The Dallas Stars managed to survive and hold on in Game 2 to even the series with St. Louis at one game a piece. The Stars took control early going up 3-1 before being forced to rely on their elite penalty kill and the greatness of Ben Bishop.
The Stars did some uncharacteristic things in this game that if they want to hold serve at home, will have to be cleaned up in Game 3. Dallas did good things, including Roope Hintz scoring two goals, that they will be able to bring home to the AAC. Let’s look at what Dallas has to fix and continue doing in order to advance to the Conference Finals.
While the Stars certainly have one of the best penalty kills in the league, you don’t want to give Vladimir Taresenko too many chances with the man advantage otherwise he will make the Stars pay dearly. Ryan O’Reilly has been quiet so far in this series and it would do the team well to keep things that way by not taking unnecessary penalties. Dallas earned just about every penalty called on them in Game 2, outside that hooking call on Faksa which easily could have been embellishment as well. Team discipline is a signature mark of the team’s identity and they will need to get back to that heading into Game 3. Special teams will be a major factor in who advances to the next round.
Second Line Production
While the top line has been held pointless so far, the second line has picked up the slack with Roope Hintz, Mats Zuccarello, and Jason Dickinson having their way with the Blues, especially in Game 2 with Roope picking up 3 points, 2 goals, and an assist. Seguin, Radulov, and Benn are not going to pointless in this series and would not be surprising to see them come out strong in Game 3 at home where the AAC will undoubtedly be loud and green.
If the second line can continue to generate offense and score goals while the top line collectively wakes up, then the Stars will be nearly unbeatable. St. Louis will undoubtedly try to make some adjustments to shut down the second line of Dallas which should open up some opportunities for the top line and others to produce some offense.
Ben Bishop Being Ben Bishop
Bishop continues to prove why he was worthy of the contract the Dallas Stars offered him and why he is deserving of the Vezina trophy. Ben Bishop improved to 11-3 following a loss in the playoffs. The man simply does not lose back to back playoff games. Ben Bishop is currently 2nd among goaltenders in the playoffs in save percentage behind only Robin Lehner (Juuse Saros and Curtis McElhinney do have higher percentages but both have only appeared in relief for the starting goaltenders, if you count both, Bishop is 4th). If Dallas can get to 3 goals or more, the Stars will win because Bishop is not going to let in 4 goals. Bishop has not surrendered more than 3 goals in his 8 playoff games this postseason. Bishop continuing to perform will be key to the rest of the Series for Dallas.
So far this series has all the makings of a seven-game series where the loser will certainly feel disappointed. Whoever manages to come out of this series as the victor will definitely feel as if they have a chance to lift the Cup and be the favorite to do so. Getting there is the difficult part.
Speed and skill have been the key differences in the first two games of the series so staying out of the box, keeping the offense flowing on the second line, and Bishop continuing to do what he does best will help make sure the Stars they see the next round of the playoffs.
Featured Image: Steve Overbey, AP, AP Photo/Jeff Roberson