The next big thing is here: The Dallas Stars are ready to pit their unstoppable offensive force against the St. Louis Blues' immovable defensive objects. Anyone who doesn't care who prevails probably should, but not even the future of a copycat league is overshadowing the history these teams bring to the series.
Chris Wolfgang of The Dallas Observer (and yes, they're sniffing around hockey again) recaps Round 1 and issues the now-standard health warning:
These high scoring games are hard on the hearts of Stars fans, so much so that donning Victory Green and watching a game should only be done with the advice and consent of your cardiologist. Dallas has been able to keep their high scoring ways up without Tyler Seguin, who only played 15 minutes of Game 2, and continues to rehab from an Achilles' injury. In Seguin's absence, Jamie Benn and Jason Spezza were the straws that stirred the Star's offensive drink and sit 1-2 in playoff scoring after the first round.
He also gathers the series' multiple storylines into a convenient holder:
As if the hockey between these two Central Division foes won't be interesting enough, students of Stars history will have multiple storylines to follow in this series. St. Louis won a Game 7 for the first time since 1999, when they needed seven games to get past the Phoenix Coyotes in the opening round. Their second round opponent that year? The Dallas Stars, who dispatched them in six games. The Blues came into the playoffs needing a series win to likely save coach Ken Hitchcock's job. Yes, that Ken Hitchcock, who coached the Stars to their only Stanley Cup title in 1999 against the Buffalo Sabres, who were coached at the time by ... Lindy Ruff. Oh, Lindy and Hitch were both assistant coaches with Team Canada at the 2014 Winter Olympics, and shared a dorm together. Not even a Hollywood script has this much intrigue.
There's more to read here. [Dallas Observer]
The Stars' Stanley Cup vets, including Patrick Sharp and Johnny Oduya, are showing the youngsters how to act like they've been there, writes Amalie Benjamin. [NHL]
Also at NHL.com: Steve Hunt and Louie Korac preview the Stars-Blues series. [NHL]
And now for something completely different: The indescribable Ryan Whitney and Mike Rupp are back at it. Read their Round 2 preview at The Players' Tribune.
Mark Stepneski talked to Lindy Ruff and Ken Hitchcock about their longtime friendship and their strange playoffs rematch.
Alex Goligoski, Vernon Fiddler and The Captain offered a few thoughts on the Blues after practice yesterday.
Josh Clark comes out and says it: Dallas is better than St. Louis. He has receipts. [CBS DFW]
Which teams are really favored in Round 2? Dominik Luszczyszyn says it depends, in part, on whether you favor #fancystats or the eyeball test. [The Hockey News]
Also at THN: Jared Clinton picks the top 10 moments from Round 1, including Nino Niederreiter's Game 6 non-goal versus Kari Lehtonen and Antoine Roussel's Game 2 behind-the-back (of Devan Dubnyk) goal. [THN]
Meanwhile, your 2016 Selke Trophy finalists are Patrice Bergeron, Ryan Kesler and Anze Kopitar.
Also at DBD's Caps-centric sister: The "Get to Know a Penguin" series focuses on longtime Star Trevor Daley. [JR]
Last night's only playoff game produced some found comedy as Jay Beagle accidentally picked up a new accessory, courtesy of Kris Letang.
Leave it to @BobaFenwick to zero in on the gag still.
OH GOD WHY— Bob Spencer (@BobaFenwick) April 29, 2016
WHYYYYY GAWWWWD WHYYYY pic.twitter.com/H5Hq7KuiIV
But Beags wasn't done for the evening: In the second period, he drew a tripping call on Phil Kessel by getting The Thrill's stick lodged in his skate. [Russian Machine Never Breaks]
Has Bobby Boudreau run out of road in the OC? Allan Muir examines the latest playoff-season disappointment for the Anaheim Ducks and thinks about the future.
Hmm. I didn't know I retired?!? https://t.co/WcijFEpddO— Willie Mitchell (@Willie_Mitch33) April 28, 2016
Kerry Fraser recalls a goal he waved off during the 1987 Game 5 between the Montreal Canadiens and the Quebec Nordiques to point out that referees feel every bit as much pressure as you think they do when a playoff series is on the line. [TSN]
Finally: @DallasStars has presented a series of spoof video game covers to promote the #NHL17Benn Twitter campaign, and...they're glorious. So epic are these alterations that TSN has gathered them together so other, non-Starscrossed fans can share in the wonder. You're welcome. [BarDown]
Radek Faksa (@RadekFaksa) April 28, 2016