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5 Keys: Blues at Stars, Game 6

Dallas relying on Bishop, top forwards to close series; St. Louis must support Binnington, solve power play

by Tracey Myers @Tramyers_NHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

BLUES at STARS

3 p.m. ET; NBC, SN, TVAS

Dallas leads best-of-7 series 3-2

The Dallas Stars can advance to the Western Conference Final for the first time since 2008 with a win against the St. Louis Blues in Game 6 of the best-of-7 Western Conference Second Round at American Airlines Center on Sunday.

The Stars took the series lead by defeating the Blues 2-1 in game 5 at St. Louis on Friday. Teams that win Game 5 on the road after being tied 2-2 are 74-24 (.755). Dallas/Minnesota North Stars is 10-1 when winning Game 5 after being tied 2-2; its only loss was to St. Louis in the 1972 quarterfinals. 

 

[RELATED: Complete Blues vs. Stars series coverage]

 

Here are 5 Keys for Game 6:

 

1. Betting on Bishop

A finalist for the Vezina Trophy, Stars goalie Ben Bishop made 38 saves in Game 5 and is 7-4 in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs with a 2.13 goals-against average and .936 save percentage.

"[Bishop] is phenomenal," Dallas forward Jason Spezza said. "He's been the best goalie in the League all year for a reason and he's playing that way. We feel calm when he's back there."

Video: DAL@STL, Gm5: Bishop stretches to rob Sundqvist

 

2. Finding power-play answers

The Blues went 0-for-4 in Game 5. They're 7-for-35 (20 percent) in the playoffs, but 2-for-16 (12.5 percent) against the Stars. St. Louis was 5-for-19 (26.3 percent) against the Winnipeg Jets in the first round.

"Ultimately, we have to outwork the penalty kill and I don't think we've done a good enough job at that," Blues center Tyler Bozak said. "We have to get shots at the net, get traffic, take away the goalie's eyes. They do a good job taking away the seams and those plays you want to make. It's just more of getting shots on net and getting rebounds and making the plays after we do establish that shot."

 

3. Best being the best

The Stars have been getting steady contributions from their top players. Center Tyler Seguin and forward Alexander Radulov each has four points (one goal, three assists) in a three-game point streak and each has 10 points in 11 playoff games (Seguin, three goals, seven assists; Radulov, five goals, five assists).

Defenseman John Klingberg, who has a goal and an assist in the past two games, has nine points (two goals, seven assists) in 11 postseason games.

 

4. Help Binnington

Blues rookie goalie Jordan Binnington has been good (6-5, 2.73 GAA, .908 save percentage in the playoffs), but the Blues need to be better in front of him. St. Louis scored its only goal in Game 5 off a turnover by Bishop and was sloppy with the puck, giving Dallas several breakaways and odd-man rushes.

"At the end of our shifts, we have to be really smart and know who you're out there against," Blues forward David Perron said. "Like, if you know your defensemen need to change, you put [the puck] down low. That's where our game is set up: We're hard when we play down low and their guys can't get going for easy 2-on-1s and breakaways. That's the only thing, for sure, that we had too many of last night."

Video: DAL@STL, Gm5: Binnington stops Klingberg with pad

 

5. Finishing it off

The Stars won Game 6 against the Nashville Predators to end that first-round series and know ending this one won't be easy.

"I didn't think we were on top of our game," Dallas coach Jim Montgomery said after Game 5. "We're going to have to be better if we want to have success Sunday. We have to be better as a team. We can't rely on Bishop as much as we did tonight."

 

Blues projected lineup

Jaden Schwartz -- Ryan O'Reilly -- Vladimir Tarasenko

Brayden Schenn -- Oskar Sundqvist -- David Perron

Pat Maroon -- Tyler Bozak -- Robert Thomas

Robby Fabbri -- Ivan Barbashev -- Alexander Steen

Joel Edmundson -- Alex Pietrangelo

Jay Bouwmeester -- Colton Parayko

Vince Dunn -- Carl Gunnarsson

Jordan Binnington

Jake Allen

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

Injured: None

 

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

Dillon Heatherington -- Ben Lovejoy

Ben Bishop

Anton Khudobin

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

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

 

Status report

Montgomery said Saturday he isn't sure if Fedun will be able to play. Either Fedun, Heatherington or Bayreuther will play with Lovejoy. Game 5 was Heatherington's first game for the Stars since Nov. 10. If Bayreuther plays, it will be his first game for Dallas since Dec. 27.

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