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2018-19 NHL Playoffs: Dallas Stars-St. Louis Blues Series Preview

April 25, 2019 | by RotoRob | Comments (0)
John Klingberg leads the Dallas Stars defense corps.
John Klingberg (right) played the hero in Game Six for the Stars. (Twitter.com)

After their impressive victory over the Nashville Predators in six games, the Dallas Stars will now face another very familiar foe in the St. Louis Blues, who pulled off an equally amazing feat in taking down the Winnipeg Jets in six games.

What can we expect from this surprising Western Conference second round matchup, starting on Thursday?

For starters, these are two very similar — and very well-matched teams. It’s hard to envision a scenario in which this series doesn’t remain very tight and last six, if not the full seven games.

Both extremely tough defensive clubs (Dallas ranked second in the NHL this season), each of them really turned things on in the second half to force their way into the playoffs. In fact, over the final 33 games, no teams gave up fewer goals at 5-on-5 than the Stars (46) and Blues (47). Goals could be a premium in this series.

The Stars needed overtime on Monday, but it was fantastic to see them finally clinch a playoff round at home for the first time in 11 years. Their fans have lived through plenty of frustration in recent years, so this was a great payoff.

Defenseman John Klingberg was the overtime hero on Monday (see the video below for the goal, given the Pavarotti treatment for dramatic effect!), capping a brilliant series in which he added five assists and went +5. Injuries cost him 18 games this season, yet he still reached double digit goals for the fourth time in his five-year career.

Alexander Radulov also shone in this series, setting up the overtime winner as part of a six-point, +7 series, as he came back to haunt him old club. Coming off a career-high 29 goals and +22 rating in just 70 games, his performance will be vital to Dallas’ chances against the Blues.

For the Blues, the oft-injured Jaden Schwartz really struggled this season, managing just 11 goals and 25 assists for 36 points, despite staying healthier and playing in more games (69). The right winger took a -6 after going +15 last season, and at one point, he went 22 games without a goal. Yet, Schwartz stepped up when it counted, scoring four goals — including all three in the series clincher on Saturday — with an assist over the six game series. He’s scored the last four goals for St. Louis.

Brayden Schenn was shut out in the first four games of the series, but then came alive as the Blues won the final two games, scoring once and adding two assists. After posting a career effort in 2017-18 in his St. Louis debut, he slipped to 54 points this season, and really — other than 2011-12, he has generally struggled in the playoffs. If Schenn heats up and gives the Blues yet another weapon, Dallas is going to be in trouble.

Prediction

Dallas showed tremendous ability to come back, giving up the first goal four times against the Predators, yet going 3-1 in those games. And while both teams proved they can win on the road, the fact that the Blues swept the Jets in Winnipeg was truly mind blowing. As a result, we believe St. Louis has the slight edge here, especially if Schenn and Schwartz continue to produce and provide secondary scoring.

St. Louis in seven games

RotoRob Tune of the Day

British singer-songwriter Marianne Faithfull has been creating music since 1964. Her eighth album, Dangerous Acquaintances, was released in 1981, and the final track on the album “Truth, Bitter Truth” is among her melancholy classics. It was produced by Mark Miller Mundy, who also worked with Steve Winwood.

Now it’s your turn. Let us know in the comments below what your prediction is for this series.

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Can Detroit Defense Declaw the Falcons?

September 23, 2017 | by RotoRob | Comments Comments Off on Can Detroit Defense Declaw the Falcons?
After completing 15 of 21 passes against the Giants on Monday, Stafford’s completion rate is up 71 per cent for the season, a figure which would easily surpass his career best of 67.2, set in 2015. Hell, we’ve seen some betting odds that have him listed as the co-favourite to win the NFL MVP this season!
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Cavaliers-Bulls Rematch Highlights NBA Opening Night

October 27, 2015 | by RotoRob | Comments Comments Off on Cavaliers-Bulls Rematch Highlights NBA Opening Night
The 2015-16 NBA season kicks off on Tuesday with three games on tap, but the one that intrigues us the most has the Cleveland Cavaliers visiting the Chicago Bulls in a rematch of last season’s Conference Semi-Finals, won in six games by the Cavs, on their way to representing the East in the NBA Finals.
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NBA Preview: Detroit Pistons-Utah Jazz

March 24, 2014 | by RotoRob | Comments Comments Off on NBA Preview: Detroit Pistons-Utah Jazz
Less than two weeks ago, the Detroit Pistons were very much alive in the Eastern Conference playoff race. But five straight losses have dropped them to 11th in the conference, making a lottery pick much more likely than postseason action.
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NBA Preview: Los Angeles Clippers vs. Denver Nuggets

March 17, 2014 | by RotoRob | Comments (0)
Griffin has been able to log more PT this season, and while his shooting has slipped slightly once again and he’s never developed into a shot blocker, he is enjoying his finest season offensively. More than anything, it’s his consistency — 26 straight games of at least 20 points — that has really stuck out.
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