Didn’t we just leave this party? The Dallas Stars meet the St. Louis Blues in Round 2, beginning tonight at 8:30 p.m. CDT, and like any good game, it’s going to get harder now. Given the recent playoffs history between the two teams, the task ahead looms almost preternaturally large.
But will it be as hard as the NHL.com coverage would have you believe? Mark Stepneski took a long look at the matchup over at Stars Inside Edge:
The Stars were hit hard by injuries early in the season, especially on defense, but were able to keep their heads above water thanks to players such as Esa Lindell, Miro Heiskanen, and Roman Polak stepping up and AHL call-ups filling holes. The Stars, who were called out for a “culture of mediocrity” in the middle of January by coach Jim Montgomery, hit their stride after the break by getting together and committing to a strong defensive identity that was backed by superb goaltending from Ben Bishop and Anton Khudobin.
”I think we’ve [changed that culture],” Montgomery said. “If you are in that locker room, you see that culture now. You see how much more professional we are. We work efficiently, we work effectively, and we work together. That’s what you need to have. We’re going to be eight of 31 teams left, so we’re doing something right.”
The Stars should be confident, but not cocky, and not just as Generic Sports Advice:
The Stars and Blues both have been playing well for a long stretch and have been top teams in the West since the All-Star break. And both are in the second round after solid first-round series wins over very good teams. Both are strong in net, both play strong defensively, both have had balanced offensive attacks in the playoffs, and both are strong on special teams.
The Stars won three of four in the season series, but that goes out the window during the playoffs. The Stars had lost three of five against Nashville during the regular season and still advanced in the first round, The Blues had lost three of four to the Jets during the regular season and still moved on to Round 2.
Mark has more – including the players’ thoughts on this second-round reset, linked from the tweet. [Stars Inside Edge]
A second-round series win would give the Stars their first trip to the Western Conference Final since 2008.— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) April 24, 2019
The only thing standing in their way? The St. Louis Blues. https://t.co/JXlG0f42yF
Stars Stuff: Second Round Edition
Mike got plenty of Blues questions for his latest round of #HeyHeika.
Tyler Seguin gets this sort of thing because, you know, he’s in the second round.
From his favourite thing about his home town to what he'd be doing if he wasn't wearing No. 91 for the @DallasStars, get to know @tseguinofficial a bit better in this week's Player Q&A https://t.co/W8kI6jMdlg pic.twitter.com/BMCXa9N5rK— NHLPA (@NHLPA) April 24, 2019
He also gets this sort of thing, because, you know, he’s Tyler Seguin.
I can say with some confidence, @tseguinofficial is not engaged.— Mike Leslie (@MikeLeslieWFAA) April 24, 2019
How do we know? Well, @mediaant asked him in the locker room the other day, and Seguin's reaction was PRICELESS.#bachelorlife#Stars @DallasStars #StanleyCupPlayoffs pic.twitter.com/9FqChrPlp9
And there’s a metric ton of “tanned, rested and ready” talk about the Blues in the league’s series previews. [NHL]
Around The League(s): Postseason Edition
The Hurricanes did it. Despite never leading for a single second at Capital One Arena all series, they’re off to the second round thanks to an improbable Game 7 OT win: https://t.co/UrAmBRjQop— x - Canes Country (@CanesCountry) April 25, 2019
Justin Williams added to his clutch legend, and got his own Twitter Moment for the effort.
Down 3-1, Carolina came back to send Game 7 to overtime. Then, in double OT, the Canes got the sudden-death winner with the help of Justin “Mr. Game 7” Williams. https://t.co/m8wShvNiet— Twitter Moments (@TwitterMoments) April 25, 2019
Maybe the Caps should’ve done this, I don’t know.
How to contain Justin Williams in a Game 7:— Yahoo Sports NHL (@YahooSportsNHL) April 25, 2019
Lure him into your bench with treats pic.twitter.com/bZDojW9t26
Here’s an idea that is Unsurprisingly Topical again!
Someone with photoshopping skills should make a gif of Thanos adding the Canes as the last Infinity Stone to the Wildcard Squad— Prashanth Iyer (@iyer_prashanth) April 25, 2019
Sports artist Eric Poole sees Round 2 like this, and it’s awesome.
Round 2..FIGHT! @NHLCanes vs @NYIslanders @Avalanche vs @SanJoseSharks @BlueJacketsNHL vs @NHLBruins @DallasStars vs @StLouisBlues @StanleyCup #nhl #hockey @NHLNetwork #NHLPlayoffs @NHLonNBCSports pic.twitter.com/8uB72QK8df— Eric Poole (@Epoole88) April 25, 2019
Playoffs officiating is under the microscope yet again. How long will it last?
The Athletic Roundtable Reaction: Did officials make the right call with Cody Eakin cross-check against Joe Pavelski?@OvertimeScottB, @KatieJStrang, @DownGoesBrown, @jtbourne, @domluszczyszyn and myself all give our thoughts on the call-https://t.co/lzJ5GP3rB5 #VegasBorn pic.twitter.com/1A16DMLuoY— Jesse Granger (@JesseGranger_) April 24, 2019
Katie Strang went straight to a former official to find out how they approach the playoffs.
Called Kerry Fraser this morning to get his thoughts on last night’s Game 7 call. His initial reaction? “Wow.” https://t.co/WwCfFwkwhg— Katie Strang (@KatieJStrang) April 24, 2019
Greetings From Beautiful Boise
BREAKING: The Mountain Division Final is set.— x-Idaho Steelheads (@Steelheads) April 25, 2019
The Steelheads have released the schedule for the series against the @tulsa_oilers, which begins this Friday on the road. Games 3 & 4 will be at CenturyLink Arena on Tuesday & Wednesday.
DETAILS: https://t.co/STBLDRoQyA | #PushingOn pic.twitter.com/GfzcWZMU24
I’ll just leave this here. Enjoy.