The Dallas Stars are one win away from the Stanley Cup Final.
This presents a great opportunity for the team to show that they can close out a series when given the opportunity. To wash away the memory of failing to clinch the series against the St. Louis Blues in Game 6 in 2016 and falling in Game 7. To avoid blowing a 3-1 series lead and having to scrape out a win in Game 7 like they did versus the Colorado Avalanche last round.
The Vegas Golden Knights will be prepared to stop them. The team has felt that they have been the better team throughout this series, and that they are more than still in this. “This is a long way from over,” Vegas head coach Pete DeBoer said after Game 4’s loss, “and we’re going to be a tough out.” After his team lost in Game 1, they came out with arguably their best game of the season and completely shut down the Stars in all ways.
Dallas will need to be ready for that, and have a much better answer than they did in Game 2. The last thing they want to do is give Vegas confidence and the ability to get back into this series.
Time to find the next gear and end it tonight.
DALLAS STARS LINEUP
Dallas will go into this one a little more banged up than they’ve been at any point in this playoff. Ben Bishop and Stephen Johns remain unfit to play. Radek Faksa joins them on that list after sustaining an apparent upper-body injury in Game 3 and missing Game 4. Roope Hintz, who went awkwardly into a teammate face-first in Game 4 and missed more than a period of play, is expected to be a game time decision. Taylor Fedun is healthy again and served as a healthy scratch last game, but it would be safe to assume the Stars will continue rolling with the blueline they’ve been using of late.
Assuming Hintz doesn’t play tonight, it’s the expectation that Justin Dowling could draw back into the lineup, as he has playoff experience and is a responsible forward. If they decide to replace scoring-for-scoring threat, then they could surprise us and insert someone like Jason Robertson or Ty Dellandrea with Jamie Benn pulled into center duty (he has a history of playing that position). However, working someone like Robertson into the lineup would require a big mixing of lines to fit in the scoring winger, and it’s a fine line to walk to balance the need for scoring and line chemistry at this point in the playoffs.
We’ll have to confirm it in warmups. Here’s the best guess at what the lines will look like:
Jamie Benn - Tyler Seguin - Alexander Radulov
Mattias Janmark – Joe Pavelski – Denis Gurianov
Andrew Cogliano – Jason Dickinson – Blake Comeau
Joel Kiviranta – Justin Dowling – Corey Perry
Esa Lindell – John Klingberg
Jamie Oleksiak – Miro Heiskanen
Joel Hanley – Andrej Sekera
Anton Khudobin manning the pipes.
VEGAS GOLDEN KNIGHTS LINEUP
Wouldn’t expect too many changes on the Vegas side of the lineup. They rolled this last game:
Max Pacioretty – William Karlsson – Mark Stone
Johnathan Marchessault – Paul Stastny – Reilly Smith
Nick Cousins – Chandler Stephenson – Alexa Tuch
William Carrier – Nicolas Roy– Ryan Reaves
Brayden McNabb – Nate Schmidt
Alec Martinez – Shea Theodore
Nick Holden – Zach Whitecloud
Robin Lehner is the presumed starter.