Much is going to be made this round of the Dallas Stars' record against the St. Louis Blues this season. The Blues were 4-1-0 against Dallas... or is that the Stars were 1-1-3 against the Blues? I think the second of the two is a more accurate representation of how the season series went between these two teams. They were pretty closely matched up and played a lot of second of back to backs. The takeaway here is that the Blues were able to neutralize the Stars' high power scoring, or at least exceed it:
December 12th - Blues 3, Stars 0
December 26th - Blues 3, Stars 2 (SO)
December 27th - Stars 3, Blues 0
February 16th - Blues 2, Stars 1 (OT)
March 12th St. Louis 5, Dallas 4 (OT)
Jake Allen won three of those contests, and Brian Elliott won one (February 16th). Head to head, the Stars' ridiculous scoring seems to have an issue with the Blues. This post-season, the Stars averaged 3.5 goals a game against the Minnesota Wild. This regular season, the Stars led the league with 3.23 goals a game.
The Blues, as we all know, are not scoring machines - to defeat the Stars, for the most part, they had to rely on their defense and goaltending, and this is what the series is going to come down to. The Blues 2.71 goals a game this post-season is an uptick from their 2.67 regular season mark, but barely. A sudden goal explosion probably isn't going to come on a regular basis against Dallas, leaving Kari Lehtonen unchallenged and bored - never a good look for him.
Brian Elliott thrives when he faces more SOG; game six was arguably his weak spot this post-season. Aside from that he's been tested and focused.
|NHL rank in wins||Name||Games played (started)||Record||Shots against||Saves||Goals against||Save percentage||Goals against average|
|16th||Jake Allen||47 (44)||26-15-3||1,260||1,159||101||.920||2.35|
|17th||Kari Lehtonen||43 (39)||25-10-2||1,121||1,016||105||.906||2.76|
|18th||Antti Niemi||48 (43)||25-13-7||1,246||1,128||118||.905||2.67|
|19th||Brian Elliott||42 (38)||23-8-6||1,113||1,035||78||.930||2.07|
Like, it's not even close. The Stars rely on their offense, one that the Blues managed to neutralize with a solid defense and excellent goaltending during the regular season. Whichever option the Blues go with (and as we know, to start the series and barring any catastrophe, it will be Brian Elliott), they will be starting a better goaltender than either Kari Lehtonen or Antti Niemi.
The Blues' offense is more than capable of exploiting either goaltender; it will be much harder for the Stars' offense to do the same to the Blues' defense and goalie. If the Blues can keep from a repeat of game six's defensive catastrophe, there's no reason for the season series to not be indicative of how this playoff round will turn out.