The Prince puns are everywhere, because Round 2 in 2016 really does look like a party from 1999. The Dallas Stars' series with the St. Louis Blues pits coaches Lindy Ruff and Ken Hitchcock against each other once more, but with Ruff now ruling the Stars' bench.
The matchup has other similiarities, as the Blues play the kind of heavy game the old, Hitch-led Stars employed to such effect during their Stanley Cup win. Mike Heika spoke with the current Stars about how they plan to work around it:
"...[W]e definitely have to tighten things up," said center Vernon Fiddler. "We're going to have to pay special attention to the details, because they don't give up much."
That said, the Stars can also be a handful for St. Louis. Dallas was first in scoring at 3.23 goals per game, first in shooting percentage at 10.1 percent, and second in shots on goal at 32.0 per game. Dallas finished ahead of St. Louis in the fight for first place in the Western Conference and gets home ice in this series because of it, with Game 1 starting Friday at 7 p.m. at American Airlines Center.
The team intends to keep the focus on their own game:
There's a reason three of the games went to overtime in the season series, and there's a reason the Blues won all three. The battle will be close and details will be paramount. But the Stars say whoever the opponent is, they control their own destiny.
"You just want to keep getting better as you go on in each and every game and every series," Stars captain Jamie Benn said of the team's philosophy against the Blues. "We'll make adjustments throughout the series, but we just have to worry about ourselves."
There's much more at Heika's place. [SportsDayDFW]
Andrew Berkshire asks the Kari Lehtonen or Antti Niemi question, with charts and everything. [Sportsnet]
And Josh Friemel chooses 10 (actually 11, but who's counting?) Stars not named Seguin or Benn that casual fans should learn more about before they watch the next round. [SportsDayDFW]
To promote The Captain's nomination for the cover of NHL 2017, Razor goes full Canadian – as opposed to regular Canadian, which is pretty much an ordinary boring American unless they're dressed to go outside:
Here's what they're saying about the upcoming Stars-Blues series on the other side. [St. Louis Game Time]
No Stanley Cup playoffs hockey last night, but tonight you have the last of Round 1 and the first of Round 2:
- New York Islanders at Tampa Bay Lightning (Round 2, Game 1), 6 p.m. Central time (NBCSN, CNBC, TVA Sports)
- Nashville Predators at Anaheim Ducks (Round 1, Game 7), 9 p.m. Central time (NBCSN, TVA Sports, FOX Sports TN, FOX Sports West)
The Bolts got a boost of the emotional kind yesterday as captain Steven Stamkos returned to practice in a no-contact jersey.
RIP #SpaceyInSpace. We hardly knew ye, man.
The real Holographic Astronaut President Frank Underwood gave The Most Interesting Sweatshirt in the World a fond and slightly cryptic farewell.
And because you just wondered, The Most Interesting Man in Hockey will almost certainly be back with the Cats next season.
Jaromir Jagr expected to return to Florida Panthers https://t.co/tslUvdZwZG— Panthers Daily (@PanthersDaily) April 27, 2016
It's official: Brayden Schenn will be suspended for the first three games of the 2016-17 season for his head shot on T.J. Oshie during a contentious Game 6 between the Philadelphia Flyers and the Washington Capitals. [Puck Daddy]
This video should remind you what all the Laine noise is about.
What will you do if the Edmonton Oilers get to pick first overall for the fifth time in the past seven drafts? Believe it or not, their lottery odds are actually better this year than they were in 2015. [The Hockey News]
Awwwww: Watch how this guy Tony fell in love with playoff hockey live on Twitter. [SB Nation]
Finally: Now that The Captain is Team Canada's official nominee for the #NHL17 cover, @DallasStars issues this timely reminder from the Sochi Olympics.