But how close was Dallas to having to face Chicago instead? Pretty darn close.
Owen Newkirk thinks that Patrick Sharp, for one, is probably pretty happy about the way last night's game turned out.
I'll have to ask him tomorrow at practice, but I have a hunch that @10PSharp is actually rather pleased not to have to face the Hawks.— Owen Newkirk (@OwenNewkirk) April 26, 2016
As we get ready for Game 1 of Stars/Blues action, here are a few things to keep in mind.
Yes the Blues won 4 games vs Dallas in the regular season. Each team won once in regulation, the other 3 went into OT or SO. Meaningless now— Bruce LeVine (@BruceLeVinePuck) April 26, 2016
If you're wondering what the goalie situation looked like in those games, Mark Stepneski is one step ahead of you.
Stars goalies vs. St. Louis this season:— Mark Stepneski (@StarsInsideEdge) April 26, 2016
Lehtonen: 1-0-1, 0.99, .955
Niemi: 0-1-2, 3.22, .899
And, of course, there's this little bit of narrative to consider.
A Stars-Blues series will pit Lindy Ruff against Ken Hitchcock. They were the two coaches in 1999 when the Stars won the Stanley Cup.— Scott Bell (@ScottBellDMN) April 26, 2016
(Hitch and Ruff also met during the 2006 playoffs, where they proved to be the best of friends.)
So what do you guys think? Are you glad to have the Blues, or would you rather have had the Hawks?
Since making his debut on March 12, Stephen Johns has played a big part in the Stars' success. [Stars Inside Edge]
Is it too early to start debating who's gonna win the Conn Smythe? Probably. Are we going to do it anyway? You bet. Here's Sean McIndoe's case for Jamie Benn as one of several current contenders.
Admit it: Last year's Art Ross felt a tiny bit like a fluke, right?
Well, about that. A year later, Benn's coming off an even more productive season. And he's been even better in the playoffs, dominating the Wild to the tune of four goals and ten points in six games, good for the league lead through the opening round. And he did it all with a smile on his face.
There's more on the playoff heroes and zeros so far at the link. [VICE]
Mike Heika held his regular Stars chat yesterday and shared his thoughts on everything from Valeri Nichushkin's play to Jason Spezza's hot streak. [SportsDayDFW]
Also from Heika: The Stars aren't always good, but they're always entertaining. (Personally, I'm not convinced that "entertained" was how I felt on Sunday. Nauseous might be more accurate.) [SportsDayDFW]
That Jamie Benn guy is pretty good, huh?
It wasn't all Blues/Blackhawks last night...
- The Round 1 fun isn't quite over—the Predators defeated the Ducks 3-1 to force a Game 7, which, weirdly enough, will start after Round 2 does. [On the Forecheck]
Brayden Schenn will have a hearing tomorrow.
Philadelphia's Brayden Schenn will have a hearing tomorrow for charging/illegal check to the head on Washington's T.J. Oshie.— NHL Player Safety (@NHLPlayerSafety) April 25, 2016
What does Jaromir Jagr's lack of production in the playoffs mean for his future? [The Hockey News]
Henrik Lundqvist sounds pretty zen about that whole first-round exit thing.
NHL is so competitive that success can never be taken for granted. With a vision/hard work I believe we can get there, I hope u do 2! #NYR— Henrik Lundqvist (@HLundqvist30) April 25, 2016
In a sport with an 82-game regular season and taxing travel schedule, sleep is a valuable commodity. That's why some teams, like the Sharks, are calling on experts to ensure their players are well-rested. [New York Times]
Ken Holland shared some thoughts on what is—or isn't—going to be happening in Detroit.
"I'm not into a rebuild. They take 8-10 years and that's if you want to tank it." - Ken Holland on Red Wings future.— Helene St. James (@HeleneStJames) April 25, 2016
Over at the New York Daily News, a look at how the goal horn came to be a quintessential part of hockey. [New York Daily News]
And finally, Radek Faksa is excited. You should be, too.