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5 Keys: Stars at Blues, Game 7

St. Louis must rediscover home-ice advantage; Dallas eyes big game from Bishop

by Tracey Myers @TraMyers_NHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

STARS at BLUES

8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVAS

Best-of-7 series tied 3-3

The Dallas Stars and St. Louis Blues will each try to advance to the Western Conference Final when they play Game 7 of the Western Conference Second Round at Enterprise Center on Tuesday. 

The Blues forced Game 7 when they defeated the Stars 4-1 at American Airlines Center on Sunday. 

St. Louis is 8-8 in Game 7s, including a 4-2 record at home. The Stars are 5-7 in Game 7s; they're 2-4 as the visiting team. The last time the Blues and Stars played in a Game 7 was the 2016 Western Conference Second round, which St. Louis won 6-1 in Dallas. 

 

[RELATED: Full Blues vs. Stars series coverage]

 

The team that scores first in Game 7 is 129-46 (.737) all-time in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Here are 5 Keys to Game 7:

 

1. Reversing home record

The Blues are 2-4 at home this postseason; their first win was when they defeated the Winnipeg Jets 3-2 in Game 6 to close out the first round. The St. Louis players talked about reversing that trend, blocking out the distractions that come with a big game at home and playing more like they do on the road, where the Blues are 5-1.

"Don't worry about the outside noise," defenseman Vince Dunn said. "It's going to be a different atmosphere tonight. There is going to be a lot on the line. The crowd is going to be really loud. There's lots of emotions with the crowd and our team. We just have to keep it within and do what we do out there. Keep it simple and make it easy on ourselves."

 

2. Bishop's big moment?

Stars goalie Ben Bishop has shutouts in his two Game 7s, each with the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2015. Bishop made 31 saves in a 2-0 win against the Detroit Red Wings in the Eastern Conference First Round and 22 in a 2-0 win against the New York Rangers in the Eastern Conference Final.

"It's a big advantage when your goaltender's been in these games before, he's been in the Stanley Cup Finals and has had success in these kinds of games," Dallas coach Jim Montgomery said.

 

3. Defense bringing offense

St. Louis defensemen have scored 29 points (three goals, 26 assists) in the playoffs, four fewer than the San Jose Sharks (eight goals, 25 assists) and one fewer than the Carolina Hurricanes (four goals, 26 assists).

Alex Pietrangelo leads Blues defensemen with 10 points (two goals, eight assists), tying his playoff career high set in 2016. Colton Parayko is second among St. Louis defensemen with seven points (one goal, six assists). 

 

4. Staying out of the box

The Stars have had a great penalty kill in the playoffs, going 33-for-35 in 12 games. But considering how big special teams can loom in any game, especially Game 7, they'd like to avoid the penalty box.

"That's the type of game you want. You want to play 5-on-5, you want to be even," Dallas forward Andrew Cogliano said. "You want to give yourself an opportunity to not lose momentum in the game by taking penalties. We've done well, but that can change in a hurry. But first and foremost is checking well, and when you check well you don't take penalties."

 

5. Be ready from the start

The Blues are looking to repeat the start they had in Game 6; they had the first eight shots on goal before the Stars got their first, and Pietrangelo gave St. Louis a 1-0 lead 1:03 into the first period.

"The big thing is establishing our game right away, having that start, the physicality and finding it right away, not waiting to see how they're going to start," center Ryan O'Reilly said. "We know they're going to be coming hard and have that desperation and we have to match that."

 

Stars projected lineup

Jason Dickinson -- Tyler Seguin -- Mats Zuccarello

Jamie Benn -- Roope Hintz -- Alexander Radulov

Andrew Cogliano -- Radek Faksa -- Blake Comeau

Mattias Janmark -- Justin Dowling -- Jason Spezza

Esa Lindell -- John Klingberg

Miro Heiskanen -- Roman Polak

Taylor Fedun -- Ben Lovejoy

Ben Bishop

Anton Khudobin

Scratched: Valeri Nichushkin, Brett Ritchie, Tyler Pitlick, Gavin Bayreuther, Dillon Heatherington, Landon Bow

Injured: Stephen Johns (upper body), Marc Methot (lower body), Martin Hanzal (back), Jamie Oleksiak (lower body), Joel Hanley (upper body)

 

Blues projected lineup

Jaden Schwartz -- Brayden Schenn -- Vladimir Tarasenko

Sammy Blais -- Ryan O'Reilly -- David Perron

Pat Maroon -- Tyler Bozak -- Robert Thomas

Ivan Barbashev -- Oskar Sundqvist -- Alexander Steen

Joel Edmundson -- Alex Pietrangelo

Jay Bouwmeester -- Colton Parayko

Vince Dunn -- Carl Gunnarsson

Jordan Binnington

Jake Allen

Scratched: Robby Fabbri, Robert Bortuzzo, Michael Del Zotto, Zach Sanford, Mackenzie MacEachern, Chris Thorburn, Ville Husso

Injured: None

 

Status report

Hintz did not participate in the morning skate but coach Jim Montgomery said he will play. Spezza took Hintz's spot on line rushes and Ritchie took line rushes on the fourth line. ... The Blues held a short, heavily-populated morning skate and will keep the same lineup as Game 6. … Pietrangelo and Bouwmeester did not skate Tuesday morning, but each will play.

NHL.com correspondent Louie Korac contributed to this report

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