Just one game is on the schedule tonight, but it’s a good one. Game 3 between the Blues and Stars is in Dallas, with the series knotted up at one. The Blues are a perfect 3-0 on the road this postseason, while the Stars are 2-1 at home.
Here is a quick recap of Game 2, along with some keys to tonight’s game and a prediction.
Game 2 Recap
Roope Hintz scored two goals as the Stars stole Game 2 in St. Louis by a score of 4-2. Dallas used a big first period to jump out to an early 3-1 lead, getting goals from Hintz, Miro Heiskanen, and Mattias Janmark (Janmark’s goal came just under 30 seconds after Colton Parayko got the Blues on the board).
After no goals in the second, Jaden Schwartz scored his fifth goal of the postseason early in the third to cut the deficit to one. Despite a strong push by St. Louis, Schwartz’s goal would be their last, as Hintz hit a long empty-netter to ice the game for Dallas.
Keys for St. Louis
The Blues have done a great job of limiting the effectiveness of Dallas’ top line, which we saw put on a strong performance against the Predators. However, St. Louis has been burned by a three-point performance from Hantz in Game 2, as well as goals from Janmark and Jason Spezza this series. While they have done a decent job on the top line, it’s the secondary scorers that the Blues will have to focus more on for Game 3.
Another key for St. Louis will be the effectiveness of their power play. The Blues went to the power play five times in Game 2 and came away empty-handed in all of them. Their lone goal on the man-advantage this series came from Vladimir Tarasenko’s go-ahead goal in Game 1. It won’t be easy, as Tarasenko’s score is the only power-play goal the Stars have allowed all postseason. But if the Blues can take advantage of Dallas’ miscues, they will have an edge.
Keys for Dallas
Dallas has won the shots on goal battle in each of the first two games, and maintaining that strong volume will be essential to beating a Blues team that has been perfect on the road this postseason. More shots mean the more likelihood of Jordan Binnington letting shots through. Putting together an incredible rookie year, Binnington struggled against Dallas in the regular season, posting an .879 save percentage and 2.76 goals allowed average. Making things difficult for Binnington is key, and the easiest way to do that is to send shots his way.
The Stars have been getting production from their secondary scorers, including a team-high four goals from Hintz. But getting goals from their first line will need to happen eventually. Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin haven’t been bad at all, with eight and six points this postseason, respectively. But they are still the best players on this team and will need to find the scoresheet more often if Dallas is going to win. As a team that was near the bottom all season in goals scored, a return of Benn and Seguin as All-Stars would be a welcome sight for Dallas.
This series has been incredibly close, where if you take away Hintz’s empty-netter from Game 2, you have back-to-back one-goal games. I think the Blues’ power play will have a better performance tonight, and they will continue the success they’ve had playing outside of their own building. I like the Blues +105 on the road in Game 3.