Both Western Conference Semifinals series ended up requiring the full seven games in the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs. Tonight, the first of two Game 7s are going for Round 2, as the St. Louis Blues host the Dallas Stars. The Stars are one of three Wild Card teams still standing, with Columbus’ six-game series loss to Boston being the only blemish suffered by the Wild Cards so far this postseason.
Dallas has faired very well in games played in St. Louis so far in the series. After dropping Game 1 to the Blues, the Stars have picked up wins in back-to-back games on the road, evening the series at 1-1 with their win in Game 2, and taking a 3-2 series lead after winning in Game 5. But in Game 6, the Blues returned the favor, picking up a 4-1 win to send the series back to St. Louis for Game 7.
But don’t expect any momentum to carry over, because that word has carried no meaning in this series. Only once has a team won back-to-back games, and that was when Dallas won Games 4 and 5. But when the Stars headed home with a chance to close out the series, their momentum stopped, and the Blues dominated Game 6.
Also in Game 6, Dallas goalie Ben Bishop left the game after taking a puck to the collarbone. Even with that injury, Bishop is expected to get the start in goal for the Stars for Game 7. Goaltending has been hugely important for both teams in this series, as Bishop and St. Louis goalie Jordan Binnington have each played very well. Considering the inconsistency shown by the offenses for both sides, the matchup in net might just be the deciding factor.
It’s because of that situation that I am taking St. Louis to win Game 7. In a series where you never know what may or may not carry over from the previous contest, the fact that there’s even a tiny question mark about whether Bishop can truly be 100% for this contest swings it for me. That said, I’m staying away from the spread. Half of the games in this series have been decided by exactly one goal, and a fourth game was decided by one goal plus an empty-netter. On top of that, five of the six games in the series have seen the teams separated by one goal or less at some point in the third period. As crazy as this series has been, I’m not willing to bet on that trend changing for Game 7.
Drew has been covering sports professionally since 2007, covering sports of all kinds in the ACC, SEC, Big 12 and Conference USA. In addition to covering college sports, he also spent two seasons working with the NHL's Florida Panthers as part of their TV broadcast team, as well as reporting and anchoring for AT&T SportsNet and FOX Sports affiliates, CBS Sports Network and ESPNU. Drew has also ...
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