Featured Video from Scott Reichel
Dallas takes on St. Louis in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals. Dallas needed six games to beat Nashville, 4-2. They edged the Predators on Monday, 2-1 in overtime at home to win the series. St. Louis beat Winnipeg in six games, including edging them on Saturday, 3-2 at home. During the regular season, the Stars took three of four games in the series.
Top line shines
In their first-round win over Nashville, each member of the first line scored six points for Dallas. Alexander Radulov led the way with four goals against his former team, while Tyler Seguin added two. Team captain Jame Benn also contributed had a team-high tying five assists. Benn also had five goals against the Blues in the season series while defenseman John Klingberg, who had five assists in the first round, had seven points in the season series. The Dallas penalty kill was also incredible in the first round, forcing Nashville to go 0-for-15.
"It's nice that we're 8 of 31, but St. Louis is what matters to us right now."
With the first round behind them, Monty says the Stars must continue to stay in the moment as their focus shifts to Game 1 against the Blues. pic.twitter.com/CtuDofWCRL
— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) April 24, 2019
The key will be the performance of 32-year old goaltender Ben Bishop (6-7, 215), who has a .934 save percentage and is allowing just 1.98 goals per game. He had 48 saves in the overtime win over Nashville to win the series on Monday. Seguin leads the Stars with 86 points and 47 assists. Radulov adds 29 goals and 43 assists. Dallas ranks second in the NHL in goals against at 2.4, 16th in shots against (31.6) and 5th in penalty kill (82.8). On offense, they rank 29th in goals with 2.5 per game, 21st in shots (30.7) and 11th in power play percentage (21%).
Binnington has to step up
Rookie goaltender Jordan Binnington has done an outstanding job to help the Blues get to this point. He survived a terrible Game 3 performance against Winnipeg, allowing six goals on 29 shots, but then allowed just six over the last three games. He had a .908 save percentage against the Jets after a .927 save percentage in the regular season. Left winger Jaden Schwartz led St. Louis with four goals against Winnipeg, while defenseman Alex Pietrangelo added six assists.
On the season, center Ryan O’Reilly leads the Blues with 28 goals and 49 assists for 77 points. Right-winger Vladimir Tarasenko adds 33 goals to lead the team and 35 assists. Overall, St. Louis is an outstanding defensive squad, holding teams to just 2.7 goals per game (5th) and 28.6 shots (4th). They are excellent on special teams, ranking 10th on the power play (21.1%) and 9th in penalty kill (81.5%). They also rank 15th in goals per game (3.0) and 15th in shots per game (15th).
St. Louis is:
- 6-13 last 19 conference semifinals games.
- 2-5 last 7 playoff games as a favorite.
- 9-3 last 12 road games.
- 5-1 last 6 Thursday games.
- 6-1 last 7 as a road dog.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
I’m going with the better team and the more experienced goaltender. Dallas is also 9-3 in their last 12 road games so St. Louis doesn’t have much of a home-ice advantage in this one. At least not in Game 1. Dallas also took both games from St. Louis in the regular season so they have the confidence to get it done on the road.
Full-Game Total Pick
During the regular season, these teams went 3-1 Under and have played unders in five of six overall. Dallas is 10-2-2 Under their last 14 as an underdog of +110 to +150 and is 17-6-4 Under their last 27 road games. St. Louis is 8-3 Under their last 11 vs. the Central Division and 16-6 Under their last 22 vs. the Western Conference.
Prediction: Under 5