One of the biggest storylines of the past couple of Dallas Stars seasons has been the decline in play of Jamie Benn. There were many fans who turned on the captain, believing he should be stripped of his title and perhaps even traded.
But now the Stars are one win away from their first Stanley Cup Finals appearance in 20 years, and Benn’s right at the forefront leading the way:
“He’s playing the best hockey I’ve seen him play in the two years that I’ve been in Dallas,” said [Rick] Bowness... “He’s the Jamie Benn I remember coaching against when we were in Tampa.”
It’s not just the fans and coaching staff who have noticed — Benn’s own teammates have been impressed by his recent elevation in play. When it comes to “Beast Mode,” Benn’s switch seems to be stuck in the “on” position:
“His game, his leadership has just gone up another level in the playoffs, from what I’ve seen,” center Joe Pavelski said. “What I like about him, he’s been very direct. When he has the puck, you have an idea of where it’s going. He’s been shooting it, he wants it and you can see that. That’s something that this time of year, that’s what’s productive.”
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Game 5 is tonight, and the Vegas Golden Knights have quite the task in front of them if they want to survive Dallas:
Mattias Janmark may not be lighting up the scoresheet, but his impact has been felt on the ice:
The world was a very different place the last time Mattias Janmark scored a goal. But the Stars forward has been valuable during the team's playoff run regardless.@SaadYousuf126 tells you how Janmark is finding ways to contribute beyond the box score.https://t.co/snMcvMFSqn— The Athletic Dallas (@TheAthleticDFW) September 14, 2020
Jake Oettinger has been getting quite the experience serving as backup goaltender for Dallas this postseason:
“Now I feel like I belong here.” pic.twitter.com/TIBEFoOWbW— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) September 14, 2020
Around the League
The Tampa Bay Lightning are also one win away from the Finals, in large part due to their incredible first line:
Did you know the Hart Trophy is very position-biased? Of course you did, but this exercise confirms it:
New post: Does an all-time NHL team made up of Hart Trophy winners beat a team made from everybody else? Follow the ups and downs as we try to find out. https://t.co/lbHcZr7jWt pic.twitter.com/JHQKc68VO7— Down Goes Brown (@DownGoesBrown) September 14, 2020
Finally, the 2020 NHL Entry Draft hasn’t even happened yet, but no reason we can’t look ahead towards 2021: