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Instant analysis: Blues at Stars, Game 1

Dallas imposes its up-tempo style; Elliott nearly helps St. Louis steal series opener

by Amalie Benjamin @AmalieBenjamin / Staff Writer

DALLAS -- The Dallas Stars defeated the St. Louis Blues 2-1 in Game 1 of the Western Conference Second Round series at American Airlines Center on Friday.

Dallas led from midway through the second period until 11:32 of the third, when Kevin Shattenkirk tied it, but Radek Faksa didn't let that stand for very long, scoring the game-winner at 15:16 on a rebound off an Ales Hemsky shot.

What we learned: The Stars were able to impose their style on the Blues in Game 1, playing a more up-tempo game than St. Louis would like. If that continues, it pushes the advantage to Dallas. If the Blues can correct that - and if they continue getting excellent goaltending from Brian Elliott - things can change quickly in the series.

Video: STL@DAL, Gm1: Elliott makes a tremendous pad save

What this means for the Blues: St. Louis looked like it just got through a rock 'em, sock 'em first-round series -- which, of course, it did, winning in Game 7 against the Chicago Blackhawks on Monday. The Blues were not nearly as crisp and sharp and punishing as they had been over the first seven games of the postseason. They'll need to straighten themselves out before Game 2.

What this means for the Stars: Coach Lindy Ruff seemed worried about rust for Dallas, which had five days off between finishing off the Minnesota Wild in the first round and Game 1 against St. Louis. The only evidence of that rust Friday was in not being able to finish the plethora of chances that the Stars got in the early going. They finished enough for the victory.

Video: STL@DAL, Gm1: Shattenkirk's one-timer evens game at 1

Key moment: Faksa scored the winner less than four minutes after Shattenkirk tied it. The Blues' first goal of the series could have been deflating for the Stars, who carried a shutout for more than 51 minutes before Shattenkirk nailed a shot from the left circle at 11:32 of the third. Ultimately, though, it just set up Faksa for his heroics at 15:16.  

Unsung player of the game: Elliott. The Stars poured it on in the first period, outshooting the Blues 14-6, something that continued into the second, when Dallas outshot St. Louis 17-11. Though Elliott eventually was beaten by Roussel and then by Faksa, it could have been worse for St. Louis had it not been for Elliott, who made 40 saves.

What's next: The Stars host the Blues in Game 2 on Sunday (3 p.m. ET; NBC, SN, TVA Sports).

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