NASHVILLE -- The Dallas Stars plan to utilize their need for speed when they attempt to take a 2-0 lead against the Nashville Predators in the best-of-7 Western Conference First Round at Bridgestone Arena on Saturday (6 p.m. ET; CNBC, SN, TVAS2, FS-TN, FS-SW).
The Stars are quick and have players who can fly but didn't immediately tap into their best assets through the first period of their 3-2 win in Game 1 on Wednesday.
But once they did, everything changed.
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"We have a lot of forwards who can get up and go," Stars coach Jim Montgomery said on Friday, "and we were talking about that halfway through the second that, we felt our speed was giving us an advantage, and we were encouraging our forwards to continue to break the space.
"Our team, after the first period, played fast."
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For a time, the Predators did a good job of containing the Stars with their physical game and defense. But then Dallas picked up the pace and began breaking up plays, leading to an increase in puck possession and scoring opportunities.
When asked about different aspects of Game 1, Predators coach Peter Laviolette often gave the same response on Wednesday: "They were quicker than us."
Forward Andrew Cogliano said it took some time for the Stars to get moving.
"In the first it seemed they were set up in their 1-3-1 a lot and it was tough to get through," Cogliano said. "The second and third we did a better job of getting our feet moving and getting pucks quicker up the ice, and when you do that, guys start looking faster.
"When you look at player to player, they're just as fast. But I thought last game we did a good job in the second and third of just moving the puck quicker."
True, but as Montgomery said, the Stars do have their share of fast forwards, from Cogliano to Mattias Janmark and Roope Hintz.
"Roope flies down the outside and brings that speed," forward Tyler Pitlick said. "Janmark's very fast, except people don't know how fast he is because he takes short strides. We have speed in different areas and we're moving the puck well."
The Stars were the quicker team in Game 1 and it helped gain an early series lead. They know they can't afford to let up in Game 2 and beyond.
"I mean, it's definitely been huge for our game and that's the game we need to play if we're going to beat teams," Pitlick said. "We need to be fast, we need to reload fast, everything has to be fast because they have a skilled team over there.
"If we're not fast, they're going to get a lot of chances."