From the moment the Dallas Stars entered the Edmonton bubble, they were almost immediately dismissed as a team that would probably make a first-round exit.

Fans were worried about the team, who finished the regular season out on a downward spiral, losing their last six games played. It felt almost eerily familiar to fans, who probably had a series of flashbacks to the beginning of the season where the team went 1-7-1.

Despite the negativity that was spread across social media about the Stars having no chance at the Stanley Cup, it seems that Jamie Benn may not have been kidding in July when he said the team planned on staying in Edmonton for a while.

The Stars have seemed to enjoy proving everyone wrong during each round of this playoffs, can they pull off the ultimate upset and win the Stanley Cup?

If you pay attention to any commentators or the average fan comments that inhabit the NHL social media profiles, you probably have heard a familiar story at the start of each round that the Stars have played in. It seemed like each round it was predicted there would be a sweep against the Stars, and that no one outside of Stars fans had any faith in the team. The Stars were almost never the favored team to win, betting wise, no matter what series they were in or how much they appeared at times as the better team. 

One thing that outsiders did not take into consideration was the actual depth of the Dallas Stars roster and how they work together to win. It may seem frustrating at times that the Stars don’t have a singular high goal scorer of the likes of players like Auston Matthews of the Toronto Maple Leafs, who ended the regular season with 47 goals scored, or David Pastrnak of the Boston Bruins who ended the regular season with 48 goals scored.

Despite the Stars’ top scorer, Denis Gurianov, only recording 20 goals in the regular season, what they do have could almost be considered more valuable when you consider that none of the teams who rely on one person for goals are left in the playoffs. 

Photo: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The Stars have a depth that the three playoff teams they played did not, they were able to count on not only who is technically their backup goaltender, Anton Khudobin, but various members of the Stars “taxi squad” to produce for them. When you look at players such as Joel Hanley and Joel Kiviranta, fans haven’t been worried about either of them making mistakes. They came up to the roster when they were needed, and have more than benefited the team.

Joel Kiviranta not only scored the Game 7 tying goal against the Avalanche but went on to win the series and send the Stars to the Conference finals in overtime with a hat-trick, the first player to do so in a Game 7 since Wayne Gretsky.

The thing about the Stars and their depth that is so beneficial to them is that it has completely enabled the team to adapt their style of play depending on the opponent, a skill that other teams haven’t necessarily been able to do. During the Flames and Avalanche series, the team was able to become an offensive superpower, scoring more goals than fans see during the regular season, with multiple players scoring. Almost every line was producing, including the big three who was wildly criticized during the regular season for not doing enough. It became a high that fans were riding, wondering who this team that could all of a sudden score 5+ goals every game was.

With Vegas, it seemed like the defensive focussed style of play that fans know as true Dallas Stars hockey returned, with the Stars giving up a total of eight goals as compared to 29 goals given up against the Avalanche.

If the Stars can maintain the steady flowing chemistry among their forward lines, the strong defense and goaltending, and their ability to adapt to their opponent’s style of play, it is certainly possible they could pull off a huge upset in the finals with a win against either the New York Islanders or the Tampa Bay Lightning.

If the past “sweep” comments have shown fans anything, it’s that the Stars are here to prove the naysayers wrong, and it is sure to be an exciting final series.

Featured Image: Jason Franson/Getty Images
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