After a stellar performance in game four to tie this round two series up, the teams will be back in Dallas for Thursday night’s ever important game five. Typically the team that wins a game five in any playoff series comes out victorious and moves onto the next round. So with that being said, how do the Dallas Stars keep the pressure on Seattle in game five?
The answer to this is actually incredibly simple, good defense, high powered offense, and great goaltending. These are categories that the Dallas Stars are typically superior to other teams in, and when they win in the playoffs, those are the things that shine above the rest.
The Stars arguably have the best goaltender left in the Stanley Cup Playoffs in Jake Oettinger, but some people wouldn’t say that after his game three performance. Oettinger has followed up a loss this season with a combined regular season and playoffs record of 21-1-3. Yes, the Stars are almost guaranteed to win a game after a loss with Oettinger in net.
Game five will be different since the team is coming off of a win, but they will be in their home barn, and Stars fans are hungry for a win. Oettinger has looked a bit lost at times this series against Seattle. Their offense is incredibly fast, and when the defense collapses on him, there isn’t much that he can do. If the defense can hold up, then Oettinger is usually going to be lights out.
In order for Otter to be set up for success, the defense needs to be on high alert. When Miro Heiskanen (he was robbed of any Norris Trophy consideration) went down after getting a puck to the face in game three, the defense, and the Stars as a whole flamed out. Miro is the catalyst for so many things for this team, so when he’s on the ice, good things usually happen.
I’ve been pleasantly surprised with how Ryan Suter has played so far in the playoffs. There haven’t been as many obvious blunders, and he’s stepped up as an impactful player on defense, as well as facilitating some stuff on offense. Stars fans don’t know how to feel about Suter after he’s rough regular season, and now a good playoffs run so far.
The other pairings on defense haven’t been spectacular, aside from rookie Thomas Harley. The kid has stepped up and is flying around the ice as an impact player. There haven’t been any deer in the headlights moments from him yet and he’s been a great help on offense as well. Harley has had a lot of moments where I’ve seen him chase down an opposing player and use his stick to jar the puck loose, much like we’ve all seen Miro Heiskanen do it for years now. It’s incredibly similar, make sure you pay attention to it in game five.
Lastly, when the offense is buzzing around firing shots on net consistently, good things happen for the Dallas Stars. In game four they outshot Seattle 25-19, which isn’t a staggering number, but Dallas only had three shots on net in the third period. They dominated the offensive end, which eased things up for the defense and Jake Oettinger on the other end.
The power play was 2/3, and the typical point scorers were in the mix for Dallas. Joe Pavelski has six goals in just five games this playoffs, and looks no older than 28. He’s 38 years young, and sometimes looks like the best player on the ice. Peter DeBoer put Pavs back on the first line with Roope Hintz and Jason Robertson, and the Stars seemed to benefit greatly from it.
While Robo didn’t end up snagging one of the six goals for Dallas, he did look much more comfortable on the ice than he has throughout the playoffs. Hintz got a goal in game four, and that first line seemed to do what they’ve done all season, be better than every other line in the NHL.
Even when Mason Marchment left due to injury, the second line consisting of Max Domi and Tyler Seguin were buzzing all night long in game four. Dallas will need as much production as possible from the second line to keep the pressure on Seattle. When both the first and second lines are sending the puck into the back of the net, opposing teams are in a great deal of trouble.
Thursday night is going to be one of the most pivotal games in the Stanley Cup Playoffs so far for Dallas, so how do the Dallas Stars keep the pressure on Seattle in game five?
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