NHL Western Conference Semifinal: Why Pick Dallas Stars
The Dallas Stars got all they wanted from the second wild card team in the West, as the Minnesota Wild played like anything but an eight-seed in the quarterfinal round. The Stars went up 2-0 in the games in Dallas and then got a split in Minnesota, but then an overtime home loss sent the game back up north for Game 6. The Stars led that game 4-0 after two periods, but then a ferocious Wild comeback brought it to 4-3 and then 5-4, as Dallas held on with the whitest of knuckles to advance to the semifinals. Let’s take a look at some reasons to pick the Stars to knock off the two-seed in the West as they take on the St. Louis Blues, who eliminated the Chicago Blackhawks in an epic seven-game march. Find the updated NHL online betting spread here.
NHL Western Conference Semifinal: Why You Should Pick Dallas Stars to beat St. Louis Blues
Making a hurricane out of the Stars
When Dallas wins, they are scoring in bunches, sending wave after wave of lines at the net. The Stars need to hold the puck in the Blues’ zone for long stretches, throwing the puck at the net and grinding the Blues’ blueliners into some poor puck decisions. In their six postseason games so far, the Stars have posted 21 goals, which is the most of any team in these Stanley Cup playoffs. The Stars were also tops in the NHL for goals per game during the season at 3.23. The Blues play a tough, gritty defense that is accountable and does not offer many holes for the opposition. Dallas has to overcome that toughness and grit with some hunger of their own on the offensive end.
Are the Blues out of gas?
It takes a ton of emotional energy to finish a seven-game series, and the Blues may have let a lot out of the tank in order to eliminate Chicago. During the regular season, the Blues won four of five from the Stars, permitting only 10 goals in those games, so this could be a situation where the Blues relax a little bit and find themselves down 3-0 in the first period.
This young defenseman has become an integral two-way player for the Stars this year. He is tough on the opposition’s biggest stars, but he also jumps into the offense sometimes, snagging a goal here and there as well as assisting on a lot of the team’s tallies. He missed a big part of the season with some leg woes, but he showed speed and physicality during the team’s series with the Wild.
Controlling the shots
The Stars controlled 56.1 percent of the shots on goal in their series with Minnesota. St. Louis controlled only 47.2 percent of shot attempts in that series with the Blackhawks. Now, the Blackhawks are a lot better competition than the Wild, but if the Stars can get to 54 or 55 percent, they can give the Blues fits.
Expert Pick and Final Series Prediction
I like the way St. Louis can suck the life out of an opposing offense, but I don’t think they will be able to do that to the Stars four times. I’m predicting Dallas in seven.