I wish I could say Tyler Seguin’s return is one of my five bold predictions or that Stars’ defenseman John Klingberg will outperform the Blues’ impressive defense corps, but both are unknown at this point. Of course, Jamie Benn will show up and will find the net. Most likely Jason Spezza will too. Of course, special teams will be important.
Unless otherwise noted, the stats referenced below are based on career regular season numbers.
Patrick Sharp Will Score A Game-Winning Goal
Patrick Sharp has feasted on the Blues with 16 goals and 28 assists in 59 career games. Four of those goals have been game-winners (including one this season in the Stars’ only win vs. St. Louis). Columbus is the only NHL team Sharp has had more points against than the Blues (48 points).
Sharp is a big game player and the stage will get a little bigger this round. Due to Seguin’s absence Sharp will have even more opportunity.
Ales Hemsky Will Not Score
Hemsky has a measly two goals in thirty-nine career games against the Blues. Hemsky’s shooting percentage against the Blues (2.6) ranks 28th out 28 teams he’s scored against.
Hemsky has played well recently with rookie, checking center Radek Faksa and Antoine Roussel. Even if Hemsky doesn’t score this line could be the key to the series.
Colton Sceviour Will Score
Sceviour has scored more goals (four) against St. Louis than any other NHL team.
Projected as a scoring forward when he was a prospect, Sceviour scored 32 goals in 54 games with the Texas Stars (AHL) just two seasons ago. He turned 27 years old on April 20th and seems to have settled into a role riding shotgun alongside trusted veteran Vernon Fiddler. The Blues will be very focused on Jamie Benn, Jason Spezza and Patrick Sharp which could create more opportunities for Sceviour.
All Four Goaltenders Will Play
Deservedly so, Kari Lehtonen and the Blues’ Brian Elliott will get first crack at protecting their respective nets. However, both are in uncharted waters and have backups who are capable of being the main guy. The Blues are also no strangers to the two goalie system. They have gone back and forth between sharing the crease, riding the hot goalie and defaulting to one due to injury.
Lehtonen was in net for the Stars only win against the Blues. Meanwhile Blues’ backup Jake Allen beat the Stars three times this season. I think at some point in the series both Lehtonen and Elliott will take a seat.
Stars’ Agitator vs. Former Stars’ Agitator
Antoine Roussel or “Rooooooooo” as he is known at the American Airlines Center is a fan favorite. Before Roussel, it was former Dallas Stars’ agitator Steve Ott who delighted Stars fans with his pugnacious style of play. Ott enjoyed his time in Dallas and played the best hockey of his career as a Star. Roussel is at the top of his game. Both players will have a direct impact on a Stars and Blues win.
It will be interesting to see if the two get into a scrap. Stars coach Lindy Ruff will probably match rugged veteran Travis Moen against Ott instead, if he can help it.
Finally, before you go to Vegas with this info or update your daily fantasy league rosters, remember past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results. Then again, it beats blind faith!