Even though the series took seven games to decide, the Dallas Stars never really stood a chance against the St. Louis Blues. The Blues defeated the Stars by a 6-1 final score on Wednesday. That means they’re headed to their first Western Conference Final in 15 years.
St. Louis has now eliminated the top seed in the Western Conference and the defending Stanley Cup champs and they did so with consecutive Game Seven victories, proving they could weather the storm of the opposition while balancing their attack.
On Wednesday, the Blues built a big lead and never looked back. They won all three road games against the Stars and head coach Ken Hitchcock improved to 5-2 in Game Seven situations. The last time they took consecutive Game Seven victories was in 1968, their inaugural season in the National Hockey League.
St. Louis goalie Brian Elliot was back in form after a disappointing Game Six. He’s 8-6 in this year’s playoffs, with a 2.29 goals against average and a .929 save percentage.
The Blues also got offensive contributions across the board, with Vladimir Tarasenko good for 13 points in 14 games thus far and David Backes posting a dozen points in 14 games. Patrik Bergland and Paul Stastny have also been good.
As for the Stars, they didn’t receive the goaltending they needed to win the series.
Kari Lehtonen was 6-3 with a 2.81 goals against average and a .899 save percentage in these playoffs, while Antti Niemi went 1-3 with a 3.29 goals against average and a .865 save percentage. The starter was yanked in three of seven games against the Blues, underlining the problem the Stars have had all year in the crease.
Jamie Benn had looked good for the Stars in the post-season, but he didn’t really ever come up big against the Blues. He posted 15 points in 13 games, but he seemed to go down without a fight against St. Louis and he lacked that big game attitude.
The Blues will await the winner of tomorrow’s Game Seven between the San Jose Sharks and the Nashville Predators and the Stars will have to contend with their lack of goaltending prowess. That could make for an interesting summer in Dallas, to say the least.