special teams could play a big role in the outcome of the winner.
Ben Bishop is one of the Vezina Trophy finalists by posting a save percentage of .934 and a GAA of 1.98 throughout the regular season. In the playoffs so far, Bishop has been able to put up a .929 save percentage and a GAA of 2.32. Ben Bishop had an injury scare in Game 6, but it seems like he will be good to go for Game 7.
Jordan Binnington played a huge role in the Blues finding their stride late in the season. Binnington finished out the regular season with a save percentage of .927 and a 1.89 GAA. In the playoffs, he has been able to earn a .911 save percentage and a GAA of 2.59. Binnington will play the biggest game of his young career so far with a trip to the Western Conference Finals on the line.
Both goalies have had their moments throughout the series. The big wild card coming into this game is on Jordan Binnington, who we will have to see how he responds to the pressure of a Game 7. The St. Louis crowd will look to get him going early, which will give him some help as he goes against the veteran Bishop.
At the end of Game 7 on Tuesday night, one team will have a ticket to the Western Conference Finals, while the other will be going home, which should lead to a great game. Both teams will look for their goalie to help lead them to a big win. The Stars will look for special teams to lead them to a win, while St. Louis will look to find their stride in that part of their game.
BetOnline has the Blues listed as a -131 against the money line, which implies that they will win this game around 57 percent of the time. I believe that this game could go either way. Both teams will look to come out fast early and it should lead to a lot of offense. Neither team is the type of team to sit back. I believe that this gives a lot of value to the over, which is listed at five.