In Game 1 of the Dallas Stars versus the Nashville Predators Playoff series, the Stars pulled out an important first victory. This win was the Stars’ first playoff victory in 2 years, 11 months and 1 day.
The game ended at a 3-2 score favoring the Stars and the game itself was a defensive battle from beginning to end. This game was a measuring stick for the Stars to look at areas of their game that may change from regular season to the high stakes of the postseason. Before the next game on Saturday, let’s talk about some places the Stars excelled and struggled in Game 1.
Penalty Kill on Fire
Every Nashville vs Dallas game is riddled with penalties on either side and last night, the Stars’ penalty kill as well as their power play was alight.
When it comes to the penalty kill, the Stars were efficient and Ben Bishop proved big when it came to the shutdown. The team killed 4 penalties just last night and denied the Predators a chance of pulling a lead. One place they can improve upon is doing their best to not get unnecessary penalties such as one John Klingberg got in the 2nd period for roughing against Victor Arvidsson. Eliminating those calls will give Nashville less deadly scoring chances and allow the Stars to keep control.
The Star’s power play was also on fire last night with stellar chances coming from the 2nd power play unit. The 2nd unit consisted of Radek Faksa, Roope Hintz, Justin Dowling, Esa Lindell, and Miro Heiskanen. From this group came a power-play goal from rookie Miro Heiskanen and a number of scoring chances.
First NHL playoff game, first NHL playoff goal. #GoStars pic.twitter.com/NnpcCwip4l
— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) April 11, 2019
Bishop and Khudobin are Key
The Stars have relied upon their goalies all season and after Game 1, it’s apparent that they’re going to keep replying upon Ben Bishop and Anton Khudobin. Bishop did lead the league during the regular season for goals against average (1.98) and save percentage (.934).
Ben Bishop started in net for Game 1 and he did a phenomenal job helping his team out. Bishop stopped 30 of the 32 shots he faced, bringing him to a save percentage of .938 in the postseason already. Bishop did pick up a penalty for embellishment in the 2nd period. Bishop picked up the 3rd Star of the Game for his efforts and rightly so.
Energy Needs To Be There
Playing in enemy territory is a challenge both mentally and physically. Some players struggle with it more than others but the young guns let the booing roll right off of their backs last night.
Roope Hintz led the team with 6 shots on goal and he battled in front of the net to get his team even the slightest chance at a goal. His spirit is exactly what the Stars need in this playoff run. He’s hungry for it and it’s obvious that his drive is getting his teammates rallied up as well.
Players like Miro Heiskanen and Andrew Cogliano were using their energy to speed around the ice, snagging chances for their team. This is apart of the urgency that is essential to win playoff games. This urgency and energy need to be a big part of the Stars’ locker room if they want to keep winning in the playoffs.
Overall, Game 1 was a fantastic start for this fresh Dallas team. The Predators have seen the playoffs for the last 5 seasons but this is the Stars’ first since 2016 and 1st for quite a few players. There is no doubt that this team is going to come back for another victory in Game 2.
Featured Image: Frederick Breedon/Getty Images