With Dallas’ 3-2 come from behind, overtime win in Game Five last night, the Stars have sent Vegas home, and are now awaiting a winner of the Tampa Bay-New York series in which Tampa Bay leads 3-1 to find out who they will face in the Stanley Cup Finals.
Despite many people expecting the Stars to fall to Colorado in the Second Round, and then Vegas in the Conference Finals, Dallas has found a way to stay alive as their impressive playoff run continues.
Here are three things to take into consideration when deciding who you think will win the Stanley Cup regardless of who the Stars play.
1. Anton Khudobin:
At 34 years old Khudobin is arguably playing the best hockey of his career as he completely came alive this past series.
In five games of the Western Conference Finals Khudobin recorded a save percentage of .950, a goals against of 1.69, and a shutout as he faced 161 shots.
To compare this to Vegas’ goaltending, Robin Lehner posted a save percentage of .914, and a 1.98 goals against average.
Not many teams that have won the Stanley Cup have done so without their goalie playing lights out night in and night out, Anton Khudobin is doing just that right now, and if he carries this level of performance into the Finals Dallas may very well be this year’s champions.
2. Dallas Power Play Is Crucial:
On top of Goalie Anton Khudobin standing on his head, the main reason the Stars are moving on is their power play.
Just look at Game Four, and Game Five for example, Dallas won both games by just one goal, with three of their five goals coming on the power play.
To compare the two teams in those too highly significant games Vegas went 1/8 on the power play, while Dallas went 3/8 (one goal being a game tying goal, and the other two both being game winning goals).
Even looking back to the Second Round against Colorado, in three of the four games that Dallas won, the Stars out performed the Avalanche on the power play.
Whether it be Tampa Bay, or New York, neither of those teams can afford to give Dallas the man advantage if they want to win.
3. Ability To Steal Games:
As stated before, not many people gave Dallas the edge in their previous two series, however this Stars team has found ways to win games they arguably shouldn’t by playing extremely well poised, and positioned.
Against Colorado, Dallas had fewer goals total over the course of the seven game series, however because of physically dominating, and severely outperforming the Avalanche on the power play the Stars pulled off the upset.
Fast forward to Vegas, the Golden Knights had 48 more shots than Dallas over the course of just five games, and had great goaltending from Fleury in Game One, and Lehner for Games Two through Five.
But once again the Dallas power play came through dominating the Golden Knights’ power play.
When it comes to goals, Dallas had nine, Vegas had eight; that just shows how significant capitalizing on just two or three more of the chances that Dallas gives you due to their physical style of play.
All in all Dallas is a team that appears to be performing for a Stanley Cup Championship, only problem is neither Tampa Bay nor New York will be an easy feat.
Photo Source: http://www.globalnews.ca
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