Let’s look into a matchup with the Vegas Golden Knights.
This will be Dallas’ first opponent in the round-robin as part of sorting out the top four seeds in the west on Monday, August 3rd.
Looking between the pipes, both teams could make the argument of having an advantage against one another. Ben Bishop went 1-0-1 with a save percentage of .938. While Marc-Andre Fleury hasn’t played the Stars yet, he is 11-5 all-time vs. Dallas (with the Pittsburgh Penguins and Vegas) with a save percentage of .926.
In the regular season, Vegas would finish ninth in power-play percentage and thirteenth in goal-scoring, so their offense is definitely there.
While they are also thirteenth in goals-against, that’s largely due to their sound netminding.
They do have concerns on defense and their twenty-seventh ranked penalty kill, which was addressed by acquiring two time Cup champ Alec Martinez before the pause.
No concerns here as long as they stay healthy with currently no injuries to report. John Klingberg and Miro Heiskanen (more of a two-way defenseman) can both quarterback a five-man unit. Elsa Lindell and Andrej Sekera play more as defensive defensemen as well as dish out the hits. Stephen Johns and Jamie Oleksiak are somewhere in between, playing physical, and blasting shots from the point.
On offense, the biggest assets will ve Tyler Seguin, and the club should get Roope Hintz and Denis Gurianov more ice time. Guys like the captain Jamie Benn as well as newly acquired Joe Pavelski, and Corey Perry have quietly raised their game as the season went on will need to continue to do so if the Stars want to get past the second round for the first time since the 2008 season.
Dallas’ best chance at beating Vegas is in the net. Either Ben Bishop or Anton Khubobin could get the job done. One x Factor between these two teams will be physical play. Vegas is arguably the toughest team in the NHL. Ryan Reaves, William Carrier, and even thirty-eight-year-old Deryk Engelland can throw the body around, as well as hit.
The Stars have guys who can hit too, and aren’t bad fighters: Jamie Benn, Blake Comeau, Mattias Janmark, Jamie Oleksiak, and Stephen Johns are some of the toughest guys on the team.
If the Stars can play their fast transition defensive game, smart, disciplined, and get Benn and Pavelski to cash in on potential power plays as well as letting Hintz and Gurianov shine.
The Stars can handle the speedy, yet physical Golden Knights.
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