When I went to bed last night in the middle of the third period, I fully expected to be writing something completely different than this in the morning. But here we are, the Dallas Stars have saved themselves from second place for another night.
Before last night, I’d been disappointed in how the Stars hadn’t been able to match the fire they had in Game One. The Lightning were on a roll, especially after Stamkos’ one-period comeback. It wasn’t like Dallas had given up, but Tampa was really outplaying them. Corey Perry decided it was time to be the hero last night. His opening goal set the tone for the game, and despite Tampa coming back for what looked like the win, that tone carried them through into overtime. You know Bowness asked his team who was going to be the hero and you know the team was fired up when Perry claimed the title.
Putting last night’s excitement behind us, it’s going to take all that fire and more to get the Stars through Game Six and onto sudden-death Game Seven.
Consistency is Key
Everyone’s been saying all playoffs longs that the Stars’ veterans need to step up and produce. Perry and Pavelski did so. But what seems to be a pattern for the Stars is that not all cylinders fire at the same time. In Games Four and Five, it was Perry and Pavelski, Game One it was the bottom six, other nights, it’s been Benn and Heiskanen. Many of their players run hot and cold. That’s not what you want when facing a team with very consistent players in a must-win situation.
Tampa has at least four players who show up on the score sheet every game. They’re solid defensively. They have so many good things going for them, it’s really hard to bet against them.
Six or Seven?
After watching them play, I have a feeling it’s going to be Tampa lifting the Cup (still rooting for Dallas though). The big question mark is whether that will be after Game Six or Game Seven. If the Stars play with the tenacity they did in Game one, I’d say Seven. But, if the Lightning play like they did when Stamoks made an appearance, it’ll be a very clinical Six. This last push will be based almost entirely on emotion. Whichever team wants it more will determine how long it takes.
If I had to bet (please don’t make me), my guess is that the Lightning will finish it Monday night.
That being said, still rooting for the Stars.
-Heidi Thomas (@DamselOnDrums)
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