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The Climb

Blues, Stars need best effort to climb in Game 7

St. Louis' Backes, Dallas' Spezza, among those pivotal in contest to reach Western Conference Final

by John Kreiser @jkreiser7713 / NHL.com Managing Editor

One team will take the next step in its climb toward the Stanley Cup and the other will see its quest end when the St. Louis Blues visit the Dallas Stars in Game 7 of their Western Conference Second Round series at American Airlines Center on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVA Sports).

The Stars, who finished first in the Central Division and had the best record in the Western Conference, pushed the series to the limit by hanging on for a 3-2 victory in Game 6 on Monday in St. Louis. Dallas scored three times in the first period and was able to make the lead stand up despite being outshot 37-14.

Playing on the road shouldn't bother the Blues, who have won two of three games in Dallas during this series and are 4-2 away from St. Louis in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Here are four players trying to help their teams take the next step in their climb toward the Cup:

David Backes, F, Blues - Backes, a five-time 20-goal scorer during the regular season, scored in overtime to win Game 2 and had the winning goal again in Game 3. He has five goals and 10 points in the Blues' 13 playoff games, and is the only player with two overtime goals and three game-winners in the 2016 postseason.

Robby Fabbri, F, Blues - Fabbri had a solid rookie season (18 goals, 37 points in 72 games), but has taken his game to a higher level during the playoffs. The 20-year-old has two goals and 10 points in the Blues' 13 playoff games, including a goal and five points in the past five days against Dallas.

Jason Spezza, F, Stars - With first-line center Tyler Seguin still injured, Spezza has stepped up his game. He has points in each of the past four games, including the winning goal in Game 5. His 13 points are tied for fourth in the NHL in playoff scoring, and he's tied for second with two game-winning goals.

Jamie Benn, F, Stars - Benn enters the game tied for the lead in points during the playoffs with 15 after finishing second in scoring during the regular season. Benn has five points in the past five games, including an assist on Spezza's winning goal in Game 5.

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