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Instant analysis: Blues at Stars, Game 5

St. Louis takes 3-2 series lead against Dallas

by Amalie Benjamin @AmalieBenjamin / NHL.com Staff Writer

DALLAS -- The St. Louis Blues took control in the Western Conference Second Round on Saturday afternoon with a 4-1 win against the Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center. After the Stars tied it in the first period on an Alex Goligoski goal, the Blues scored twice in the second (Dmitrij Jaskin, Troy Brouwer) and took a 3-2 lead in the best-of-7 series. 

What we learned: That the Blues learned from Game 2. In that game at American Airlines Center the Blues allowed the Stars to come back from a 3-1 deficit in the third period and force overtime. Though the Blues probably gave up too many chances to the Stars late in Game 5 after building their lead, St. Louis was able to keep Dallas off the scoreboard.

Video: STL@DAL, Gm5: Jaskin fires rebound past Lehtonen

What this means for the Stars: The Stars are one loss away from elimination, despite controlling much of the game. They had numerous scoring chances, including multiple failed opportunities for Cody Eakin, Ales Hemsky and Valeri Nichushkin, but weren't able to finish. They'll need to do so in St. Louis before they end up with a longer-than-planned summer.  

What this means for the Blues: The Blues were the team that couldn't make it out of the first round for the past three seasons. Now they're a team that's one win away from the Western Conference Final, led by the steady play of Brouwer, Paul Stastny and Alexander Steen. They can close out the series at Scottrade Center on Monday.

Key moment: With the Stars pushing, Brian Elliott made a pair of huge saves on Eakin early in the third period. Had Eakin been able to beat the Blues goaltender, it would have gone a long way toward a Dallas comeback. 

Video: STL@DAL, Gm5: Elliott makes a pair of saves on Eakin

Unsung player of the game: Nichushkin played a strong game, nearly scoring multiple times, including at 2:05 of the third period, and was often around the puck. For a player who has been disappointing at times, leading to healthy scratches, Nichushkin was notable in Game 5, even though he didn't score and the Stars didn't win. 

What's next: The teams head to St. Louis for Game 6, which will be played Monday (8 p.m. ET; CBC, NBCSN, TVAS2). 

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