Round 1, Game 6 Preview: Dallas Stars @ Minnesota Wild

If you try to play winning playoff hockey with your mouth, you'll end up on the sad side of the handshake line.

Round 1, Game 6 Preview: Dallas Stars @ Minnesota Wild
Credit: Tim Heitman / Dallas Stars

Elimination games are rough. What does it take to get over the hump against a team that is playing for its playoff life? With the Dallas Stars having pushed the Minnesota wild to that brink, it leaves a lingering question about whether scoring on the power play is enough to push through to a fourth win in a seven game series.

Certainly, special teams are one of a handful of reasons that the Stars find themselves close to making the second round of the playoffs. Jake Oettinger deserves his props as well.

But, this series also has some fairly simple undercurrents. Minnesota's physical game has taken its toll - but by game six, its faded into the background. The storm has struck and it has been weathered.

The penalty/diving conversation is still out there. For all of his antics, Marcus Foligno isn't wrong to think that he's been on the tough end of a few calls. In the long run, these things tend to even out - but in a seven game series, they probably don't. The question ends up being whether bad breaks take up residence in a player/team/coaches head - and for the Wild, game six is an opportunity to show that they can play hockey instead of just mind games.

Dallas Stars Lineup

Jason Robertson (21) – Roope Hintz (24) – Tyler Seguin (91)
Mason Marchment (27) - Max Domi (18) – Ty Dellandrea (10)
Jamie Benn (14) – Wyatt Johnston (53) – Evgeni Dadonov (63)
Joel Kiviranta (25) - Radek Faksa (12) - Luke Glendening (11)

Ryan Suter (20) – Miro Heiskanen (4)
Esa Lindell (23) – Jani Hakanpää (2)
Thomas Harley (55) - Joel Hanley (44)

Jake Oettinger (29)
Scott Wedgewood (41)

Joe Pavelski travelled with the team to Minnesota, and there is a train of thought that says "if you travel, you play". If Pavelski is ready to go, it pushes more of the Stars skill advantage down the lineup. Seguin, back with Domi and Marchment, creates some challenges for the Wild defense that aren't present when Dellandrea is on that line.

Minnesota Wild Lineup

Kirill Kaprizov (97) - Ryan Hartman (38) - Mats Zuccarello (36)
Marcus Johansson (90) - Sam Steel (13) - Matthew Boldy (12)
Gustav Nyquist (28) - Frederick Gaudreau (89) - Marcus Foligno (17)
Brandon Duhaime (21) - Connor Dewar (26) - Ryan Reaves (75)

Jacob Middleton (5) - Jared Spurgeon (46)
Jonas Brodin (25) - Matt Dumba (24)
John Klingberg (3) - Brock Faber (7)

Filip Gustavsson (32)
Marc-Andre Fleury (29)

I suppose if you're going to shake things up, might as well start at the top. Zuccarello hasn't been a game changer this series, but given Minnesota's depth, you might think that his is an overreaction - unless there is an underlying injury.

Keys to the Game

Fast Start. Neither team has shown that they can chase the game once they're down. The Stars have had a few opportunities, but the Wild have twice lost control trying to catch up.

Adversity. One of the hallmarks of this year's Stars team has been the ability to keep pushing forward when things don't go their way. The Wild, on the other hand, have been remarkably fragile. A bad break could cascade if puck luck doesn't smile on Minnesota.

Goaltending. Jake Oettinger's focus has improved throughout the series. Gustavsson has been solid in net. Three goals might do it.