Becoming better in hockey transcends the difficulty level as years pass.
The Dallas Stars have now equaled last year’s playoff performance with 10 wins so far in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Now, two wins away from the Stanley Cup Final puts them in the driver’s seat with a 2-1 series lead over the Edmonton Oilers.

The team’s Game 1 woes continue, but battling adversity is their strong point during the season. Their dominant road record is putting them in this position alongside their willingness to surge back into the fray.

The Stars trailed each series so far and are in the lead for now in this Western Conference Final.

Two more wins separate them and the Stanley Cup Final.

Game 1

Game 1 of the 2020 Stanley Cup Final is still the last Game 1 of a series the Stars won. That’s now seven straight Game 1 losses, and this Western Conference Final is no different. The Stars tripped over their feet in Game 1 when Edmonton roared out of the gate with a 2-0 lead. Tyler Seguin answered back to tie the game with two goals of his own. Connor McDavid started overtime with a double minor for high-sticking to put the Stars on the powerplay.

Two posts later, with the penalty expired, concluded a frustrating Stars powerplay. The frustrating Stars powerplay is a common theme over the next few games. Connor McDavid pulled off his revenge as he tipped the puck into the net to win Game 1 in double overtime.

Games 2 and 3

Having hopes of getting further into the playoffs meant going down 0-2 in the series wasn’t an option. Jamie Benn surged into the fray with a goal and assisted in their 3-1 Game 2 victory.

The series shifted to Edmonton on Monday night, with the Stars pulling off a 5-3 victory thanks to a hattrick from Jason Robertson. The Stars are performing well after the first three games, especially in the 3rd period, but not so much in the first two.

The Stars have yet to hold a lead going into the third period but have not allowed an Edmonton goal during 60 minutes of third-period play this series.

The play is tight between two teams desperately wanting to advance to the Stanley Cup Final. Game 4 is critical for both teams because a Stars victory can seriously dent the Oilers’ playoff hopes.

Game 4

Game 4 is both the most and least important game of the series. Each passing game raises the stakes for both teams. Game 5 is necessary, which can be the end of the Oilers’ season. The next game is on Wednesday, and the Stars can go up 3-1 in the series or head back home tied 2-2. Stars players are firing on all cylinders.

Every player contributes on the ice with names on every line, putting up numbers. Every player except Alexander Petrovic (who only played four games so far) recorded at least a point in these playoffs. Perhaps the most underrated player is Miro Heiskanen, who is racking up the most ice time per game out of any player remaining in the playoffs, averaging 28:08 per game.

Closing Out

Heiskanen frequently goes out on the ice against the big names of the Oilers, like Draisaitl and McDavid. Draisaitl recorded a point in every game this postseason until Game 2. He and McDavid both have 25 points in these playoffs. Shutting these players down is pivotal for the rest of the series. The Stars face a critical point in Game 4. Returning to Dallas with a 3-1 series lead will not be easy. The Oilers are a tough team, with both sides close to the Stanley Cup Final. Playing on the road is no problem for the Stars, as they are 6-1 away from the American Airlines Center this postseason.

The Stars equaled their playoff win total from last year. This playoff run is something special. Playing in the Western Conference Final in three out of the last five seasons is doing wonders for this fan base. Game 4 is the most important game of the season.

The Stars are two wins away from the Stanley Cup Final, and every game matters.
These next few games are instrumental for this franchise.

PHOTO: Dallas Stars/X

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