Yee haw! The Dallas Stars are just one win away from a date with the Second Round in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. A choppy Game 5 gave the Stars a 3-2 series lead over the Minnesota Wild in this First Round matchup. A great game from the Stars resulted in Jake Oettinger’s second career playoff shutout in the 4-0 victory Tuesday night. Now the focus shifts to a pivotal Game 6 on Friday. The Stars would love to end the series on Friday and avoid a Game 7. The job only gets tougher from here on out.
Getting a shutout is difficult enough but glorious in a pivotal Game 5 with the series tied 2-2. This is already a physical series, but the magnitude is elevating. Marcus Foligno delivered an illegal knee-on-knee hit to Radek Faksa. Foligno sat for the rest of the game, and Tyler Seguin scored the eventual game-winning goal 8 seconds later. 10 out of the 36 skaters on the ice did not deliver a hit in Game 5. These two teams do not like each other, and it will only worsen.
Game 6 is Friday night in Minnesota. The Stars can send the Wild home packing with a victory. If the Wild win, Game 7 will be in Dallas on Sunday night. The Stars would like to avoid a Game 7 as much as possible. The team has been 1-4 in Game 7s since 2001. The Stars have been playing crisp hockey over the last two games, so Game 6 is a big one. The Wild are on the brink of elimination, and they will play like it. Teams facing their season-ending should play on another level.
The Star of the series by far is Roope Hintz. His 11 points in 5 games is tearing a path through the Wild. The biggest surprise in this series is Tyler Seguin, who already has 4 goals. The depth scoring has stepped up in Joe Pavelski’s absence. Only four Stars skaters don’t have a point in this series yet, but all of them are defensemen. Jason Robertson and Miro Heiskanen are both tied in second with 6 points each. The team leader in +/- is Ryan Suter, with a +4. Everyone on the team is contributing, especially on the powerplay. The Stars are 40.9% successful on the powerplay. The powerplay is a big success for the Stars, and they need to continue.
We are now in elimination game time. The Wild are playing with their season on the line for the next 1 or 2 games. The Stars have the perfect opportunity to end their season with a 3-2 series lead. The elevated intensity will mean lots of action, so be ready.
Photo: Dallas Stars Twitter